|Rice packaging for exports at Vinh Phát Rice Ltd Company in the southern province of An Giang. Rice is one of the key exported products of Việt Nam to Africa. — VNA/VNS Photo Vũ Sinh|
HÀ NỘI — There remains ample room for Vietnamese exports to Africa, as the country accounts for only 0.6 per cent of the continent's total import of US$600 billion per year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, given opportunities brought about by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The Asian-African Market Department said that trade between Việt Nam and Africa increased from $2.52 billion in 2010 to $5.5 billion in 2022.
Of the total, Việt Nam's exports were valued at more than $2.8 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $226.3 million.
Việt Nam mainly shipped rice ($568.6 million), phones and parts ($355.6 million), computers and electronic products ($210.4 million), and footwear ($141.8 million) to Africa.
Meanwhile, it bought cashew nuts ($1.1 billion), metals ($484.1 million), and wood and wood products ($114.3 million) from this continent.
In the coming time, to facilitate intra-bloc trade, African nations will pour more capital into infrastructure facilities, thus opening up more opportunities for Vietnamese goods to access more markets, including 15 landlocked countries in Africa.
Việt Nam's main regional export markets are significant economies with seaports, such as South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria.
Countries worldwide plan to study, negotiate and sign international trade agreements, especially free trade agreements (FTAs) with the African Continental Free Trade Area.
This will help them save time negotiating with individual countries or regions (Africa currently has 55 countries divided into eight economic areas). According to the ministry, African countries have similar production structures, mainly primary products such as crude oil, raw agricultural products, minerals, and precious metals.
Even if the AfCFTA agreement takes effect across the region, the continent still cannot guarantee the supply of machinery, equipment, rice, textiles, footwear, and processed aquatic products; and still has to depend on imports from foreign countries.
Therefore, there remains enormous potential for Việt Nam to export its essential commodities such as rice, coffee, garment and textiles, footwear, and aquatic products to Africa.
Việt Nam can increase its exports of textile, leather and footwear products to Africa by promoting competitive advantages such as low labour costs, good sewing techniques, and high-quality products if the nation or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) negotiates a trade agreement with the AfCFTA, the ministry said.
The AfCFTA is the world's largest free trade area bringing together the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The overall mandate of the AfCFTA is to create a single continental market with a population of about 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of approximately $3.4 trillion. — VNS