Africa-EU - key statistical indicators

From Statistics Explained

Data from December 2013. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

This article compares statistical indicators of Africa and the European Union (EU) and their share in the total world population and economic performance. It examines gross domestic product (GDP) and government revenue and expenditure, as well as trade in goods between African countries and the 28 EU Member States (EU-28). As a strong driver for access to the information society, the article also studies the spread of mobile phones in the population.

Figure 1: Population index with forecasts up to 2050 (1960 = 100) - Source: Eurostat (online data codes: (demo_pjan) and (proj_10c2150p)) and United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Table 1: Total population, 1980-2012 (1 000) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (demo_pjan)), Statistics Division of the African Union Commission and United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Figure 2: Share of EU-28 and Africa in the world population, 2012 (%) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (demo_pjan) and (proj_10c2150p)) and United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Figure 3: Share of EU-28 and Africa in world GDP, 2012 (%) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (nama_gdp_c)), Statistics Division of the African Union Commission and World Bank
Figure 4: Life expectancy at birth, 2005-2011 (years) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (demo_mlexpec)) and Statistics Division of the African Union Commission
Figure 5: EU-28 trade in goods with Africa, 2002-2012 (EUR million) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (DS_018995))
Figure 6: EU-28 trade in goods with Africa by SITC section, 2012 (EUR billion) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (DS_018995))
Figure 7: EU-28 exports of goods to Africa by main partners, 2012 (%) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (DS_018995))
Figure 8: EU-28 imports of goods from Africa by main partners, 2012 (%) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (DS_018995))
Table 2: Government expenditure, 2001-2012 (% of GDP) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (gov_a_main)) and Statistics Division of the African Union Commission
Table 3: Government revenue, 2001-2012 (% of GDP) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (gov_a_main)) and Statistics Division of the African Union Commission
Table 4: GDP per capita at current prices, 2005-2012 (EUR) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (nama_gdp_c)) and Statistics Division of the African Union Commission
Table 5: GDP growth rates at constant prices, 2005-2012 (%) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (nama_gdp_k)) and Statistics Division of the African Union Commission
Table 6: Number of mobile phone subscriptions per 1 000 inhabitants, 2009-2011 - Source: Eurostat (online data codes: (isoc_tc_mcsupe) and (demo_pjan)) and Statistics Division of the African Union Commission

The article accompanies the recently released 2013 edition of the statistical compendium ‘The European Union and the African Union — A statistical portrait’, prepared jointly by Eurostat and the Statistics Division of the African Union (AU) Commission in the framework of the promotion of economic governance as foreseen by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. More detailed data can be found in this publication, as well as in the Eurostat datasets referred to under each Figure and Table (‘Source’) and in the section Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database below.

Main statistical findings

Population

Strong growth in its population makes Africa the sleeping giant of the world economy

Africa’s population growth has far outstripped that of Europe and projections suggest it will continue to do so. The forecasts predict that Africa will represent 25 % of the world population by 2050, compared with 11 % in 1980 and 15 % in 2012. Over the period from 2010 to 2050, Africa is projected to account for over half the growth in world population, while the equivalent figure for the EU-28 is less than 1 %. The result is that the share of EU-28 in the world population should continue its fall from 10.4 % in 1980, 7.2 % in 2012 to 5.5 % by 2050.

In 1980, the populations of the EU-28 and Africa were broadly the same. By 2012, Africa’s population was more than double the EU-28’s. Projections indicate that by 2050 Africa’s population will be well over four times larger than the EU-28’s (Figure 1, Table 1). This is the result of a high and continuing growth rate in Africa’s population (2.5 % per annum between 1980 and 2012) compared with a much slower growth for the EU-28 (0.3 % per annum between the same years).

There have been very high population growth rates for individual African countries: among the larger countries, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania all grew by an average annual rate of 3 % or more between 1980 and 2012. South Africa and Sudan had more modest population growth rates of less than 2 %. Other countries recording very high growth rates were Equatorial Guinea (3.9 % per annum), The Gambia (3.5 %) and Djibouti (3.2 %).

In 2012, Nigeria with 166 million had the highest population in Africa, followed by Ethiopia and Egypt, both with around 85 million. South Africa, one of the continent’s largest economies, had a population of 50 million.

The scope for African development is illustrated by the gap between Africa’s share of world population (Figure 2) and its share of world GDP (Figure 3). Africa’s 15 % share of world population in 2012 translated into a share of less than 3 % of world GDP. If Africa were able to match China's productivity, in terms of GDP per capita, Africa would account for some 8.5 % of world GDP.

Life expectancy at birth in Africa in 2011 was less than 60 years, while in the EU-28 it was over 80 years (Figure 4). There has been some gradual improvement in life expectancy in both groups but the figures pose different problems. For the EU-28, the burdens created by an ageing population are growing while for Africa, the loss to the economy imposed by early deaths remains substantial.

International trade

Africa an ever more important EU supplier of oil and gas imports

EU-28 exports and imports to and from Africa reached record levels in 2012 (Figure 5). Africa as a whole accounted for 15 % of EU-28 imports and 13 % of exports. Over the years from 2002 to 2012, the EU-28 ran a consistent deficit on its trade in goods with Africa. This reflects Africa’s position as a major supplier of mineral-fuel imports to the EU. As a percentage of total trade (imports plus exports), the deficit reached nearly 17 % in 2006, followed by 12 % in 2007 and 15 % in 2008. In 2009, the impact of the World financial crisis intervened, substantially reducing EU-28 imports but with a smaller impact on exports. This led to a significant fall in the EU-28’s trade deficit with Africa. It has increased again since 2010 as the EU-28 economies recovered, along with their thirst for mineral fuels. The deficit reached 10.6 % in 2012.

The EU-28 deficit in trade with Africa is largely due to imports of mineral fuels, crude oil and natural gas (Figure 6). In 2005, Africa accounted for 20 % of total EU-28 imports of this product group. There was a setback in 2011 when oil and gas production in Libya was disrupted by the revolt. Imports from Africa accounted for 19 % of EU-28 imports in that year, with the shortfall from Libya partly made up by increased imports from Nigeria, Algeria and Angola. The higher levels from these countries were maintained in 2012 when Libyan production recovered a large part of the previous year’s decline. The outcome is that Africa as a whole accounted for more than a quarter of EU-28 oil and gas imports in 2012, with Nigeria and Libya, on their own, the fourth and fifth most important country sources of oil and gas imports.

Except for the years 2002 and 2009, the import trend has been one of growth, with a particularly dynamic period between 2004 and 2008. Imports from Africa to the EU-28 grew by 26 % in 2005 and 23 % in 2008, when they reached EUR 161 billion. A decline of 30 % followed in 2009 before a full recovery to the earlier strong growth with rises of 22 % in 2010, 11 % in 2011 and 23 % in 2012.

EU-28 exports to Africa followed a similar pattern to imports but generally at a more subdued level. Again there was a fall in 2009 but at nowhere near the same magnitude as for imports. Exports also experienced dynamic growth between 2004 and 2008, with an annual growth rate of 17 % in 2008. The decline, 10 % in 2009, was much less marked than for imports. The recovery in 2010 of 16 % was sustained with a rise of 8 % on 2011 and 11 % in 2012, when exports recorded a new high of EUR 151 billion.

The major markets for EU-28 exports to Africa were South Africa, Algeria and Morocco, followed at distance by Egypt (Figure 7). For EU-28 imports from Africa in 2012, the major oil and gas producing countries, particularly Nigeria, Libya and Algeria dominated (Figure 8). South Africa in fourth place largely owed its position to the supply of mining products, including gold and diamonds. The Ivory Coast and Ghana are major suppliers of cocoa and cocoa products.

Government expenditure and revenue

Wide differences between the two Unions and between countries within Africa

The fiscal balance of a country is the difference between the government’s expenditure and its revenue. In the EU-28, the overall government expenditure as percentage of GDP was 49.4 % in 2012, with rates varying from about 35 % to about 60 % for individual Member States. In terms of government expenditure, there is a wide variation from the overall average expenditure of 30.6 % of GDP also among African countries (Table 2). Lesotho stands out, with government expenditure reaching 62.6 % of GDP in 2012. São Tomé and Principe (57.8 %), Tanzania (48.1 %) and Algeria (43.2 %) follow with some distance. Generally, government expenditure lies roughly between 30 % and 40 % for the majority of African countries. However, for many countries there are considerable fluctuations in this ratio from year to year. The lowest government expenditures, measured as percentage of GDP, are found in Ethiopia (15.0 %), Madagascar (15.3 %) and Sudan (16.4 %).

Government revenue as a percentage of GDP has remained relatively stable since 2001 at 44 % to 45 % for the EU-28 as a whole. For Africa, again there are significant variations among countries from the overall average of 27 % (Table 3). One group, including Lesotho, Libya, Angola and Tanzania, recorded rates of government revenue around 50 % of GDP in 2012. In contrast, there is a second group of countries, where the rate of government revenue as a percentage of GDP is less than 20 %. The lowest government revenue rates within this group are found in Sudan and Madagascar, followed by Ethiopia, Uganda and the Central African Republic.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Strong GDP growth in Africa

Table 4 shows the top ten African countries in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. At the head of the list are Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Libya. This is a reflection of the development and exploitation of their large mineral oil resources and relatively small populations. Between 2005 and 2012, GDP per capita for these countries rose at an annual rate of 15 % for Equatorial Guinea, 10 % for Gabon and 5 % for Libya. Angola and Algeria also benefitted from oil and gas resources and achieved growth rates of over 17 % for Angola and 8 % for Algeria over the same period. The Seychelles and Mauritius, both countries to varying degrees dependent on tourism for their growth, also figure in the top ten list (Table 5). While the Seychelles has seen its GDP per capita decline since 2005, Mauritius has continued to power ahead, achieving a growth rate of over 8 %. For the Seychelles, this may reflect the problems in the tourist industry since the economic crisis. Mauritius in contrast is a more balanced economy with some manufacturing and a well-developed financial sector.

The impact of the uprising in Libya is clearly apparent in the figures. Libya’s GDP per capita more than halved from over EUR 8 000 in 2010 to under EUR 4 000 in 2011, before bouncing back in 2012 to over EUR 9 000.

South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, all largely dependent on mining and with diamonds one key factor for all three countries, occupy sixth, seventh and tenth places respectively. All have recorded annual average growth since 2001, at rates of 5 % for South Africa, 2 % for Botswana and 5 % for Namibia. However, South Africa and Botswana, along with the Seychelles, recorded a decline in GDP per capita in 2012.

Mobile phones

Huge contrasts in mobile phone penetration

Mobile phone penetration in Africa has exploded in the last ten years, growing more than 14 times between 2002 and 2011 (Table 6). All the countries in the top ten, particularly Libya, the Seychelles and Botswana, had penetrations which matched the highest in Europe in 2011. The “Arab Spring” started in Tunisia in January 2011 and spread to Egypt and Libya in the same year. While the resulting revolt in Libya may have been behind the fall in the penetration there that year, there does not seem to have been a major impact in the other two countries. In contrast, Eritrea, Somalia and Burundi lag far behind with penetrations below 150 per thousand population in 2011. However, these countries registered very high growth rates. Over the period 2002 to 2011, the highest growth rate was recorded in Liberia where, after the end of the civil war in 2003, a penetration of less than one per thousand population in 2002 was transformed to a rate of nearly 500 per thousand in 2011. Other countries to record exceptional growth rates were Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia and Mali, all from very low bases.

Data sources and availability

Data sources

The contents of this article are based on data for African countries, provided by the Statistics Division of the African Union Commission. These data were produced by the National Statistical Institutes or National Central Banks of the African countries or by international organisations (United Nations, OECD, IMF, World Bank and ILO). Data on the European Union and on trade between Africa and the European Union have been extracted from Eurostat's databases Eurobase and Comext. The Statistics Division of the African Union Commission will be transfromed into a new African Union Institute for Statistics.

African economic data (GDP, government finances, trade) were provided in US Dollars or in national currencies; they have been converted to EUR using the average annual rate of exchange. The exchange rates are published by the European Commission under InforEuro: http://ec.europa.eu/budget/inforeuro/

This article is based on the recently released 2013 edition of the statistical compendium ‘The European Union and the African Union — A statistical portrait’; data for further statistical areas and indicators can be found there, for all available African Union and European Union member states.

African data are also available in the African Statistical Yearbook, prepared jointly by the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

African countries

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although Morocco is not a member of the African Union, its statistics have been included in the tables and in the Africa totals. Data for South Sudan were not available.

European Union Member States (EU-28)

Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and United Kingdom.

External trade statistics

In the methodology applied for statistics on the trading of goods, extra-EU trade (trade between Member States and non-member countries) statistics do not record exchanges involving goods in transit, placed in a customs warehouse or given temporary admission (for trade fairs, temporary exhibitions, tests, etc.). This is known as "special trade"; the partner recorded will be the country of final destination of the goods.

SITC classification

In Figure 6, information on commodities exported and imported are presented according to the Standard international trade classification (SITC) at the more general 'section' level (1-digit level).

Gross domestic product (GDP)

National accounts data for the African countries have been provided by the African Union Commission. These have primarily been obtained from various national sources. Where necessary, official figures have been adjusted to conform to the System of National Accounts (SNA).

For European countries, annual national accounts are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts (ESA95); ESA is broadly consistent with the SNA as regards the definitions, accounting rules and classifications.

Mobile phone subscriptions

Number of mobile phone subscriptions per 1 000 inhabitants for EU countries give the number of active SIM cards divided per 1 000 inhabitants. It includes both voice and data services, whether installed in telephones, modems, USB keys or other devices.

Context

This article is based on the 2013 edition of the ‘The European Union and the African Union — A statistical portrait’ publication, prepared jointly by Eurostat and the Statistics Division of the African Union Commission. The Statistical Division of the African Union Commission will be transformed into a new African Union Institute for Statistics.

Further statistics, covering all available African Union and European Union member states, can be found in this publication. The first chapter gives an overview of demography, key economic indicators and external trade in Africa, Europe and some selected countries or world regions. Thematic chapters present key statistical indicators for demography, health, education, national accounts, economy and finance, industry and services and external economic relations.

Two tables are available for each indicator: one presenting data for the African countries and one for the European countries. Although Morocco is not a member of the African Union, its statistics have been included in the tables and in the Africa totals. Data for South Sudan were not yet available.

Africa-EU Strategic Partnership

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), agreed in 2007, defines long-term policy orientations between the two continents, based on a shared vision and common principles. Within this framework, the African Union and the European Union work in partnership on a range of important issues as set out in the 2nd Action Plan 2011-2013, which was adopted at the 3rd Africa EU Summit (29-30 November 2010) in Tripoli, Libya. The so-called Tripoli Declaration shapes the future relations between the two continents.

The 2nd Action Plan both builds on the overarching policy framework and takes into account experience gained from implementation of the 1st Action Plan (2008-2010).

The four main over-arching objectives of the Joint Africa – EU Strategy are:

  • To improve the Africa-EU political partnership,
  • To promote:
    • peace, security, democratic governance and human rights
    • basic freedoms, gender equality
    • sustainable economic development, including industrialisation
    • regional and continental integration
    • ensuring that all the Millennium Development Goals are met in all African countries by 2015
  • To achieve effective multilateralism
  • To develop a people-centred partnership.

The Strategy's Second Action Plan sets out particular cross cutting issues and includes eight areas for strategic partnership during the 2011-2013 time period. These eight priority areas are:

  1. Peace and Security
  2. Democratic Governance and Human Rights
  3. Regional Economic Integration, Trade and Infrastructure
  4. Millennium Development Goals
  5. Climate Change
  6. Energy
  7. Migration, Mobility and Employment
  8. Science, Information Society and Space

Eurostat and the Statistics Division of the African Union Commission cooperate to develop statistics in these eight priority areas for the strategic partnership, particularly in relation to the areas Regional Integration, the Millennium Development Goals, Energy, Migration, Mobility and Employment.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Demography (t_pop)
Demography - National data (t_demo)
International Migration and Asylum (t_migr)
Population projections (t_proj)
International trade data (t_ext)
International trade long-term indicators (t_ext_lti)
International trade short-term indicators (t_ext_sti)
Annual government finance statistics (t_gov_a)
Total general government revenue (tec00021)
Total general government expenditure (tec00023)
Government deficit and debt (t_gov_dd)
Annual national accounts (t_nama)
GDP and main components (t_nama_gdp)
Telecommunication services (t_isoc_tc)
Number of mobile phone subscriptions (1 000) (tin00059)
Mobile phone subscriptions (tin00060)

Database

Demography (pop)
Demography - National data (demo)
International Migration and Asylum (migr)
Population projections (proj)
EUROPOP2010 - Convergence scenario, national level (proj_10c)
International trade data (ext)
International trade long-term indicators (ext_lti)
International trade short-term indicators (ext_sti)
International trade detailed data (detail)
Annual government finance statistics (gov_a)
Government revenue, expenditure and main aggregates (gov_a_main)
Government deficit and debt (gov_dd)
Government deficit/surplus, debt and associated data (gov_dd_edpt1)
Annual national accounts (nama)
GDP and main components (nama_gdp)
GDP and main components - Current prices (nama_gdp_c)
Telecommunication services (isoc_tc)
Mobile communications - subscriptions and penetration (isoc_tc_mcsupe)
Mobile broadband - subscriptions and penetration (isoc_tc_mbsupe)

Dedicated section

Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)

Other information

External links

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