African remains a prospective market for Vietnamese products though exports to this market declined 6.1% in the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, delegates agreed at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on July 9.
Despite this, exports to some African countries witnessed an increase in turnover as these markets were importing essential items such as rice, confectionery, cereal products, pepper, and cashew nuts during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Notably, Vietnamese rice exports to Senegal increased sharply by 26 times in terms of volume and 18.3 times in value. The rapid growth of this market helped Vietnam’s total rice export turnover to Africa rise by 88.6%, while exports of all other commodities plummeted.
The trade official advised businesses to maintain trade exchanges with their African partners, as many countries like Algeria, Senegal, Mali, Gambia and Niger have yet to determine when they resume air, sea and land routes amid complicated developments of the COVID-19 in several African countries.
Vietnamese businesses should primarily focus on exporting agricultural products and foodstuffs such as rice, coffee, pepper, cashew nuts, and confectionery in the near future, said Nhuan.
Last year, two-way trade value between Vietnam and Africa totaled US$7.4 billion, of which Vietnamese exports brought back US$3.4 billion, a year-on-year rise of 17%.
African countries are now boosting the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) despite the pandemic, paving the way for more Vietnamese products to enter this market of approximately 1.3 billion consumers.