Economies Most Dependent On Exports To Sub-Saharan African Nations

Coffee beans are a vital component of Djibouti's export sector.
Coffee beans are a vital component of Djibouti's export sector.

Trade relations between Sub-Saharan African countries increased flourished after these nations gained independence from their former European colonial rulers. Blessed with abundant natural resources, the countries initiated regional alliances to boost their economic growth. These African Countries continue to trade heavily with each other, with some economies emerging heavily reliant on regional markets. Djibouti, for example, exports over 80% of its total exports to Sub-Saharan African nations. The economies most dependent on exports to Sub-Saharan African Nations are detailed below.


83% of Djibouti’s exports go to its neighbors to its south and southwest. Djibouti borders Ethiopia and Somalia by land, facilitating trade relations with the two countries. Ethiopia and Somalia are top importers of Djibouti’s exports. Relations with Ethiopia had their genesis in 1998 when Ethiopia and Eritrea were at war. The secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia rendered Ethiopia landlocked. Ethiopia heavily relies on Djibouti’s port, and this has fostered deep economic ties with Djibouti.

Djibouti is sensitive to Somalia’s political situation and has been at the forefront in assisting Somalia’s government in establishing peace. These efforts have been in a bid to maintain its large market in Somalia. Djibouti is a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which boosts regional trade. Major exports of Djibouti are coffee, wood, hides and skins, rubber tires, and dried legumes.


61.8% of exports from Togo are destined for Sub-Saharan African countries. Togo’s neighbors are Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Benin. These countries are major importers of Togo’s exports. Togo is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which enhances regional trade between West African nations.Togo’s exports are Cocoa and other oily seeds, Gold, Calcium Phosphates, Refined Petroleum and Coffee.


45.1% of exports from Niger have destinations in markets in other Sub-Saharan African nations. Niger is a member of the West African trading bloc, ECOWAS. The nation trades extensively with its two neighbors, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. The bilateral trade with Nigeria is of particular importance to Niger. Niger is inclined to take an active role in mediation, when Nigeria is involved in conflicts, either among internal factions or with its neighbors to protect its interests. Niger also trades extensively with Ghana and Mali. Niger’s exports are uranium and thorium ore, rice, livestock, refined petroleum, onions, and cowpeas.


Senegal exports 45.1% of its total exports to African nations in the Sub-Saharan region. Senegal is a signatory and a member of the West African regional trading bloc ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) which facilitates free trade agreements with its West African nations.Major importers of Senegal’s exports are Mali, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Togo, and Burkina Faso. Major exports of Senegal are Gold, Cotton, Phosphates, Petroleum Products, and Cement.

A Region with Major Growth Potential

Other countries dependent on export markets into Sub-Saharan African markets are Kenya (38.9%), Uganda (37.6%), Zimbabwe (36.7%), Burundi (36.1%), Ivory Coast (31.4%) and Rwanda (30.2%). Sub-Saharan African countries have mostly established regional trade blocs to diminish trade barriers between them. The Sub-Saharan nations’ economies have been on an upward trajectory, and this has attracted other foreign players to their markets. Developed and developing countries are initiating trade agreements with Sub-Saharan African Nations. A growing middle class and a large population render Sub-Saharan countries as increasingly lucrative global markets.

Economies Most Dependent On Exports To Sub-Saharan African Nations

RankCountryShare of Total Merchandise Exports Destined For Sub-Saharan Africa
9Ivory Coast31.4%

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