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Africa’s global exports increased by one third between 1998 and 2013, but constraints to trade and growing import levels continue to limit the continent from reaching its potential notes report.

Trade is an important avenue through which countries transform their economies and raise standards of living. For African countries, trade in agricultural products offers great potential to boost incomes for farmers, processors and other agricultural value chain actors. The 2018 Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor (AATM), the first in a series of annual reports assesses long-term and emerging trends and drivers of Africa’s global, intra-Africa, and intra-regional economic community trade in agricultural products. The report released in September 2018, examines the driving forces behind increased agricultural trade, at global and regional levels, and the effects that this is having across the continent.

According to the report, African agricultural trade has increased internationally and intra-regionally in the last two decades. However, from 1998 to 2013, the balance of African trade has undergone significant change. Exports from Africa to the rest of the world have increased and diversified, in both the commodities being traded and the partners that are being traded with, but imports have increased more rapidly.

With a fivefold increase in the value of Africa’s imports, the continent has recorded a trade deficit since the early 2000s.

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