May 19, 2020

Top 10 exporting countries in Africa

The Republic of South Africa
Dale Benton
5 min
Top 10 exporting countries in Africa

Worth more than $463bn in 2017, Africa’s export industry is one of the biggest in the world. We look at the top 10 exporting countries, and the goods that support their economies.


10. Ghana – $11.4bn (2.5% share of all African exports)

With two ports, the 3,900 sq km Tema Harbour and the Takoradi Harbour (the main export port of the country), Ghana’s exported goods represent 40.3% of total Ghanaian economic output. The country’s biggest export is gems and precious metals. Ghana is Africa’s largest gold producer. Total gems and precious metal exports had a value of $3.5bn and represented 34.4% of total exports. Closely behind this is mineral fuels including oil, accounting for $2.6bn representing 25.4% of total exports. The third largest export is cocoa, at $2.5bn which represented 24.4% of all exports in 2017.


9. Tunisia – $14.2bn (3.1% share)

Tunisia boasts 16 ports in total, notably the Port of Tunis, Sfax, La Skhirra and Didon Terminal. Tunisia’s biggest export is electrical machinery and equipment, accounting for $4bn and 28.4% of total exports. The closest behind this is clothing and accessories (excluding knit or crochet), with $2.2bn in exports representing 15.5% of all goods. The third biggest export, is knit or crochet clothing and accessories at $893.3mn, representing 6.4% of all exports.


8. Libya – $17.8bn (3.8% share)

With a seaport dating back to the sixth century BC, and a capital city dubbed ‘Bride of the Sea’, the export industry is key to Libya’s economy. Its highest export is mineral fuel including oil. At $17.2bn, it accounts for 96.8% of the country’s entire exported goods. This is followed by iron and steel exports, with a significantly lower $151.6mn (0.9%) and copper at $87.7mn (0.5%).


7. Morocco – $25.6bn (5.5% share)

Morocco is home to five ports: the Port of Al Hoceima, Casablanca, Essaouira, Safi and Tangier. The largest, and most famous, is the Port of Casablanca. Casablanca’s port handles more than 21mn tonnes of traffic annually. Its greatest export is electrical machinery and equipment, which had a 2017 export value of $4.2bn and accounted for 16.5% of total exports. At $3.4bn, and accounting for 13.3% of total exports is vehicles. The third largest export are fertilisers, with $2.6bn at 10.1%.


6. Egypt – $25.9bn (5.6% share)

A country boasting seven ports in total, the true jewel of the Nile for Egypt is the Port of Alexandria. Sitting on the West Verge of the Nile Delta between the Mediterranean Sea and Mariut Lake, it is considered the main port of Egypt’s entire foreign trade. Mineral fuels, including oil, hold the largest share of exports with $5.1bn making up 19.5% of total exports. The second biggest sector is gems and precious metals at $2.1bn, accounting for 8.2% of all exports. The third largest volume of exported goods is electrical machinery and equipment, with $1.7bn making up 6.7% of all goods.


5. Angola – $34.8bn (7.5% share)

Angola has four ports, with its main port being Luanda. Luanda handles more than 70% of the country’s entire import/exports. Luanda is the capital and largest city in Angola, and the country's most populous and important city, primary port and major industrial, cultural and urban centre. Its largest export sectors include mineral fuels and oil ($32.3bn representing 95.6% of total exports), gems and precious metals at $1.2bn (3.5%) and machinery including computers at $46.4mn (3.5%).


4. Algeria – $35.2bn (7.6% share)

Algeria has 12 ports, with the port of Algiers being the first ever commercial port in the country. The country’s highest volume of exported goods is made up of mineral fuels including oil, with a value of $33.8bn accounting for 96.1% of all exported goods. The second largest export sector by some margin is inorganic chemicals at $382.9mn, representing just 1.1% of all exports. The third largest at $327mn, accounting for 0.9%, are fertilisers.


3. Nigeria – $44.5bn (9.6% share)

The major ports of Nigeria include: the Lagos Port Complex and Tin Can Island Port in Lagos; Calabar Port; Delta Port; Rivers Port at Port Harcourt; and Onne Port. Nigeria’s largest exported goods sector is mineral fuels including oil, with $39.1bn in exports representing 96% of its entire exports. The second largest exported goods sector was ships and boats, accounting for 0.6% of all exported goods. Nigeria’s third largest exported goods industry was cocoa, accounting for 0.6% of all exports with a total value of $238.1mn.


2. Guinea – $62.1bn (13.4% share)

There are two major ports of Guinea, Conakry and Port Kamsar. Port Conakry is the larger of the two, with a full container storage capacity of around 8,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (teus) and a maximum annual capacity of around 600,000 teus. The country is a leading exporter of bauxite and holds the mineral’s largest reserve in the world. Guinea’s bauxite/aluminum ore ($990m) and gold exports ($1.54bn) represents around 85% of all exports from the country. The company also exports, Petroleum Gas ($154M), Non-fillet Frozen Fish ($43.2M) and Crude Petroleum ($41.9M).


1. The Republic of South Africa – $88.3bn (19.1% share)

South Africa is situated on one of the busiest international sea routes and the South African Government has identified the country’s ports and terminals as key economic drivers of growth. It has eight ports, with the port of Durban representing the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, South Africa’s largest exported goods sector was gems and precious metals, with a total value of $14.9bn accounting for 16.7% of total exports. The republic’s other exports are significantly higher than in other African countries, with the 10th largest export sector (beverages, spirits and vinegar) still coming in at $1.4bn. The second largest export sector was ores, slag and ash at $11.3bn, accounting for 12.6% of all exported goods. The third largest export sector was mineral fuels including oil at $10.6bn, representing 11.8% of all exported goods.

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Jun 14, 2021

5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly

Kate Birch
3 min
Heading up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is winning awards and leading with diversity

Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.

Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills. 

What do you do, in a nutshell?

I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.

How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?

I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.

They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?

The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless. 

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.


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