Export trends in Africa – an analysis of South Africa’s manufactured exports to Africa

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Export trends in Africa – an analysis of South Africa’s manufactured exports to Africa

Export trends in Africa – an analysis of South Africa’s manufactured exports to Africa

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Working Papers ~ Taku Fundira

As the process of regional integration continues with countries in Africa now committed to establish a continental free trade area (CFTA), it is in South Africa’s interest to ensure that it remains one of the major players within this envisaged expanded market.

The objective of this paper is to look at South Africa’s export profile with Africa. More specifically, we would like to analyse the performance of South Africa’s manufactured exports in this market and determine whether South Africa has been gaining or losing market share.

South African companies have made great strides in mining, retail, construction / manufacturing, financial services, information and telecommunication services, and the tourism sector. These successes demonstrate the ability of Africa to offer significant opportunities to investors and, more specifically, investors from the continent.

Can we expect South Africa’s role as a major investor and trading player to continue? We note that other players have come to the fore. These include Nigeria which recently became the largest economy in Africa in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), surpassing South Africa in 2014. Other emerging players such as Kenya in the east are offering investment opportunities and a favourable trading environment for interested and potential investors and traders.

South Africa finds itself in a unique position to benefit significantly from a larger and integrated African community. However, a number of factors are necessary for such an integration to happen. These include elimination on non-tariff barriers among African countries; reduction in transport costs; minimal delays at border control posts; and less red tape or bureaucratic procedure that heighten the cost of doing business in Africa.

Africa provides an opportunity for South Africa and other African countries to increase their trade and it is up to Africa to ensure that this becomes a reality. With the appropriate political will, an integrated Africa is possible.


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