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Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Gov’t wants to raise Africa exports to USD 7 bn in 2022

More African exports ahead: The government wants to increase the value of exports to Africa to USD 7 bn in 2022 as part of a broader plan to boost trade with the continent, cabinet said in a statement yesterday.

The master plan: The three-phase strategy aims to boost our exports to Africa to USD 10 bn by the middle of the decade. The government is trying to hit USD 7 bn within the first phase, which will start in January 2022 and target 10 countries.

They’re going to have their work cut out, as exports to sub-Saharan Africa are seriously lagging: During the last fiscal year, Egypt exported only USD 606.6 mn of goods to Africa (excluding Arab countries), totalling just USD 607 mn and accounting for only 2.1% of our total exports, according to Central Bank of Egypt data. Arab countries bought c. USD 6.7 bn worth of goods and services, or about a quarter of our total exports.

That’s not to take away from the impressive export growth seen during the covid recovery: Exports hit a near-13-year high in the final quarter of the state’s 2020-2021 fiscal year, reaching more than USD 8.1 bn during the three-month period ending June 2021, central bank data shows. After falling by almost a quarter in 2H2019-2020 due mainly to the covid-induced turmoil in the energy markets, exports expanded by almost 50% by the end of 2020-2021.

The breakdown: Finished goods made up the biggest percentage of global exports last year, valued at USD 11.3 bn, with fertilizers, clothing and household electrical appliances accounting for a quarter of this. Petroleum exports came in second at USD 8.8 bn.

Increasing exports is one of the key targets of the government’s new structural reform program. The government hopes that the new round of reforms designed to ramp up in manufacturing, telecoms and IT, and agricultural exports, as well as a new export subsidy program, will eventually raise exports to USD 100 bn a year.

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