by Daouda Cissé
Pambazuka News | December 07, 2017
Africa’s share of global trade remains insignificant because it faces numerous challenges: customs procedures, a lack of infrastructure and information as well as poor market integration. While there are expectations that the EU trade policy and the WTO negotiations could improve Africa’s trade, there is an increasing need for African countries to consider other alternatives for trade performance.
Both access to resources and market expansion have been at the forefront of Africa-EU trade relations, and closer trade activities are particularly developed between resource-rich African countries and the European Union. In 2012, mineral products accounted for 67.8% of the EU imports from African countries, while machinery (24.2%) dominated EU exports to Africa (Beets, 2013). The EU has been an important market for Africa’s exports, particularly during the colonial period. Countries like England, France, Belgium, Portugal and Spain had close trade ties with Africa due to colonisation, and trade activities between those European countries and Africa remain significant even after the African countries’ independence. African countries still primarily export raw materials to Europe and provide markets for European finished goods (Kohnert, 2008). Oil, mineral products, agricultural products, fish and to a lesser extent manufacturing products constitute African exports to the EU. On the other hand, the EU exports processed food, vehicles, machinery and pharmaceutical products to African countries.