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7 facts on U.S. sub-Saharan Africa trade

Published on November 19, 2015

From the 2014 U.S. Department of Commerce 'U.S.–Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Investment' report:

1. Sub-Saharan Africa's GDP growth has consistently outpaced global economic growth since 2010

Sub-Saharan Africa GDP growth has been steady, with an average rate of more than 5.2 percent in real terms. Forecasts project higher than average growth in sub-Saharan Africa for the foreseeable future. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates GDP growth of around 5.5 percent for both 2014 and 2015.


2. The value of U.S. merchandise exports to sub-Saharan Africa grew 58 percent between 2009 and 2013

Merchandise exports reached nearly $24 billion in 2013, an increase of $8.8 billion since 2009... More than 30,000 U.S. businesses exported to Africa in 2012, of which 92 percent were small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)


3. The value of U.S. merchandise imports from sub-Saharan Africa has dropped significantly since 2009

Imports have significantly decreased over the past two years from more than $74 billion in 2011 to $39.3 billion in 2013. However, the United States’ trade deficit with Africa is the smallest since 2002, due mostly to a decrease in mineral fuel and oil imports.


4. U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa grew the most over 2009-2013 compared to global exports

Current U.S. exports to SSA represented only 1.5 percent of total merchandise exports in 2013.


5. South Africa and Nigeria are by far the largest consumers of U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa’s $7.3 billion imports alone accounts for 30.4 percent of the total dollar value of exports to SSA in 2013, while Nigeria ($6.4 billion) and Angola ($1.4 billion) contribute 26.7 percent and 6.0 percent respectively. Together, the top five sub-Saharan countries (Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Ghana, and Togo) for U.S. exports made up 71.3 percent of the total export value to the region in 2013, while the top 10 countries made up 84.2 percent.


6. Oil products, motor vehicles and civilian aircraft are the top 3 U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa


7. Crude and mineral fuel imports are the largest U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa

While crude oil is still by far the United States’ largest import sector for the region, the total value of imports decreased by $12.6 billion, or 35 percent, between 2009 and 2013.


Read the full report: 'U.S.–Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Investment'.

Next week: the data on U.S-sub-Saharan Africa investment.