ECOWAS-EU - trade and investment statistics
From Statistics Explained
- Data from September 2011, most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.
This article focuses on the recent statistics on trade in goods and services between the European Union (EU) and ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States. EU-27 exports and imports to/from ECOWAS account for around 1.5 % of the total extra-EU-27 exports and imports. ECOWAS accounts for 18 % of the extra-EU-27 exports to Africa and 16 % of the imports. Nigeria is by far the EU-27’s largest ECOWAS partner for imports, exports and service flows. In 2010 EU-27 had a trade surplus with the ECOWAS countries in goods and, in 2009, in services. Imports and exports both rose strongly in 2010 following the financial crisis of 2009. Mineral fuels (crude oil imports from Nigeria) made up two thirds of EU-27 imports whilst petroleum products accounted for nearly a third of EU-27 exports. Food (mainly cocoa beans) and live animals were the next main imports to the EU-27 with the Ivory Coast and Ghana being the major cocoa suppliers. Machinery and transport equipment made up the second largest export category to ECOWAS. The EU-27’s healthy surplus in trade in services with ECOWAS has declined since 2007, mainly because trade with Sierra Leone moved sharply into a deficit with a change of nearly EUR 1 billion between 2007 and 2009.
Main statistical findings
Exports and imports continue a recovery from the international financial crisis
EU-27 exports to ECOWAS grew steadily between 2004 and 2008, before falling back in 2009 under the impact of the World economic crisis (Figure 1). Exports bounced back strongly in 2010, when they amounted to EUR 22 billion, some 18 % higher than in 2009 (Table 1). In the same year, Nigeria was the EU-27’s largest ECOWAS export customer, accounting for nearly half the total ECOWAS exports at nearly EUR 11 billion. Ghana and Senegal each comprised some 10 % of the total, with growth rates between 2010 and 2009 of 25 % and 42 % respectively. Benin, which represents some 6 % of EU-27 exports, recorded a rise of 40 % in the same period. Over the longer term, from 2000 to 2010, the annual average growth rate of EU-27 exports to the ECOWAS countries stood at 6 %. For Nigeria, it was over 10 % a year whilst Benin saw growth of 8.5 %. In contrast, Liberia and Sierra Leone saw falls of imports from the EU-27 of 10.5 % and 2 % per year respectively over the same period. Both these countries were badly affected by civil wars in the early part of the 21st century and are now undergoing reconstruction and recovery. However it must be kept in mind that the ECOWAS countries are relatively small trading partners for the EU-27, accounting for only 1.6 % of the total trade between them. The largest export partner, Nigeria, accounted for less than 1 % of the EU-27’s total exports. On the more limited African stage, however, ECOWAS countries account for 18 % of the total exports to Africa, of which Nigeria has 9 % of, while Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Benin each account for between 1 and 2 % of the total.
EU-27 imports from ECOWAS grew by 28 % between 2010 and 2009, a strong rebound from the sharp fall in 2009 brought about by the World financial crisis (Table 2). Between 2004 and 2009 there had been a period of substantial growth so that the annual average growth rate between 2000 and 2010 was a little over 6 % per annum. Within the ECOWAS total, imports from Nigeria grew by over 40% between 2009 and 2010 and those from Ghana by nearly one third. Imports also rose strongly from Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Sierra Leone albeit from very small bases. In contrast, Liberia (-36 %), Togo (-14 %) and Niger (-11 %), all showed year on year declines. Over the longer run from 2000 to 2010, the big three ECOWAS import sources, Nigeria (9 %), Ivory Coast (5 %) and Ghana (2 %) showed positive annual average growth rates. Togo (13 %) and Cape Verde (11 %) also recorded sizeable gains but from very small levels of trade. Two other smaller countries recorded significant declines, Mali (10 %) and Benin (9 %). Nigeria, as a major oil supplier to the EU, dominated the import total, accounting for more than two thirds of the ECOWAS total. The Ivory Coast with 15 % and Ghana with 7 % were the other major sources of imports. Of the remaining countries, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Togo accounted for more than 1 % of the ECOWAS total. In terms of imports from Africa, Nigeria’s position as a major oil exporter made up 11 % of the total, while Ivory Coast had 2 % and Ghana 1 %. In terms of the EU-27's total imports, Nigeria accounted for 1 % of the total with the other ECOWAS countries hardly figuring.
Petroleum and petroleum products the key element in trade with ECOWAS
Petroleum and petroleum products played a major role in both exports and imports. On the export side, this product group accounted for nearly a third of the total. Machinery and transport equipment was the second largest group with a market share of a little under 30 %. Food, chemicals and manufactured goods, classified by material each had around 10 % of the total. Other goods made up a further 10 %. On the import side, imports of crude oil from Nigeria were the dominant element, accounting for two thirds of total imports from ECOWAS. Of the remainder, food (mainly cocoa) and live animals, accounted for a further 22 %, with crude materials following with 6 %. Other goods represented the remaining 5 %. Compared with the previous year, the share of mineral fuels and crude materials in EU-27 imports from ECOWAS was higher as the EU-27 economy recovered from the economic crisis. In contrast, imports of food etc., less susceptible to the wider economic climate, changed little between the years but saw its share of imports decline. As Table 3 shows, Nigeria is by far the largest market for EU-27 exports. It headed the list for 8 out of the 10 product groups shown in the table. The main product groups exported to Nigeria were mineral fuels and machinery and transport equipment.
Other countries form a useful market for EU-27 exports in particular product groups: Senegal and Benin for mineral fuels, and Ivory Coast and Ghana, and to a lesser extent Liberia, in machinery and transport equipment. For ECOWAS, as a whole, mineral fuels accounted for slightly less than a third of total exports, followed by machinery and transport equipment at a little under 30 %, with food and live animals next at 11 %. ECOWAS accounted for 18% of EU-27 exports to Africa as a whole, particularly concentrated in mineral fuels, food and live animals and beverages and tobacco. Mineral fuels represented 9 % of EU-27 total exports of this group. Niger is ECOWAS’s largest supplier of chemicals while Liberia takes that position for machinery and transport equipment. Ghana is also a large supplier of cocoa while the Ivory Coast supplies some mineral fuels. ECOWAS was responsible for 16 % of imports from Africa and 1 % of total imports. At the group level, 36 % of food imports from Africa came from ECOWAS (6 % of the extra EU-27 imports) and 18 % was mineral fuels and crude materials (representing 4 % and 2 % of the extra EU-27 imports respectively).
Table 5 shows the main two products exported to and imported from ECOWAS and individual ECOWAS countries by the EU-27 in 2010. At the ECOWAS level, petroleum and road vehicles were the main products exported. Many ECOWAS countries also saw either petroleum or road vehicles as the major imports the EU-27. Medicinal products also featured for a number of countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal) as did machinery specialised for particular industries (Burkina Faso, Ghana and Sierra Leone).
On the import side, there was a great deal more variation, reflecting the economies of the countries concerned. At the individual country level, the main products imported by the EU-27 were metal ores (Benin, Guinea), gold (Burkina Faso), fish (Cape Verde, Senegal), vegetable fats (Gambia), cocoa (Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo), crude rubber (Guinea-Bissau), other transport equipment (Liberia), textile fibres (Mali), inorganic chemicals-uranium oxide-(Niger), petroleum (Nigeria) and non-metallic mineral manufactures (diamonds) (Sierra Leone). This all gives an indication of a very varied group of countries with widely differing natural resources and differing degrees of ability to exploit them.
Continued but reduced surplus in trade in services
In 2009, the EU-27 earned a surplus of EUR 2 billion on its trade in services with ECOWAS (Table 6). This was a substantial decline compared with the EUR 3.1 billion in 2007 and EUR 2.7 billion in 2008. This was the result of a sharp decline in EU-27 credits from EUR 7.8 billion in 2008 to EUR 6.9 billion in 2009 with debits rising from EUR 4.7 billion in 2007 to EUR 4.9 billion in 2009. Much of the decline arises from a swing of about EUR 1 million from a small positive value for Sierra Leone’s credit in 2007 to a substantial negative in 2008, a position maintained in 2009. At the individual country level, the EU-27 recorded substantial surplus with Nigeria, reaching a high of EUR 2.7 billion in 2008 before falling back to EUR 2.1 billion in 2009, with credits of EUR 4.1 billion and debits of EUR 2 billion. At the same time, there have been consistent deficits with Liberia, Gambia and Cape Verde. The Ivory Coast, Mali and Ghana have all shown consistent EU-27 surpluses over the three years, reaching EUR 0.3 billion for Ivory Coast and Mali and EUR 0.2 billion for Ghana in 2009.
Data sources and availability
This article focuses on the ECOWAS, the Economic Community Of West African States. Its mission is to promote economic integration in "all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters ..."
The 15 countries members of the ECOWAS are:
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire)
- Sierra Leone
The figures presented in this publication have been extracted from Eurostat’s free dissemination database and reflect the state of data availability in October 2011.
Data on the trade of goods are also available in Eurostat’s Comext database. In the methodology applied for the statistics on the trading of goods between Member States and non-member countries (extra-EU trade), 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". So the partner will be the country of final destination of the goods.
Data on the trade of services are based on balance of payments statistics. The balance of payments records all economic transactions between a country (i.e. its residents) and foreign countries or international organisations (i.e. the non-residents of that country) during a given period. As part of the balance of payments, the current account records real resources and is subdivided into four basic components: goods, services, income and current transfers. The methodological framework used is that of the fifth edition of the International Monetary Fund Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5). The EU balance of payments is compiled by Eurostat in accordance with a methodology agreed with the European Central Bank (ECB).
Standard international trade classification (SITC) (Figures 2 and 3; Tables 3, 4 and 5): information on commodities exported and imported is presented according to the SITC classification at a general level. A full description is available through Eurostat’s classification server RAMON.
COMEXT data (trade of goods): please note that the sums of the individual SITC product categories are less than the totals due to confidentiality reasons.
In this article:
- 1 billion = 1 000 million
- ':' not available
This article presents data on the trade of goods and the trade of services reported by the EU with ECOWAS countries.
Further Eurostat information
- Trade between EU and West Africa, 2000-2010 - Statistics in focus 5/2012
- Balance of payments, see:
- Balance of payments - International transactions (t_bop)
- International trade in services, geographical breakdown (t_bop_its)
- European Union direct investments (t_bop_fdi)
- External trade, see:
- External trade data (t_ext)
- Balance of payments, see:
- Balance of payments - International transactions (bop)
- International trade in services, geographical breakdown (bop_its)
- European Union direct investments (bop_fdi)
- External trade, see:
- External trade data (ext)
- External trade detailed data (detail)
Methodology / Metadata
- Eurostat - RAMON (classification server)
- IMF Balance of Payments Manual - Fifth edition
- OECD Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment - Third edition