2022 Wesgro research report highlights positive trend in African boat market

With Covid and corruption hogging the headlines in recent months, some important sector news went largely unnoticed earlier this year – a positive assessment of trade into Africa over the past decade.

The overall export value of ships, boats and other floating structures from South Africa rose from R1,21-billion in 2011 to R2,87-billion in 2020, according to a research paper compiled by trade and investment agency Wesgro.  A notable aspect of this growth was an increase in trade into sub-Saharan Africa, with significant increases seen in relation to most of South Africa’s neighbouring countries.

“It is worth mentioning that Africa as a continent has witnessed a considerable growth in the boat manufacturing industry in recent years,” the report notes. “Government (e.g., navy, patrol, rescue boats, etc.), tourism (charter), fishing, and trade (moving cargo along the Congo River) are growing areas within the African boat market. The South African government, as a member of various African trade bodies, is strategically positioned to support collaboration between the country’s boat industry and that of other African markets. Through the implementation of a single currency and fintech, along with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), business between South Africa and member African states has been made easier, facilitating the smooth flow of goods and services,” the report notes.

South African exports to Namibia shot up to R463.1 million in 2019 compared with below R50m for most trading years since 2011. However due to Covid-19 lockdowns exports plummeted to just R10.89m  in 2020.

Conversely exports of ships, boats and other floating materials to Mozambique shot up in 2020, reaching R191.39 million compared with just R89.9 million in 2011. “Likewise, South Africa’s imports of ships, boats and other floating materials from Mozambique was valued at ZAR6.02m in 2020, significantly higher than ZAR0.10m recorded in 2011,” the report found.

Exports to Tanzania also shot up, from R8.28 million in 2019 to R34.62 million in 2020.

Exports to Mauritius recorded similar growth, reaching an all-time high of R21.56m in 2020 compared with R3.78m in 2019.

Overall the Western Cape’s total receipts from exporting ships, boats and other floating material soared to R2,35-billion in 2020, from R0.98 bn in 2011.

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