Top African Export Countries

Top African Export Countries
Exports from Africa totaled US$370.8 billion in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 0.5% increase since 2016 but a -22.2% decline from 2019 to 2020.

Applying global benchmarks, worldwide exports from all countries equaled $17.309 trillion in 2020 rising 8.6% in value since 2016 but shrinking by a more modest -7.6% from 2019 to 2020.

Africa’s exports represent an estimated 2.1% of total world exports in 2020.

The 5 biggest African exporting nations (South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Angola) generated 52.9% of the continent’s overall exports by value.

Given Africa’s population of about 1.351 billion people, the continent’s total $370.8 billion in 2020 exported goods originating from Africa translates to roughly $275 per African resident.

Below are the top African export countries that achieved the highest dollar value in global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage change in value from 2019 to 2020.


The top 10 African exporters provided approaching three-quarters (72.2%) of all international product sales shipped from Africa during 2020.

Sixteen export countries or territories in Africa increased the value of their exports from 2019 to 2020 led by: Sao Tome/Principe (up 165.9%), Western Sahara (up 129.3%), French Southern and Antarctic Lands (up 70.3%), Cape Verde (up 53.2%), Lesotho (up 43.8%) then Burkina Faso (up 23.4%).

Leading the 46 decliners year over year were: British Indian Ocean Territory (down -83.9%), Rwanda (down -72.6%), Libya (down -71.7%), South Sudan (down -51.7%) then Liberia (down -51.6%).

by Daniel Workman