Iran has reported a major surge in non-oil exports to Africa in the nine months to December 21 with an official in the country’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) saying that shipments had almost tripled over the period mainly thanks to increased government support for exporters.
TPO’s head of Arab and Africa Office Farzad Piltan said on Monday that Iranian exports to African countries had reached a total of $912 million in March-December last year, up 199% from the similar period in 2020.
Piltan said Ghana was Iran’s largest customer of non-oil exports over the nine months to late December as the West African country had bought $292 million worth of goods from Iran over the period.
Purchases by South Africa and Nigeria rose to $169 million and $85 million, respectively, said the official, adding that shipments to Sudan and Algeria had also increased between March and December last year.
That comes as imports from Africa into Iran remained low at $40 million over the nine months to late December 2021, according to TPO figures.
Piltan said Iran aims to easily hit a record target of $1 billion in exports to African countries in the calendar year to late March.
He said exports to the region could further rise with an increase in Iranian government’s support for exporters as well as with policies that could give Iranian companies more access to African markets.
The official said Iranian Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will for a first time head a special task force to promote exports to Africa.
TPO estimates suggest Iran has a capacity to increase its trade with African countries to around $5 billion per year.