Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports to the African continent have surged past SR128 billion within the last five years (2019-2023), marking a momentous achievement in the Kingdom’s trade diversification efforts, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The chemicals and polymers sector emerged as the leader in non-oil exports, contributing over SR83 billion, followed by the construction materials sector at more than SR10 billion and the packaging sector at over SR9 billion. Notable products included polypropylene, polyethylene, and fertilizers, showcasing the breadth of commodities flowing from Saudi Arabia to Africa. Among the key importers of Saudi products were Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Morocco, Sudan, Kenya, and Nigeria, reflecting engagement with 55 African nations in bilateral trade.
The Saudi Exports Development Authority (Saudi Exports) has played a pivotal role in facilitating these trade dynamics, with a focus on meeting the diverse market demands and future aspirations of the African continent. Through organizing trade missions to strategic African markets like South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, and Libya, and active participation in international exhibitions across Africa, Saudi Exports aims to extend the reach of Saudi products and services. Upcoming events include the African Food Exhibition 2024, the International Exhibition for Processing and Packaging in the Middle East and Africa 2024 in Egypt, Buildexpo Africa — Kenya 2024, and Gitex Africa in Morocco, providing platforms for Saudi exporters to exhibit their offerings and forge new commercial alliances.
To enhance exporter preparedness, Saudi Exports provides comprehensive support through information dissemination, market studies, and facilitating market access. Specialized workshops and training sessions, such as “Empowering Exports in Pakistan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria” and “Empowering Exports in North African Countries: Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia,” were conducted to build exporter capabilities. Additionally, the authority has addressed over 270 challenges faced by exporters, including navigating customs and non-customs barriers, and financial and logistical issues, demonstrating its commitment to facilitating Saudi exports to Africa.
The culmination of these efforts was evident at the Saudi-African Summit held in Riyadh on November 10, 2023, where the Kingdom and African countries reaffirmed their strategic relations and historical ties. The summit laid out a roadmap of cooperation, announcing a comprehensive investment package worth $25 billion to catalyze investments across various sectors in Africa. This initiative, complemented by export financing and insurance worth $10 billion and development funding of $5 billion over six years, underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity in Africa. The summit also witnessed the signing of over 50 agreements and MoUs valued at over $500 million, setting a robust foundation for future collaboration and trade expansion between Saudi Arabia and Africa.