Formal trade between Africa’s two economic powerhouses amounts to hundreds of millions of US dollars, yet the total is lower than one would expect given the size and importance of the two countries. According to Trading Economics, total imports from South Africa to Nigeria amounted to just over half a billion US dollars.
How much of this was taken up by the tire industry? It appears that Nigeria, although a fellow African state, is oriented more towards the northern hemisphere for many of the commodities is demanding.
Examining the State of Trade Between the South African & Nigerian Tire Trade Industries
Trading Economics further reveals that Nigerian imports of tires from South Africa amounted to about US$1.4 million in 2018. This was well up from the figures for 2016 and 2017 but also a major reduction from the 2014 high of about US$2.2 million. There was not any significant trade with any Western, tire-producing country as far as tires were concerned.
China undoubtedly has the lion’s share of the Nigerian tire market: in 2018, Nigeria purchased a total of US$140 million’s worth of Chinese tires. This was down from an incredible high of US$300 million in 2014.
South Africa trade with Nigeria is marred by a series of factors that range from logistical to competitive. As mentioned earlier, Nigeria is more oriented towards the northern hemisphere than to fellow African countries further south. At the same time, Nigeria and South Africa often take a competitive stance in relation to one another, which acts as a barrier to effective trade in some sectors.
While trade does continue for South African tire suppliers, we find ourselves increasingly up against the lower prices and more expansive transport networks of the People’s Republic of China.