Tea, a centuries-old beverage enjoyed by people worldwide, has also become a noteworthy player in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) international trade. In 2021, the DRC showcased its active engagement in the global tea market, serving as both an exporter and an importer of this aromatic and beloved product.
The DRC’s Tea Exports
In 2021, the DRC’s tea exports reached a value of $20.1 thousand, positioning the country as the 136th largest tea exporter globally. While tea may not have been the top export commodity for the DRC, it still held a significant position, ranking as the 245th most exported product from the country. The DRC’s tea found its way to various destinations, contributing to the nation’s active participation in the global tea market.
Among the primary destinations for the DRC’s tea exports were France, Angola, Belgium, the Netherlands, and South Africa. France emerged as the leading recipient, importing tea worth $13.3 thousand from the DRC. Angola followed closely behind with $5.59 thousand, while Belgium, the Netherlands, and South Africa also played vital roles, importing tea valued at $833, $297, and $31, respectively.
One intriguing aspect of the DRC’s tea export market was the notable growth observed in certain destinations between 2020 and 2021. France, Angola, and Belgium were the fastest-growing export markets for the DRC during this period. France, in particular, displayed remarkable growth with an increase of $5.28 thousand in tea imports from the DRC. Angola followed suit with $4.09 thousand, while Belgium showed promising growth with $405 in additional tea imports.
The DRC’s Tea Imports
In contrast to its tea exports, the DRC’s tea imports were substantial in 2021, amounting to a staggering $24.4 million. This positioned the country as the 57th largest tea importer in the world that year, and tea ranked as the 102nd most imported product in the DRC. The demand for tea within the country was evident, as the DRC relied significantly on imports to satisfy domestic consumption.
Kenya, a major tea producer, emerged as the primary source of tea imports for the DRC, accounting for the majority of the import value. In 2021, the DRC imported tea worth an impressive $23.7 million from Kenya. France followed as a distant second, supplying $202 thousand, while South Africa, Belgium, and India also played significant roles in the tea import market, contributing $194 thousand, $65.7 thousand, and $63.6 thousand, respectively.
Similar to the export market, the DRC’s tea imports also experienced remarkable growth in specific markets between 2020 and 2021. Kenya, South Africa, and France were the fastest-growing import markets for tea in the DRC during this period. Notably, the DRC witnessed a substantial increase of $23.7 million in tea imports from Kenya, followed by South Africa with $58.4 thousand, and France with $48.6 thousand.
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Tea continues to gain importance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s international trade, with the country actively participating as both an exporter and importer. While the DRC exports tea to various countries, it relies significantly on imports to meet the domestic demand for this beloved beverage.
Kenya, as a major tea-producing nation, plays a pivotal role in the DRC’s tea trade, serving as the primary source of imports. Additionally, countries like France and South Africa have also emerged as vital partners for both the DRC’s tea exports and imports.
As the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to engage in the global tea market, fostering strategic trade relationships and monitoring market trends will be crucial to leverage its position as a tea trader. With proper planning and sustained efforts, the DRC can navigate the tea trade landscape effectively, promoting economic growth and sharing the joy of tea with its people and the world.