Working Papers

The production and export profiles of oil and mineral products from Africa

The production and export profiles of oil and mineral products from Africa

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30 Nov 2018

Author(s): Ron Sandrey

It is well known and generally accepted that Africa is heavily reliant on the export of fuels and minerals. The objective of this paper is to examine just how dependent the continent is on these exports (by commodities and countries). In order to do this, a trade classification has been developed which encompasses these products. For the purpose of further examination, the following eight sector groups have been selected: oil products, coal products, gold, copper, diamonds, platinum, iron ore, and aluminium.

Over the 2001 to 2017 period, oil has dominated African mineral/fuel exports. The next five commodities (coal, gold, copper, diamond and platinum) have similar export profiles, while iron ore and aluminium are less important to the continent. The selected grouping represents between 93% and 95% of all wider African mineral/fuel exports, and in turn these commodity exports represent about a 65% share of African global merchandise exports. There is also a suggestion that the concentration is increasing marginally over time.

By aggregate commodity and export destinations, the European Union (EU) has consistently been the main market, while China is gaining market share and the United States (US) is losing destination share. In future tralac publications, each of the eight sectors will be examined in sequence to provide a more detailed analysis which includes some background on production relative to the respective world profiles.


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