Exports among developing countries remain centred in Asia while Africa's participation grows

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The share of South-South trade in total world exports has doubled over the last 20 years, to over 25 per cent. Fuels and manufactured goods now account for roughly 25 per cent and 58 per cent of South-South trade, respectively, according to UNCTAD handbook of Statistics 2013. UNCTAD is the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

The Handbook says total developing economies’ exports now account for 45 per cent of the world total, with half of the increase in global exports between 1995 and 2012 accounted for by developing countries.

World merchandise exports have more than tripled over the last two decades and reached US$18.3 billion in 2012, with a quarter of that trade comprising exports among developing countries – so-called "South-South" trade — which reached a record $4.7 billion.

The Handbook helps to document that the South-South trend has been led by developing Asia, followed by developing America. Intra-regional trade within developing Asia amounted to $3.5 billion in 2012. The Handbook also reports that the growth of the South-South commerce was higher in developing Africa between 1995 and 2012 than in the developing regions of Asia and America. Moreover, South-South trade from least developed countries (LDCs) in Africa climbed significantly in value over the figure for 1995. African LDCs have increasingly benefited from commercial exchanges with developing Asia.

China’s exports to other developing countries, recorded at $970 million last year, alone represent more than 20 per cent of developing countries’ intra-trade. Apart from China and major petroleum and gas exporters, Viet Nam, Egypt, India, Turkey, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile are among the economies that have expanded the most in the South-South trade during last two decades.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’48″

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