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Market of the Month

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa, with a burgeoning consumer base of 650 million people, political stability, and economic reforms, has market potential that is growing. Economic growth in the region is projected to accelerate in 2008 to 6.7 percent, the highest in a decade, while Africa’s oil-exporting countries will likely see their economies expand by 10 percent or more.

Total U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa increased 10 percent in the first half of 2007 from the same period in 2006, as both exports and imports grew. U.S. exports increased by 30 percent, to $6.7 billion, driven mainly by increases in parts for oil field equipment, vehicles and parts, aircraft, wheat, platforms for offshore oil drilling, non-crude oil, and medical equipment. Of the top five African destinations for U.S. products, exports to South Africa rose by 8 percent and those to Nigeria rose by 42 percent. As the markets in sub-Saharan Africa continue to show substantial growth and potential, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa stand out as particularly advantageous destinations for U.S. exporters seeking to leverage business opportunities in this region.

The U.S. commitment to trade with Africa was underscored by the enactment of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2000. The act created tangible incentives for African countries to implement economic and commercial reform policies. Measures taken to conform to AGOA’s eligibility provisions—including poverty reduction, elimination of trade barriers, and support for the rule of law—contribute to better market opportunities and stronger commercial partners in Africa for U.S. companies. Since 2000, the act has been already helped forge stronger commercial ties between Africa and the United States, while helping integrate Africa into the global economy. It currently applies to 38 countries in the region.

This text has been adapted from “Market of the Month,” a regular feature of the U.S. government’s export portal, To read a longer version, with detailed information on countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa, visit