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Wealthiest Countries In Africa


Wealthiest Countries In Africa by GDP

Wealth is the measure of the value of all the assets of worth owned by aperson, community, company, or country, according to investopedia. Essentially, wealth is the accumulation of scarce resources. Although there are several other indices for the measurement of wealth, we shall only consider the most commonly-used and best metric to quantify wealth. This is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) defined as the total value of all  services and goods produced in a nation’s economy over a set period of time.

Africa is a blessed continent endowed with a vast number of natural resources. Africa is the producer of most of the world’s raw materials. Natural resources abundant on the African continent include petroleum, gold, diamond, tin, phosphorus, limestone, bitumen, zinc, lead and natural gas, etc.

Generally, the largest drivers of the economy are agriculture, natural resources and trade with significant economic growth varying across countries and regions. Despite the abundant resources, the continent have been exploited for decades and several countries remain extremely poor. African countries are also among the top poorest countries in the world with a large chunk of the population living below poverty line and being the poverty capital of the world despite the abundant natural resources.

Despite the social and political challenges of the continent that have deterred the tangible growth of the continent in general, there is a bright promise that the continent would maximize its abundance of opportunities to grow in the coming years.

Richest Countries in Africa by GDP

Here is the list of the wealthiest African countries by GDP based on the latest annual report by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the World Bank:

1. Nigeria (GDP: $446.543 billion)

vCrude oil in Nigeria Economy


Nigeria is a middle-income mixed economy with expanding manufacturing, financial services, communication and technology sectors. With the nominal GDP of $ 446.543 billion, it is ranked top as the largest economy in Africa and 27th in the world. Agriculture (21.96 %), industry (23.65 %) and services (54.39 %) are the major contributors to the country’s GDP.

The West African Country has a population of about 200 million and is vastly blessed with abundance natural resources notably petroleum, natural gas, bitumen, limestone, tin, etc. Nigeria is Africa’s largest exporter of crude oil producing around 1.6 million barrels per day, according to OPEC. These petroleum exports make up only about 10 % of the total GDP and over 80 % of the export sector revenue.

Nigeria is also blessed with sufficient fertile land for agriculture which is responsible for over 20 % of the total GDP. The major exporting agricultural products include cocoa, rubber, cashew nuts, etc. According to World Bank, Nigeria’s GDP grew 7% year in year between 2010 and 2014, making it one of the fastest in Africa then. This growth has, however, slowed to 2 % in recent years due to the political instabilities and socioeconomic factors, and the shocks in oil production, growing population and unemployed population. Nigeria is expected to grow slowly and living condition to worsen and with the impacts of Covid-19, it is possible Nigeria won’t hit its growth target of 2 %.

2. South Africa (GDP: $358.839 billion)

South Africa-Johannesburg-Skyline02 (2).jpg

The economy of South Africa is the second largest in the continent and 35th in the world. South Africa has the population of 58, 775, 022, is an upper middle-income economy and is the most industrialized, technologically advanced and diversified economy on the African continent with the GDP of $358.839 billion. South Africa is one of the fast-developing countries in the world.

The economy is so diversified that South Africa does not rely on a single source of revenue. Mining, manufacturing, financial services, and tourism are the key contributors of the country’s GDP. South Africa is endowed with abundant natural resources including gold, diamond, platinum and iron ore and is one of the world’s largest exporter of the resources, especially gold and platinum.

South African’s GDP almost tripled to a peak at $400 billion in 2011, but has since declined to be roughly $358.839 billion in 2019. The country has faced recession after experiencing consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth rates and slowed developments, growing its GDP by 0.2 % in 2019.

The impact of Covid-19 on global economy could badly hit South Africa also. with its main iron ore trade partner, China, having closed factories. Covid-19 could play potential role on the country’s economy, not only suppressing industries such as tourism and travel, but also mining and personal services

3. Egypt (GDP: $302.256 billion)

Egypt's economy is proving remarkably resilient; despite the significant upheaval wrought by recent revolutions

Like Nigeria, Egypt is a lower-middle income economy. Notable contributors to the country’s GDP include agriculture (11.7 %), industry (34.3 %) and services (54 %). With the population of 100 000 000 and GDP of $302.256 billion, Egypt takes the third position as the largest economy in Africa, and 40th in the world.

The economy has stabilized over the last decade to experience positive economic growth. Real GDP growth reached 5.6% in 2019, up from 5.3 % in 2018, with a significant reduction in unemployment level. The Egyptian economy is diversified, not relying on only one source of revenue. The diversified sector include petroleum and natural gas, export, tourism, wholesale and retail trade, construction and real estate. Over 32.5 % of the population are living below poverty line and with the imminent global slowdown, Egypt could face some socioeconomic headwinds in years to come. The clothing and textile sector is the largest industrial employer.

4. Algeria (GDP: 172.781 billion)

Algeria Economy Contract, Ethiopia Weaker Economic Activity |

Algeria is the largest country in the continent by landmass. Its economy is driven by mainly oil and gas sector. Algeria is an upper-middle income economy with a population of over 42 million people. Based on the nominal GDP, Algeria is ranked 4th in Africa and 53rd in world. Major contributors by sector include agriculture (33.3 %), industry (39.3 %) and services (47.4 %). Algeria’s main export goods include petroleum, natural gas and petroleum products. Hydrocarbons (oil and gas) make up almost 70 % of the country’s revenue.

Political uncertainty and social unrest resulted in the declination of economic activity prior the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020. The oil sector has shown a lower average contraction in the first nine months of 2019. Algeria is facing a combined shock from halving oil price, public health crisis and the consequence of global economic disruption following Covid-19 outbreak. These could have detrimental impact on its economy

5. Morocco (GDP: $119.04 billion)

Ranked 58th in the world, Morocco has the 5th largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $119.04 billion. Morocco is a developing lower-middle income economy with a population of over 36 million. The economy of the country is stable and has experienced growth in a number of industries over the last decade. Morocco is the second richest non-oil producing country in Africa. The World Economic Forum placed Morocco as the first most competitive economy in North Africa, in its African competitiveness report 2014-2015. Major contributors to the GDP are agriculture (14.8 %), industry (29.1 %) and services (56 %). The country’s economy is driven by mining and manufacturing. Morocco is the third largest producer of phosphorus in the world and has benefited greatly from its diversified exports including electrical equipment, automobile parts, aircraft parts, inorganic chemicals, citrus fruits, fish, etc.

Moroccan real GDP growth slowed to 2.7% in 2019, missing the World Bank’s estimate of 2.9 % owing to internal crisis.

6. Kenya (GDP: $99.246 billion)

Next on our list of wealthiest country in Africa is Kenya with the GDP of $99.246 billion. Kenya is the wealthiest country in Southeast and Central Africa and its economy emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, growing by 5.7 % in 2019. This growth can easily be traced to certain factors such as positive investor confidence, a stable political climate and service sector, a good macroeconomic environment, and a clear business agenda.

As of 2020, Kenya had the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, coming behind Nigeria and South Africa. Major industries include agriculture, energy, fishing, mining, manufacturing, tourism. Kenya is a developing lower-middle income economy and is ranked 61st in the world.

Major contributors to Kenya’s GDP by sectors include agriculture (34.5 %), industry (17.8 %) and services (47.5 %). The main agricultural products are coffee, tea, maize. Tourism, financial services and technology also contribute to the country’s foreign exchange.

7. Angola (GDP:$91.527 billion)

Going by the extensive oil and gas, diamonds, hydroelectric potential and rich agricultural land, Angola is supposed to come much higher than this on the list. However, Angola remains poor, and a third of the population relies on subsistence farming. Angolan economy remains largely influenced by the effects of four decades of conflict in the last part of the 20th century.

After the Civil War, government prioritized the repair and improvement of infrastructure and strengthening of politics and social institution. During the first decade of the 21st century, Angola was one of the fastest growing economy in the world, with reported annual average GDP of 11.1% from 2001-2010, thanks to high international oil prices and rising oil production. The country’s economy remains heavily dependent on oil, and in 2017, oil accounted for over 90 % of exports by value and 64 % of government revenue, one third of the country’s GDP.

Major contributors to the country’s GDP by sectors are agriculture (10.2 %), industry (61.4 %) and services (28.4 %). Other exports include diamonds, cotton, timber, fish and fish products.

8. Ethiopia (GDP: $91.166 billion)

Ethiopian economy is one of the fastest in the world and has experienced steady growth between 2008-2018. With the GDP of $91.166 billion, Ethiopia takes the number eight spot in the continent and 63rd in the world. The economy is mixed and transition with a large public sector and an underdeveloped private sector. The government is in the process of privatizing many of the state-owned business. However, certain sectors such as telecommunication, financial and insurance services, air and land transportation services, and retail are considered as strategic sectors and are expected to remain under government control for the foreseeable future.

Ethiopia is the highest producer of coffee and honey in the continent and these products make up a large chunk of the country’s foreign exchange. Major drivers of the country’s economy are agriculture, construction, manufacturing, tourism, resources and energy. contributors to the GDP are agriculture (34.8 %), industry (21.6 %) and services (43.6 %). Agriculture accounts for about 60 % of exports and more than 80 % of total employment

Despite the year-on-year average economic growth of 9.9 % for a decade  since 2008, high consumer inflation, sociopolitical instability and an under-developing private sector are issues to be tackled.

9. Ghana (GDP: $67.077 billion)

Ghana is one of the richest countries with abundant natural resources and a well diversified economy. With the GDP of  $67.077 billion,Ghana is the ninth wealthiest country in Africa. Ghana is a developing lower-middle income economy and in 2011, it became the fastest growing economy in the world owing to its GDP rebasement.

Ghana’s domestic economy revolves around services, which accounts for over 50 % of the GDP and employs 28 % of the workforce. Ghana’s major exports are gold and petroleum, and is Africa’s second largest producer of gold after South Africa. Ghana is also the continent’s second largest producer of cocoa after Ivory Coast.

Major contributors to the GDP by sector are agriculture (18.3 %), industry (24 %) and services (57.2 %). The nation has attracted foreign investors due to its overall positive business environment and in the last two years, has experienced economic growth of just over 6 %. Gold and petroleum export together make up 50 % of the country’s foreign exchange.

10. Tanzania (GDP: $62.224 billion)

Tanzania is 10th on our list of wealthiest countries in Africa with a GDP of $62.224 billion. Tanzania is a lower middle mixed income economy and is home to the famous Mount Kilimanjaro and some of the continent’s most famous national parks. The economy is largely dependent on agriculture, which is the highest employing sector, accounting for about half of the employed workforce.

Major contributors to the country’s GDP include agriculture (23.4 %), industry (28.6 %) and services (47.6 %). Industries include mining, manufacturing, construction, electricity, natural gas and water supply. Tanzania’s main exports include gold, coffee, cashew and cotton. The country has experienced 5.6 % growth rate in 2019 due to high government investment in rail line. Although the poverty rate has decreased in the last few years, the absolute number of citizens in poverty has remained unchanged.

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