Ghana’s export values marginally exceed imports last year

Ghana’s export values marginally exceed imports last year

Ghana's exports in the year 2023 marginally exceeded imports for the same period. 


While exports value amounted to GH¢186.0 billion, imports at the same time stood at GH¢180.7 billion, marking a reversal from 2022 where imports surpassed exports.

There was another departure from the trend in the past because in contrast to the trade deficit of GH¢4.8 billion experienced in 2022, Ghana posted a surplus of GH¢5.3 billion in 2023.

According to the Ghana Trade Report for the year in review, the total trade flow was highest in November (GH¢37.4 billion) and December (GH¢37.1 billion), mainly due to exports being at least GH¢2 billion higher in these months compared to the others.

The value of exports exceeded that of imports by GH¢4.0 billion in November, the largest variation recorded in the year according to the report.

However, although a trade surplus was recorded in 2023, imports surpassed exports in six of the months.

Imports per countries

Ghana imported from 214 countries across the world but was able to export to 159 in 2023. This is compared to 208 and 160 respectively in 2022.

Overall, three products accounted for 80.6% of all exports in 2023. These are gold (GH¢84.4 billion), mineral fuels and oils (GH¢44.6 billion), and cocoa beans and products (GH¢20.9 billion), compared to 80.5% in 2022.

The top imported commodity was mineral fuels and oil, amounting to GH¢58.0 billion, representing almost one-third (32.1%) of the total imports in 2023 and represents an increase of 5.3 percentage points compared to 2022.

Asia and Europe were Ghana’s main trading partners for both exports and imports in 2022 as well as in 2023 according to the report. 

For instance, in 2023 there was a significant increase in the share of trade with Asia. For exports, Asia’s share has increased by 2.1 percentage points, and for imports by 4.1 percentage points, thereby surpassing Europe as the main continent of origin for imports.

Export values exceed imports for Africa, North America, and South America, with Ghana exporting about twice as much to other African countries than it imports from them in both 2022 and 2023.

The report identified that, the type of products that are exported to different continents has not changed much from 2022 to 2023. 

For instance, in 2023 gold was the main export product to Europe (51.9%), Asia (56.2%) and Africa (47.5%), while mineral fuels and oils dominated exports to North America (72.9%).

Export per continent by country

Interestingly, the United Arab Emirates (33.1%), China (26.6%) and India (22.8%) accounted for over 80.0% of exports to Asia in 2023.

For Europe, Africa, North America and South America, a single country was the destination of more than half of Ghana’s exports. 

These countries are Switzerland (51.9%), South Africa (56.3%), Canada (51.8%), and Brazil (98.3%).

Export per commodity type by country

Three countries stood as the destination for over 80.0%  of gold exports. Switzerland  had 40.2%, the United Arab Emirates, 21.8%, while South Africa had 21.7%.

Mineral fuels and oils exports went primarily to China which got 23.0%, Canada 20.1%, Brazil 12.3%, while Italy got 11.0%.

More than half (55.6%) of cocoa beans and products were exported to four countries: Netherlands (27.9%), United States of America (12.8%), Malaysia (7.9%) and Belgium (7.0%).


Switzerland, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and China stood as the key export destinations for Ghana, with each receiving exports exceeding GH¢15 billion, which makes up more than a third of the total value of exports in 2023 according to the report.

Top 5 export countries by commodity type

For the top five export countries by commodity type, Switzerland, South Africa, and India were in the top five export destinations for both 2022 and 2023, with gold making up over 80.0% of the exports to these countries in both years.

The report identified United Arab Emirates as a new entrant to the export destinations in the year under review, again with gold as its main commodity (97.3%).

China howver remained in the top five, but the share of mineral fuels and oils decreased from 92.3% to 67.8%, having been replaced by 29.1% of other products.


Three commodities accounted for more than three-quarters (77.3%) of all exports from Ghana. The export of gold bullion was GH¢84.1 billion, over two-fifth of all exports, followed by crude petroleum oils (GH¢43.9 billion), and cocoa beans and cocoa paste (GH¢15.7 billion).

Import specifics

Mineral fuels and oils were the top imported commodities from Europe, comprising more than half of the total imports, with shares of 57.8% in 2023 and 55.6% in 2022.

The report noticed that, for all other continents, a diverse range of commodities were imported.

From Asia, the main imports, apart from those classified as other products, included electrical equipment (18.4%) and mineral fuels and oils (16.6%). 


The import of mineral fuels and oils from Asia marked a change in 2023 compared to 2022. 

China at 45.4%, India (15.6%), and the United Arab Emirates (9.2%) were the primary sources of imports from Asia, accounting for a combined 70.2% of the total imports from the continent.

Three countries, namely the Netherlands (25.8%), the Russian Federation (17.2%), and Belgium (12.4%), collectively contributed to over half (55.4%) of the imports from Europe.

“Nearly one-fifth (19.2%) of the total imports from African countries came from South Africa, with Egypt (14.8%) also being significant contributors. 

This was followed by Ghana’s three neighbouring countries, Burkina Faso (12.9%), Togo (10.5%), and Côte d’Ivoire (8.8%). 

Share of value of trade by mode of transport

In 2023, sea transport constituted 89.1% of the total value of imports, with air transport representing the smallest share at 4.7%.

Regarding exports, air transport and sea transport each accounted for nearly half of the total value, with air transport making up 46.3% and sea transport 46.1%.

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...