African import/export trading follows the convention of international trade. It means that you only have to deal with a few variables peculiar to the continent. Import and export trading with Africa – or any other geographical area doesn’t require a dominant presence. A big Importer of Record only makes up a fraction of the market, leaving first-timer ample chance to thrive.
However, you’ll have to account for some segments to ensure a successful venture. What bodies do you approach for regulations? Do you have a target market? What are the operating costs? The article below highlights some of the guidelines for successfully starting import & export trading in Africa.
What Products to Trade?
Each continent has its specific import & export needs, reflecting on the kinds of products they demand. It helps if you consider current statistics for African imports and exports to have an idea of the most lucrative product types.
Given Africa’s growth pace, statistics show that niche products such as vehicles, apparel, and fashion accessories are high in the import market. However, it is not advisable to rely on books. You need to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of your proposed products. It will allow you to ascertain the viability in the face of changing economic policies in the individual countries in Africa.
The tariffs are an essential concept in import/export trade, and for Africa, it serves a vital purpose to protect internal production and consumer welfare. At other times, African countries use tariffs for national security and as a way of curbing trading entities.
Some of the common types of tariffs you’ll come across when trading with Africa includes:
- Fixed Tariffs
Each African country employs either or both tariffs on different commodities. Thus, you have to inquire from the appropriate authorities on the current taxes on the kind of products you want to export.
It is not enough to jump on the next wagon to a lucrative import product. You must analyze and gain insights into what happens within the country.
The nature of the commodity is a priority, and you would have to answer to what industry you’re targeting. For instance, export products destined for light industries in Africa would have different processes and outcomes for heavy industries.
Additionally, the trade channels will determine how effectively you wish to export into Africa from your country. Typically, you’ll have to ship directly or pair up with an importer to share insights and experience.
Commission-based handlers can manage logistics for you on the other end as well. You need to map out a sustainable cost-benefit scale to see which channel works best at the start.
Import and export trade in Africa has numerous factors to consider, but thankfully, starting would only require local research. The above-listed guidelines provide insights about the variables one needs to consider when starting the import/export trade. While profitability is the primary goal, taxes, tariffs, and individual African countries ultimately determine the exports’ viability at a given time.