The Information and Decision Support Center of the Egyptian Cabinet has released a study on the trade relations between Egypt and the COMESA community, whose membership comprises 21 African countries.
The centre said that COMESA is among the most important trading partner for Egypt within the African continent. The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and COMESA countries recorded about $3bn in 2020, accounting for about 60% of the total trade exchange between Egypt and the African continent last year.
The centre also said that Egypt had a trade surplus of $1.4bn from its business relations with the COMESA countries during 2020.
The study indicated that the COMESA countries are among the most promising markets for Egyptian exports, as the value of the export potential to these countries is about $1.8bn by 2025.
The study pointed out that Egypt’s exports to Libya, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Tunisia have the largest export potential in 2025, estimated at $2.3bn, while Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) recorded the highest export potential of 94.7%.
By analyzing the Egyptian products with major export potentials to the COMESA countries expected in 2025, the study indicated that cane sugar, beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose in its solid state are among the top Egyptian exports to Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda, while Egypt’s exports are phosphate, mineral fertilizers, and chemical commodities with major export potential to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Burundi.
Egypt’s exports of wheat flour or mixed flour topped the list of Egyptian commodities with great export potential to Somalia, Eritrea, Madagascar, and Comoros.
By analyzing Egypt’s most prominent commodity imports from the COMESA countries, it was found that Egypt’s imports of some commodities, such as: coffee, butter and copper, decreased by 10%, compared to Egypt’s total imports from the world of those commodities during the year 2020. Coffee tops the list of Egypt’s imports from Ethiopia, while butter is at the forefront of Egypt’s imports from Uganda. Accordingly, there is room for enhancing trade exchange between Egypt and the COMESA countries, as it is possible to increase Egypt’s imports of these commodities from COMESA compared to other countries of the world.
The study also indicated the most prominent commercial competitors for Egyptian exports within the COMESA markets in 2020, as China came at the top of the countries with exports worth $21.4bn, or 12.7% of total COMESA imports, followed by South Africa with a total of $7.9bn and 4.7% of COMESA imports, then India with $7.4bn and Turkey with $3.7bn.
The study presented proposals and recommendations to develop Egyptian exports to African countries, including the implementation of programs by Egyptian ministries to transfer expertise in various fields in line with the needs of the country, and classifying COMESA countries into groups according to the needs of different countries, as well as benefiting from international conferences and forums that are organized to build partnerships with African countries and promotion of joint development initiatives.
The study also recommended developing a flexible strategy to promote Egyptian exports in line with the current trade indicators with each country, as well as establishing a unified observatory of data, studies and analysis of African countries through a partnership between the Ministry of Higher Education (Faculty of African Studies), the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and various research centers. In addition, a study could be prepared to survey the opinions and of businessmen in Egypt and assess their needs, while working to follow up on overcoming any problems they face, and forming a multidisciplinary research team to manage the file of commercial relations with Africa, including the COMESA countries, from various aspects. The current government efforts aimed at promoting Egypt’s exports to Africa will continue to be supported and the performance indicators of Egyptian ports will be reviewed in order to improve their efficiency and support logistic services.