Report Says Africa’s Output Grew by 3.4% in 2018

ADDIS ABEBA – Africa’s output grew by 3.4 per cent between 2017 and 2018 despite the slowdown in global growth during that period, a new report by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has shown.

The African Trade Report 2019: African Trade in a Digital World was launched Friday in Moscow during the 26th Afreximbank Annual Meetings.

The report states that Africa’s total merchandise trade in 2018 had a value of over 997.9 billion USD, noting that the continent remained one of the fastest growing regions in the world.

World Trade Organization estimates show that the volume of global merchandise trade grew by 3 per cent in 2018, down from 4.6 per cent in 2017.

According to the Report, the findings highlight the resilience of Africa’s economies to global volatility at a time of rising uncertainty, escalating trade wars and tariffs between the United States, China and others.

The resilience reflects the diversification of Africa’s trading partners in the context of South-South trade, growing fixed investment and public and private consumption, boosted by expanding urban populations and softening inflation.

These factors reduce Africa’s exposure to the business cycles associated with individual countries and regions.

The report noted the European Union remained Africa’s main continental trading partner in 2018 – accounting for 29.8 per cent of total trade.

It also said African trade with the South grew significantly over the last decade to account for more than 35 per cent of the continent’s total trade in 2018.

China and India further consolidated their positions as Africa’s first and second single largest trading partners, accounting for over 21 per cent of total African trade in 2018.

Intra-African trade also increased steadily in 2018, growing by 17 per cent to reach $159 billion.

According to the report, Africa’s contribution to global trade remains marginal at 2.6 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent in 2017, and that, while intra-African trade rose to 16 per cent in 2018 from 5 per cent in 1980.

The growth remains low compared to intra-regional trade in Europe and Asia, says experts.

Chief Economist and author of the report, Dr Hippolyte Fofack said: “Intra-African trade, which grew by 16 per cent in 2018, more than three times the rate of growth of extra-African trade, was the major driver of Africa’s total merchandise trade in 2018.”

The report was launched in the Annual Meetings attended by Amb. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, and Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank.

By Our Staff Writer

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