The deputy official of Iran and Africa Business Club said: Despite the 8% growth of trade between Iran and the African continent in the 11 months of this year, our trade with ECOWAS members has decreased, and with the presence of the leaders and ministers of these 15 countries in Iran and the political will of the parties can witness a commercial boom with these countries in West Africa.
Seyed Ruhollah Latifi, deputy official of the Iran and Africa Business Club, said on the eve of the arrival of ECOWAS member officials in Tehran: With attention to African countries in the 13th government, the presence of leaders and ministers of ECOWAS members to Tehran, who will have meetings regarding the development of relations with our country from tomorrow. It shows the political will of these countries to strengthen economic and commercial relations with our country despite all the restrictions.
He added: The economic community of West African countries, which is called ECOWAS. Basically, it is an economic organization that was formed to facilitate trade between members, including a single currency and the elimination of customs tariffs. And getting closer to this economic organization and its members can lead to the prosperity of trade with these countries, which includes a population of 400 million people.
The spokesperson of the International Relations and Trade Development Commission of Iran’s Chamber of Mining Industry said: In the eleven months of this year, two million and 465 thousand tons of goods worth one billion and 239 million dollars were exchanged between Iran and Africa, of which 602 thousand and 654 tons were worth 336 million dollars and 412 thousand dollars was related to ECOWAS countries.
Latifi added: Out of Iran’s total trade with Africa, 2 million 379 thousand tons of goods worth 1 billion 155 million 532 thousand dollars were exported to 45 countries out of 55 African countries. which was accompanied by a 6% growth compared to the same period, but the share of our exports to the ECOWAS countries (West Africa) was 596 thousand 344 tons of goods worth 327 million 394 thousand dollars. Despite the growth of our country’s exports to the whole of Africa, we saw a 34% decrease in this region.
He explained about the export destinations of Iranian goods to Africa: among the 45 export destinations of Iran in the 11 months of this year to Africa. South Africa bought $304 million, Mozambique $189 million, Ghana $156 million, Sudan $142 million, and Nigeria $129 million. And respectively, the first five destinations of Iranian goods were to the African continent, where two countries, Ghana and Nigeria, are ECOWAS members.
Regarding imports from African countries, Latifi said: 22 African countries sold goods to Iran in 11 months of this year. A total of 85,851 tons of goods worth 83.5 million dollars were purchased from these countries. Out of this amount, only two countries, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, which are members of ECOWAS, sold goods to our country with 4,310 tons’ worth of 9,180,000 dollars.
He added: Our country’s imports from African countries have increased by 61% in 11 months of this year compared to the same period, and the growth of imports from ECOWAS countries has also been 28%. Tanzania with 19.6 million dollars, Kenya with 17 million dollars, South Africa with 13.7 million dollars, Ghana with 9 million dollars and Seychelles with 7.1 million dollars were the first five countries selling goods to Iran among African countries, which Ghana will also be counted as a member of ECOWAS.
The deputy official of Iran and Africa Merchants Club said: We should be more active with the opportunity to enter ECOWAS due to the single currency, Muslim members and low customs tariffs with the political will of the countries. The private sector of countries, appropriate introduction of goods, solving transportation problems and taking advantage of the opportunity of the single currency of these countries or clearing goods, as experience has shown. West Africa with more than 27% of Africa’s population and having suitable agriculture and oil resources can be suitable partners and a desirable target market for our country.
It should be noted that the countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Biao, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Which from the 400 million population of this region, more than half of it belongs to Nigeria with about 220 million people.