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Russian Trade with Africa

Abstract

The article analyses dynamics and structure of Russian foreign trade with Africa in 2013-2017. It is revealed that the rapid growth of foreign trade with Russia was provided mainly by several North African countries. The study of three dozen African countries shows that the growth of trade turnover is accompanied by large fluctuations year by year in Russian exports – due to the unstable supply of militarytechnical products, as well as grain, fertilizers, ferrous metals, etc. (and almost every country had its own specifics). In 2017 Russia's exports to Africa were 5.6 times more than its imports from Africa. There are 6 countries in the top 20 suppliers from Africa to Russia that were not included in the top 20 buyers of Russian goods. For instance, Gabon's exports to Russia exceeded the counter flow of goods by almost 46 times, Zambia’s exports – by 33 times, Zimbabwe’s exports – by 20 times, etc. This means that Russian producers have not yet mastered the markets of many countries that are able to make a solvent demand for imported goods. This is partly due to the low competitiveness of Russian products or the lack of production of goods necessary for Africans in Russia, but also the inability to push suppliers from China, the United States, former European metropolises, and sometimes from neighboring African countries. The novelty of our research approach consists in the analysis of changes in Russia's trade relations with Africa in terms of direct and indirect effects of the “sanctions war” with Western countries and competitive pressure from China. In general, the inertia of Russian business is observed, which is only now beginning to consider the intensification of relations with Africa as an option to adapt to the “sanctions war” with the West. At the same time, the increase in the price competition of Russian industrial goods due to the devaluation of the ruble and the intensification of imports of African fruits and vegetables had a slight impact on the growth of Russian-African trade in comparison to the intensification of military-technical cooperation, the supply of Russian grain and even produced cars in Russia (including foreign brands).

Keywords:

Russian foreign trade; export; imports; trade in goods; trade in services; Africa; China; European Union.


Authors: Alexey Kuznetsov

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