Netherlands Overtakes India as Nigeria’s Second Largest Trade Partner in 2023

In a significant shift in Nigeria’s foreign economic engagements, the Netherlands has surpassed India to become the country’s second-largest trade partner in 2023, according to the latest foreign trade statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigeria’s total foreign trade in 2023 amounted to N71.8 trillion, with 14 major trading partners contributing N45.4 trillion to the total trade volume. While trade within Africa experienced a slight decline from pre-COVID levels, exports to African countries remained resilient, suggesting a drop in imports.

China retained its position as Nigeria’s primary trade partner, with a historic peak trade volume of N7.49 trillion in 2023, underscoring its dominant role in the Nigerian market driven by significant investments in infrastructure and trade agreements.

However, the spotlight is on the Netherlands, which witnessed a remarkable surge in trade volume with Nigeria, reaching N6.32 trillion in 2023, signaling a deepening economic connection between the two countries.

Meanwhile, India, historically a major trade partner for Nigeria, recorded a trade volume of N5.9 trillion in 2023, showing a modest increase from the previous year but not sufficient to maintain its position above the Netherlands in the trade rankings.

A closer examination reveals that while the Netherlands experienced a 21% year-on-year increase in trade volume, India’s growth was marginal at 4%. Adjusting for the impact of naira devaluation, India’s trade volume in 2023 may be similar or lower compared to the previous year.

The trajectory of trade volumes between India and the Netherlands tells an intriguing story. Both countries experienced declines in 2020 due to the global economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while India’s recovery initially outpaced the Netherlands’, the latter exhibited robust growth from 2022 onwards, ultimately surpassing India in 2023.

Further analysis reveals that India overtook the Netherlands as Nigeria’s second import trade partner, with Nigeria importing N2.89 trillion worth of goods from India in 2023, compared to N1.81 trillion from the Netherlands. However, Nigeria’s exports to the Netherlands nearly doubled, reaching N4.52 trillion in 2023, while exports to India experienced a slight decline.

Overall, the shifting dynamics in Nigeria’s trade relationships underscore the evolving nature of its foreign economic engagements and the increasing importance of strategic partnerships with countries like the Netherlands in driving economic growth and development.

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