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Russia’s Exports to Africa Outstrip Exports to the Americas

African countries have significantly boosted imports from Russia, in signs that the shift to trade development with the global south is having a profound effect on supply chains, trade flows and creating new opportunities. Africa outperformed Russia’s trade partners from the Americas – the United States, Canada, Mexico and Latin America. 

In 2023, the share of African imports of Russia’s overall export volumes saw a 100% year-on-year increase from 2.5% to nearly 5%, according to the Russian Federal Customs Service (FCS).

The portion for the Americas dropped to 2.9% in 2022 compared to 3.5% recorded in the previous year. In monetary terms, Russian exports to African nations increased by 43% to US$21.2 billion, while sales to the countries of North and South America declined by 40% to US$12.2 billion.

In comparison to the “pre-sanctions” year of 2021, Africa’s share in Russian exports increased from 3% to 5%, while America’s portion decreased from 6% to 3%, according to the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting (CAMAC).

In 2023, exports of Russian petroleum products to Africa almost doubled, while wheat exports also grew significantly.

African countries’ share in Russian trade turnover (4.2%) are in line with the continent’s contribution to the world economy and global trade, which is hovering around 3%, according to Alexander Firanchuk, a senior research associate at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA).

Russian exports to the US specifically have seen a nearly six-fold decline since spring 2022, when the first sanctions were imposed on Russia by the West. About 70% of Russia’s exports to the United States during 2024 to date have been fertilizers and nuclear fuel – some of the only Russian exports to the US not yet affected by sanctions or tariffs. Prior to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the United States accounted for nearly half of Russian exports to North and South America.

Russia has made specific efforts to boost its grade with Africa including hosting the biannual Russia-Africa Summit, which is personally attended by Russian President Putin and is considered a high-profile event in the African continent for both parties to better examine and develop mutual trade. 

Further Reading 

Russia’s Trade With Africa

The Russia’s Pivot To Asia 2024 Guide contains comprehensive details of Russia’s trade with Africa, including Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, The Sahel, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Namibia and Angola. It is a complimentary download and may be downloaded in English here and Russian here.

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