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EghtesadOnline: Iran accounts for under $600 million or 0.1% of trade between African countries and the world, the acting director of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran said.

Addressing a joint business forum between Iran and East Africa, Mohammad Reza Modoudi added that trade with Africa is hobbled by transportation and infrastructural challenges, as well as banking problems, IRNA reported. 

“On top of that, tariffs on exports from Iran due to the fact that the country is cordoned off from international economic unions and the World Trade Organization have driven up the costs of Iran’s trade,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.

“Africa’s market offers ample investment opportunities to technical and engineering companies and food industries as well as oil-driven and polymer products. South Africa, Kenya, Sudan and Nigeria are the main export destinations of our products. Despite unfavorable political relations, bilateral trade with Egypt is very good.”

Kenya’s Ambassador in Tehran Ruqayyah Ahmed Subu also attended the event held at Tehran’s International Fairgrounds on Wednesday. 

She invited Iranians to invest in Kenya’s four sectors of health, food, housing and security, as well as in East African countries, including Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Brunei and South Sudan. 

The forum wrapped up by signing a memorandum of understanding between TPO and a private-run shipping line on operating regular shipping services between Iran and East African countries.

Iran traded 2.17 million tons of non-oil commodities worth $776.04 million with the member states of African states in the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2019) to register a 21.93% and 26.26% decline in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year.



Decline in Two-Way Trade

Data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show Iran’s exports totaled 2.08 million tons worth $642.94 million during the year, indicating a 20.88% and 17.05% decline in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year.

Imports stood at 90,384 tons worth $133.09 million, down 40.25% and 52.01% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.

The above figures show Iran recorded $509.85 million in non-oil trade surplus with African states.

Iran mainly exported semi-finished non-alloy iron/steel products, bitumen, non-alloy iron/steel ingots, liquefied butane and chemicals to members of the African Group.

In exchange, major commodities imported into Iran from the African Group included pod vegetables, aluminum oxide, fish and sesame.

In terms of total trade value, Egypt topped the list among the members of African Group with Iran trade standing at 504,425 tons worth $220.82 million, down by 32.82% and 14.53% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.

Exports to Egypt amounted to 503,820 tons worth $217.75 million to register a 32.33% and 13.44% decline in tonnage and value respectively YOY.

Egypt was Iran’s top export destination among the countries under review and 22nd in the world.

In return, Egypt exported 604 tons of commodities worth $3.06 million to Iran, down by 90.52% and 54.92% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.

Egypt was the ninth exporter of goods to Iran among the African states and 91st in the world.

Major Iranian commodities exported to Egypt were semi-finished non-alloy iron/steel products, non-alloy iron/steel ingots and methanol.

For its part, Egypt mainly exported blades, razors and smoking pipes to Iran.

South Africa was the top exporter of goods to Iran among African states. Trade with South Africa amounted to 123,807 tons worth $71.56 million, indicating a 58.2% increase in tonnage and a 0.24% decrease in value YOY.

Iran’s exports reached 118,716 tons worth $35.92 million, up 65.94% in tonnage and down 4.17% in value YOY, while South Africa’s exports to Iran were at 5,091 tons worth $35.64 million, down by 24.2% in tonnage and up 4.07% in value YOY.

Chemicals, urea, floorings and bitumen were Iran’s main goods exported to South Africa, while South Africa exported chemicals, sesame and steel products.


Iran Tehran Business Forum East Africa African countries