Nigeria leads Africa’s Frozen Whole Fish Market with $488M of Imports in 2018

Nigeria leads Africa’s Frozen Whole Fish Market with $488M of Imports in 2018
  • Global Fish and Seafood Market Is Expected to Reach USD 206.89 Billion by 2026 
  • The value of the frozen whole fish market in Africa expanded markedly to $5B in 2018
  • In 2018, approx. 1.5M tonnes of frozen whole fish were exportedin Africa; increasing by 4.4% against the previous year.
  • In value terms, frozen whole fish exports went up modestly to $1.9B in 2018.
  • In value terms, the largest frozen whole fish importing markets in Africa were Nigeria ($488M), Cameroon ($467M) and Egypt ($290M)
  • Nigeria is the fourth largest importer of fish in the world, following China, Japan and the United States. 
  • The most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Ghana

Here is a summary of the report’s key findings by  IndexBox

The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +7.3% over the period from 2013 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2017 when exports increased by 11% against the previous year.

In value terms, frozen whole fish exports went up modestly to $1.9B in 2018. The total export value peaked in 2018 and is likely to see steady growth shortly.

Exports by Country

Namibia (393K tonnes), Mauritania (287K tonnes), Morocco (284K tonnes), and Senegal (209K tonnes) represented roughly 76% of total exports of frozen whole fish in 2018. Seychelles (124K tonnes) occupied an 8% share (based on tonnes) of total exports, which put it in second place, followed by Angola (4.7%). South Africa (47K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

From 2013 to 2018, the biggest increases were in Seychelles, while shipments for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest frozen whole fish supplying countries in Africa were Mauritania ($302M), Morocco ($286M), and Namibia ($278M), together comprising 46% of total exports. Seychelles, Senegal, South Africa, and Angola lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 37%.

Export Prices by Country

The frozen whole fish export price in Africa stood at $1,219 per tonne in 2018, approximately reflecting the previous year.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was South Africa ($2,742 per tonne), while Namibia ($708 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by South Africa, while the other leaders experienced mixed trends in the export price figures.

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Imports in Africa

In 2018, approx. 2.7M tonnes of frozen whole fish were imported in Africa; lowering by -1.7% against 2017.

In value terms, frozen whole fish imports went down modestly to $3B IndexBox estimates in 2018. The total import value hit record highs at $3B in 2014; afterward, it flattened through to 2018.

Imports by Country

The purchases of the four major importers of frozen whole fish, namely Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, and Egypt, represented more than half of total imports.

It was distantly followed by South Africa (163K tonnes), Ghana (157K tonnes) and Mauritius (142K tonnes), together with achieving a 17% share of total imports. Benin (97K tonnes), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (96K tonnes), and Zambia (96K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

From 2013 to 2018, Benin scored high, while purchases for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, top markets in Africa are; Nigeria ($488M), Cameroon ($467M), and Egypt ($290M), with a combined 42% share of total imports. Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritius, Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, Benin and the Democratic Republic of the Congo trailed behind, increasing shares to a further 39%.

Import Prices by Country

The frozen whole fish import price in Africa stood at $1,088 per tonne in 2018, surging by 4.8% against the previous year.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Mauritius ($1,810 per tonne), while Nigeria ($839 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Ghana reported steady growth in price from 2013 to 2018 respectively.

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What's driving the Fish Market

A surge in market growth is as a result of a rise in consciousness about the health benefits associated with seafood.

By importing such a massive amount of fish annually, Nigeria loses foreign exchange and continues to harm her economy. These losses also stunt the growth and development of trade in local fish industries.