TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Aggregate Bilateral Trade between AGOA Countries and the United States

Total two-way trade (AGOA and non-AGOA) between Sub-Saharan African countries and the United States has grown significantly since the inception of AGOA. African goods exports to the US far exceed imports from the US resulting in a trade balance in favor of African countries. However, AGOA beneficiary countries' trade surplus has been declining, mainly as a result of lower oil prices and export volumes in this sector, which accounts for the bulk of African exports to the United States. Combined two-way goods trade in 2015 was valued at $36 billion (2014: $50 billion, 2013: $61 billion, 2012: $66 billion).    


Combined two-way trade between the United States and AGOA-eligible Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries has doubled between 2001 and 2014. Peak trade flows were recorded in 2008, valued at almost $100 billion. The global financial crisis subsequently resulted in a significant contraction in SSA’s exports to the United States although the period since then has initially seen a gradual recovery in trade flows, before declining again after 2011. In 2014, two-way trade was worth $50 billion, and eligible AGOA countries' trade surplus with the United States had declined to a mere $2 billion. 

SSA exports to the US have consistently exceeded imports resulting in a significant trade surplus in favour of African countries overall; however this surplus has declined and is now very small (2014). SSA's largest exporter by value has traditionally been Nigeria which accounts for 32% (in 2013) of combined exports to the US based on exports from all AGOA beneficiaries in 2013. Angola and South Africa each account for a further 24% of the combined total (2013).