African Technology Exports Index (ATEI) – Beta Version


We present a horizontal evolution of exports of machinery and electronics over since 2009 by Southern African countries with data derived from the United Nations. This allows for the development of an index, generated from determining the average share of technology products in individual countries’ total exports and comparing them to a WTO average.


We are interested in measuring the direction of technological sophistication of Southern African exports individually and collectively. To do so we conduct the following procedure. We break up the post-Great Recession period into two halves in order to determine the pattern of growth for the first five years and the latter five-year period. Growth will be indicated by the second half having a higher growth than the first for each country and the region.

This is achieved by pulling raw data of every country’s exports from the United Nations and isolating technology-related products in order to determine the share of technology-related exports in percentages. This is followed by an aggregation of the first five years (2009 to 2014) and the second (2014 to 2019). This allows us to rank the countries compared to each other and the WTO average.

Index Trends

2009-2014 AVERAGES
2015-2019 AVERAGES

From the foregoing data, it is evident that a total of 9 countries have been seeing decline in the share of technology in their exports since 2014, while 8 have been seeing this proportion increase over the same duration.

Overall, only five countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Mauritius, Seychelles and Namibia, respectively) score higher than the regional average for the 2015-19 period. This means 13 countries have technological exports forming less than 4% of their total exports. The highest performer, South Africa (at 20.8%), in turn still scored lower than the WTO average (34.36%), with a 13.55% difference.