Iran plans to nearly double exports to Africa in 3 years
Iran has earmarked a special fund to strengthen exports to African countries as it seeks to nearly double shipments to the region to $1.1 billion a year by March 2024.
A senior official at Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) said on Saturday that the authority had dedicated 200 million euros as guarantees and bonuses to support exports to Africa.
Farzad Piltan, who serves as head of TPO’s Arab and African office, said that Iran’s exports to Africa declined by a fourth in the 11 months to February 18 compared to the similar period over 2019-2020 to stand at $478 million, while imports were stable at nearly $90 million over the same period.
Piltan said the decline was mainly due to restrictions imposed on trade because of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that Africa’s total imports from other parts of the world had dropped by over 80 percent to around $100 billion year on year in late 2020.
The official said that Iran could have easily met a target of $700 million in exports to African countries in the calendar year to March this year if the pandemic had not caused closures at borders and trade gateways.
Ghana was the top customer of Iranian goods in the 11 months to late February as the West African country took delivery of $142 million worth of shipments from Iran. Algeria came second at $109 million followed by Kenya at $41 million, according to TPO figures.
Piltan said Iran has prepared a three-year plan to reach a target of $1.1 billion in exports to Africa, saying exports over 2021-2022 should increase by nearly a half to reach $700 million.
Iran has increasingly relied on non-oil exports as a major source of earning hard currency at a time the country has been grappling with lower oil sales and the economic woes of the pandemic.