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Did you ever think that these products come from back home while you’re standing in the pay queue at Tescos (in the UK) with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a box of bananas under your arm? Yup, that’s right. Many grocery suppliers on foreign soil are big importers of South African fruit and wine. And that’s not the only South African exports the rest of the world is grappling for. South African gold and South African platinum are also sought after. What does this mean? It probably means our best products and most valuable raw materials are being more enjoyed in other countries than here, but it also means that South Africa is on the map. The rest of the world needs us (wink)! 

If this has got you thinking about what goes out of our country, it’s time to do a bit of investigative work. You might soon discover that South African products are all around you – even though you are very far from home!

South African exports

What does South Africa export?

So, the burning question that begs to be answered is: What does South Africa export? South Africa is in the business of exporting many things, from our fruit and veg to our metals and minerals. The interesting part is that South African platinum is one of the country’s biggest exports. South African gold is not too far behind! But chief exports also include the following:

  • Minerals

When it comes to minerals, SA is actually a top 10 producer in terms of coal, chromium and gold. As it turns out, there are huge untapped deposits of minerals in the country for all of these minerals and diamonds too! The biggest importers of South African minerals include China, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States, and Korea. 

  • Sugar

In 2019/2020, South Africa exported 104.3 thousand metric tons of sugar. According to World Bank, Italy imports 11,000,000 kg, USA imports 7,000 kg, the Netherlands imports 4,024,000 kg, Botswana imports 1,312,320 kg, and Namibia imports 33,799 kg. Next time you stir a teaspoon of sugar into your coffee or tea, think about that!

  • Wool

Not many people would guess it, but South Africa produces over 45 000 tons of raw wool and exports over 70% of it. SA is the second largest producer and exporter of wool in the world. The biggest importers of South African wool are – in order of biggest importer first – China, Czechia, Italy, Bulgaria, and India. 

  • Fruit

While we’re all into our fruit and veggies, a large portion of what we grow here in SA is sent out into the world for others to enjoy! In 2021, South Africa exported more than 4 million tons of fruit. In 2020, that figure was 11% less! Who buys our fruit? Well, the biggest importer of SA fruit is the Netherlands. The next biggest importer of South African fruit is the United Kingdom, followed by The United Arab Emirates, Russia, China and Bangladesh. So what fruit are we exporting? Mostly oranges, according to the states, but also lemons, apples, grapes, bananas and more.

  • Corn

South Africa produced the second largest corn crop in history in 2021 at 16.8 million tons! In general, SA exports about 3.5 million tons of corn! Corn is mostly exported to nearby countries, including Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and neighbouring countries.

  • Machinery and transport/mechanical equipment 

This makes up at least one-third of South Africa’s exports, but you’re not expected to know that. In SA, the average from R27 487 million in 1998 grew to R100869 million in 2021.

Why are exports important?

Exports are extremely important to the growth of modern economies. It provides a greater scope of growth for people and firms to sell their goods and encourages foreign trade within the country. In short, it brings in much-needed finance to a country. Unfortunately, while we’re on the exporting bandwagon, we’re not the biggest exporters of everything. We leave that game to China, the USA, Germany, and Japan.

Expert advice for SA expats at FinGlobal

One of the biggest exports from South Africa that hasn’t been touched on yet is our people. Other countries are importing skilled South Africans at a rapid rate because we are hardworking, integrate well and have something of value to bring to the table! Go team! And at FinGlobal, we’re the team ready to help those leaving the country do so as seamlessly as possible. FinGlobal is not your average financial emigration company. We have plenty of hands-on experience and do everything we can to ensure that new starts aren’t difficult or financially challenging for South Africans. So regardless of your background and where in the world you are going – we can assist you every step of the way. In fact, we have already been doing this for a decade and have a string of happy customers in our wake.

Our focus is on providing sound professional advice about FOREX, financial emigration, tax, retirement annuities, pensions and much more. If you’re looking for a professional consultant who can provide professional advice and guidance regarding your emigration, we are confident that we are the team to trust. With ten years behind us in the industry, we aim to ensure our clients get access to top-quality services and guidance that can’t be matched. For a candid chat about your immigration requirements, contact our team today! To contact our team, call us at +27 28 312 2764 or email us at info@finglobal.com, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.