The African trading relationship: new, old and good friends
This paper undertakes an examination of recent African trade patterns with respect to Africa’s ‘new’ friends, namely Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries as a group), the ‘old’ friends, namely the traditional trading partners, the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (US), and the ‘good’ friends, namely the African countries collectively.
Since 2001 Africa’s overall trade with the old friends (and the EU in particular) has dramatically declined while, conversely, that with the new friends is increasing. The intra-African (good friends) share has remained consistent. The net result, however, is that the overall aggregate ‘friends’ market share is very consistent over the period. This pattern is often but not always replicated by the individual countries that we examine in the second part of the paper. Mineral fuels are the leading trade product at the aggregated level for both imports into and exports from Africa. However, while they dominate exports from Africa, imports into Africa are much less concentrated.
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