World trade is complex by nature, so it is not always that easy to visualise what the numbers really look like.
Here however is a very useful interactive graphic of the world’s $15 trillion worth of global trade. Each dot in this graphic is worth $100 million of exports.
Here’s what South Africa looks like from a trade density perspective as well as who our major trading partners are. You’ll note that besides Zimbabwe, we generally ignore the rest of SSA.
What is the most notable for us, is if you compare South America with Africa – you can clearly see how equally active most South American countries are when it come to trade; in comparison to the very unequal distribution of trade in Africa. Projects like Operation Phakisa are meant to be addressing this imbalance, but there is clearly still a long way to go.
Clearly there are lots of challenges when it comes to economic complexity, as well as remarkable opportunities if the region can just get some kind of co-operation going.