RIYADH — Saudi non-oil exports to the African continent surpassed SR128 billion over the last five years (2019-2023), marking a significant milestone in the Kingdom's trade expansion, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The chemicals and polymers sector emerged as the frontrunner in non-oil exports, with a staggering contribution exceeding SR83 billion, followed by the construction materials sector at over SR10 billion and the packaging sector at more than SR9 billion. The primary exported products were polypropylene, polyethylene, and fertilizers, highlighting the diverse range of goods flowing from the Kingdom to Africa. The leading importers of Saudi products included Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Morocco, Sudan, Kenya, and Nigeria, among 55 African countries engaging in trade with the Kingdom.

The Saudi Exports Development Authority (Saudi Exports) has been instrumental in facilitating these trade flows, focusing on meeting the varied market demands and future aspirations of the African continent. Through the organization of trade missions to key African markets such as South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, and Libya, and participation in international exhibitions across the continent, Saudi Exports aims to further expand the reach of Saudi products and services. Upcoming participations include the African Food Exhibition 2024, the International Exhibition for Processing and Packaging in the Middle East and Africa 2024 in Egypt, Buildexpo Africa — Kenya 2024, and Gitex Africa in Morocco, providing platforms for Saudi exporters to showcase their offerings and forge new commercial partnerships.

To bolster exporter readiness, Saudi Exports offers comprehensive support through information dissemination, market studies, and facilitating access to new markets. Specialized workshops and training sessions, such as “Empowering Exports in Pakistan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria” and “Empowering Exports in North African Countries: Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia,” were conducted to develop exporter capabilities. Additionally, the authority has addressed over 270 challenges faced by exporters, including navigating customs and non-customs barriers, and financial and logistical issues, underscoring its commitment to smoothing the path for Saudi exports to Africa.

The culmination of these efforts was evident at the Saudi-African Summit held in Riyadh on November 10, 2023, where the Kingdom and African countries underscored their strategic relations and historical ties. The summit paved the way for a roadmap of cooperation, announcing a comprehensive investment package worth $25 billion to spur investments in various sectors across the African continent. This initiative, complemented by export financing and insurance worth $10 billion and development funding of $5 billion over six years, underlines the Kingdom's dedication to fostering economic growth and prosperity in Africa. The summit also witnessed the signing of over 50 agreements and MoUs valued at over $500 million, setting a solid foundation for future collaboration and trade expansion between Saudi Arabia and Africa.

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