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Did You Know? Top Destination Countries for Nigerian Exports

Let’s say you would like to start up a business in exports. Do you know what countries you should be selling your products to? Where are your wares in greatest demand?

If these questions bug you at the moment, you may find some of the answers here- especially if the countries in question happen to be some of Nigeria’s biggest trading partners. This article reveals what nations pay the most for Nigerian merchandise, and lets you know what kind of things they are buying off other exporters.

We will be touching on a range of commodities and manufactured goods, to give you an idea of what these big trade partners are interested in buying from Nigerian businesses.

First, here’s a side-note: there’s a lot of specific information about exports you could get from the relevant agencies that hold them if you know where to look. In case you would like to know where your biggest international markets could be, you could reach out to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). They could provide you with the insights you need.

Now we’ll dive into the list of countries which spend the most on Nigerian exports.

Top Export Destinations for Nigerian Products

The top destinations for Nigerian exports are presented in the order of the amount they spent to purchase products from our exporters. 

1. India


India is currently the top destination for Nigerian exports, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The NBS’ latest report on Nigeria’s international trade shows that goods worth a total of ₦475 billion were purchased from Nigeria by that country between January and March 2019.

While petroleum product exports accounted for a lion’s share of this value, India bought a lot of other materials from us.

For instance, it imported cashew nuts worth ₦1.2 billion and urea (used for making fertilizers among other things) valued at ₦2.5 billion from Nigeria. It also spent ₦305.6 million on leather brought in predominantly from northern Nigeria.

One of the most sought after items from these parts is sesame, which is now our biggest agricultural export. India handed us ₦6 billion to get some of it in the first three months of this year.

2. Spain


Europe has long been the most welcoming continent of Nigerian exports. It presently accounts for over 40% of the value we generate from international trade.

Countries like Spain have bolstered the numbers in this respect. That’s thanks to its appetite for fermented Nigerian cocoa beans, which it spent over ₦1 billion to import in the first quarter of this year.

The shoe and bag makers on the Iberian Peninsula seem to have some preference for our leather as well. They are finishing and shaping stylish fashion items from Nigerian leather, some of which was brought into Spain between January and March at the cost of ₦2.9 billion.

If you’re a rubber merchant, it may interest you to know that Spain is a big user of your stuff. They purchased rubber in primary form or in plates worth ₦534.8 billion within the period covered by the NBS report.

3. Netherlands


The Dutch are both major import and export trading partners for Nigeria, and they have been for quite a long time. In Q1 (the first quarter) of 2019, they imported goods valued at ₦454 billion from the country.

Some of that value was generated from sales of frozen shrimps and prawns, usually harvested from the far South (this brought in ₦1.18 billion for Nigeria). They also get cocoa beans, rubber, and cashew, valued at ₦5.7 billion, ₦383 million, and ₦33.25 million respectively.

Nigerians have also made over ₦8 billion from reselling light shipping vessels to the Netherlands, and ₦9.39 billion from shipping dredgers to the same country within the period covered by the NBS report.

4. South Africa


Africa’s second largest economy and Nigeria’s biggest economic rival on the continent also happens to be its largest trading partner in the region.

The majority of the trade between these two countries is accounted for by petroleum product sakes. But there are a lot of other things being exported from Nigeria to South Africa.

Data from 2017 indicates that South Africa is a great destination for Nigerian lead, artificial hair and flowers, beverages, and fruit products.

The value of Nigerian exports to South Africa in the first three months of 2019 totalled ₦325 billion.

5. France


France comes in fifth on the list of top export destinations for Nigerian products, with buys worth ₦302 billion for Q1; that’s about 6.67% of Nigeria’s overall exports.  

The most valuable exports to France are natural rubber, shrimps, and prawns, and re-exported floating vessels. Cocoa and fertilizers also do well on the French market.


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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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