Nigeria the number one destination for Irish exports out to Africa
The majority of Irish exports to Africa went to Nigeria in September this year.
An EU-Africa summit takes place in the Ivory Coast this week. The crisis at home means Taoiseach Leo Varadkar didn't go, but attendees included French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Boosting trade, security and investment were all on the agenda.
Irish trade with Africa is increasing. Businesses here sent €23m in exports to Nigeria during the month, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Nigeria was followed by South Africa, which accounted for €21m of Irish exports in September, and Algeria (€8.9m).
Exports include food and drink, software and engineering. In 2013 there were approximately 70 Enterprise Ireland clients exporting to Nigeria alone.
On the reverse side, Irish imports from Africa during the month of September were largely from Nigeria, which accounted for €32m of Irish imports from Africa.
Guinea was next, with €11m of imports coming from the west African country.
South Africa completed the top three, accounting for €9.3m worth of imports i in September. Commodities imported from Africa include oil and cocoa.
Meanwhile, trade between Europe and Africa has decreased slightly over the last ten years. In 2006, Africa accounted for 8.4pc of European Union trade and was the bloc's third main trading partner.
However, last year Africa was the fourth most important trading partner behind the United States, China and Switzerland, accounting for 7.5pc of total extra-EU trade in goods in 2016.
Over this 10-year time period, the share of Africa in extra-EU imports fell from 8.7pc in 2006 to 6.7pc in 2016, while its share in exports remained roughly stable at around 8pc, according to data from Eurostat.
Putting a monetary value on the trade, imports to Europe from Africa were worth €115.1bn last year, while exports last year from the EU to Africa were worth approximately €142.8bn.
Between 2006 and 2014 the EU trade balance with Africa was in deficit and it is only in the past two years that the balance has turned into a surplus for the EU.
Looking at individual African countries, the highest surpluses were recorded with Egypt and Morocco last year.
The largest EU trade deficits in Africa were recorded with the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Botswana - each with a deficit of about €2bn.
Six African countries account for 70pc of the EU trade with Africa last year.
South Africa was the EU's leading trading partner, accounting for 17pc, or €44.9bn, of total EU trade in goods with Africa last year.
Algeria was next with €36.7bn, or 14pc, of total EU trade in goods with Africa last year, while Morocco completed the top three.
Egypt, Tunisia and Nigeria made up the remainder of the six.
Of EU members, France is the leading partner for Africa, with a total trade amounting to €44.1bn in 2016, or 17pc, of total EU trade with Africa.
It was followed by Germany with €38.4bn, or 15pc, of total EU trade with Africa, with Spain completing the top three.