EghtesadOnline: The Trade Promotion Organization of Iran plans to allocate €200 million to promote exports to African countries.
Farzad Piltan, head of TPO's Arab-African Department, said the funding will be part of a $2 billion support package approved by the National Development Fund of Iran, the country's sovereign wealth fund, to promote Iranian exports.
The package is aimed at removing hurdles to expanding foreign trade with African nations, Piltan said in a note published on the TPO website.
Despite high potential for trade with Africa, export to the Black Continent has been impeded by a myriad of factors, namely "lack of planning, unfamiliarity with [needs] the huge African market and the unwillingness of private sector organizations to operate in Africa," he said.
Outlining a plan to push trade with Africa, Piltan pointed to concerted efforts to remove banking and transportation hurdles and holding trade exhibitions.
Earlier Hamid Zadboum, the TPO head, had said the NDFI support would be given to exporters via designated banks over two years. Money has been deposited with four banks, namely the Export Development Bank of Iran, Cooperative Development Bank, Bank Keshavarzi (special agro lender) and the Venezuela Bi-National Bank, he was quoted as saying.
Iran traded 950,000 tons of goods worth about $180.4 million with Africa in the first seven months of the current Iranian year that ends in March, according to data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA).
The figure is insignificant compared to the total Iranian exports in the period. Iran exported 65.57 million tons of goods worth $18.2 billion in the seven months.
According to Rouhollah Latifi, the IRICA spokesman, goods were exported to 27 African countries during the period. “Exports included dairy, dates, plaster and cement, carbon, metal sheets, glass, iron bars, aluminum, flowers for use in perfume, licorice extract, medical equipment and oilseeds,” Latifi said.
Iran’s main export destinations in the African continent were Ghana with $52.81 million, Cameroon $22.85 million and Kenya $21.26 million. Import from Africa in the same period was a meager 8,299 tons worth $20.4 million.
Seeds, vegetable oils, chlorine and washing liquid essence, industrial vehicle parts, clutch pedal pads, packaging material, medical equipment, sesame seeds, tobacco and industrial sheets were the main imports.
Zimbabwe with $5.75 million, Ghana $5.55 million and South Africa $3.06 million were the main African exporters.