Five Biggest Exports from The Continent to the US and UK


Throughout history, Africa has been known for its rich natural resources, much of which have been exported abroad for generations.

In 2020, over $23 billion dollars in exports arrived to the United States from Africa.

The top five African countries to export goods globally are South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, and Libya, according to World’s Top Exports.

Africa-US trade has been greatly affected by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) enacted in 2000, which provides “duty-free entry into the United States for almost all African products.”

In 2009, China surpassed the US as Africa’s largest trading partner, and in 2015, the U.S. Congress extended AGOA until 2025.

For the UK, £17.3 billion of goods and services were imported to the UK from Africa in 2019. Following the UK’s break from the European Union at the end of 2020, trade agreements with Africa will see some changes moving forward.

In November 2020, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa released a report detailing important considerations for the future of UK-Africa trade.

“With its rapidly expanding population,” the report reads, “Africa will become an increasingly significant region within the global economy.”

“Brexit offers both a number of challenges, but also an opportunity, for Africa’s future trade relationship with the UK to be rebuilt on the basis of mutual trust and ambition.”

As the Continent continues to rise as a major player within the global marketplace, trade between the US, UK, and Africa are bound to change within the next few years.

The following table contains the top-five exporters from Africa (based on 2018 data), their top export, and the total exports each country sent to the US in 2019 and UK in 2020.

Country/ Top ExportTotal exports to US in local currencyTotal Exports to US in USDTotal exports to UK in local currencyTotal exports to UK in USD
South Africa / Precious Metal and Stone114.7 billion ZAR$7.8 billion61.8 billion ZAR$4.2 billion
Nigeria / Mineral Fuels1.7 trillion NGN$4.6 billion456.6 billion NGN$1.2 billion
Algeria / Mineral Fuels597.9 billion AOA$955 million379.8 billion AOA$606.7 million
Libya / Mineral Fuels6.7 billion LYD$1.5 billion399.1 million LYD$88.7 million
Egypt / Mineral Fuels50.3 bilion EGP$3.2 billion14.6 billion EGP$934.5 million
US data from The Office of the US Trade Representative, UK data from the United Nations Comtrade

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