Top 10 African Countries with the Biggest Economy – See their Contrasting GDP Per Capita


The African continent has always been referred to as “The Sleeping Giant.” Such a terminology usually points at the great potential Africa has. It is well endowed with resources of all kinds. This applies to natural as well as human resources. In the recent past, African economies have been flourishing with the following countries making up the list of the top 10 largest economies in Africa.

10. Tanzania

GDP – $49 billion

Per Capita – $720

Tanzania completes the list of the top ten economies in the African continent with a GDP of $49 billion. As of 2014, Tanzania’s gross domestic product (GDP) was an estimated $43.8 billion, or $86.4 billion on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. Tanzania is a middle-power country, with a per capita GDP of $1,813 (PPP) which was 32% below the average of $2,673 for the 45 sub-Saharan African countries[87] and ranked 23rd among those countries. From 2009 through 2013, Tanzania’s per capita GDP (based on constant local currency) grew at an average of 3.5% per year. Tanzania’s population of 47.4 million (2014) is highly diverse, composed of numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups.

9. Ethiopia

GDP – $55 billion

Per Capita – $859

About three decades ago, the whole world came in aid of Ethiopia. The country was going through a dreadful famine. Three decades down the lane, Ethiopia is emerging as one of the top economies in the region. With a GDP of $55 billion dollars, Ethiopia holds the 9th slot. Its economy mainly depends on agriculture. It is the second largest producer of maize in the continent. Coffee and horticulture (flowers) have been doing quite well recently.


8. Sudan

GDP – $64 billion

Per Capita – $2,417

Until the mid 2008, Sudan was infamous for civil wars. This greatly devastated the country. However, after 2008 the country’s economy sprang back to action. As of 2014, the Eastern Africa country had a GDP of $64 billion. Its main economic activities are agriculture, gold and petroleum mining. It is the 3rd largest producer of sesame in the world. Other products include cotton, coffee, cotton seed, wheat, sugarcane, tobacco, peanuts and more.

7. Libya

GDP – $ 67 billion

Per Capita – $11,354

Libya has an estimated GDP of $ 67 billion dollars. The main economy of the country is petroleum mining. It has among the largest oil reserves in the entire world. Better world prices have certainly favoured the desert country in the recent past. Libya also has some substantial deposits of steel ore.

Interestingly, despite Morroco’s position here, it is the country that has the highest per capita income in this list. This could be attributed to her small population side

Also see: 10 African Minerals of Highest Economic Value


6. Morocco

GDP – $107 billion

Per Capita – $5,765

The Kingdom of Morocco has for many decades featured among the top economies in the continent. This has largely been attributed to good policies and stable political structures. Its annual GDP in 2014 is valued at $ 105 billion dollars. The main economic activities include fishing, agriculture, and mining. Morocco is among the top producers of cannabis. It also has a good reserve of lead, phosphates, and silver.

5. Angola

GDP – $131 billion

Per Capita – $2,829

A few years back, Angola was always in the news for civil wars and political unrest. However, it seems like the 25 year war has finally ceded to peace. The once war-torn country overtook the Kingdom of Morocco to become the fifth largest economy in Africa. Its GDP is valued at $ 131billion dollars. Its main economic activities are mining of diamonds and petroleum oil % gas.

Largest Economies In Africa

4. Algeria

GDP – $214 billion

Per Capita – $7, 095

Algeria has always been a regional rival to Egypt. The GDP of the North African country is estimated to be $ 214billion. The main economic activities driving the country comprise of agriculture, fishing and mining. The country is well gifted with quite a number of valuable minerals. They include iron, copper, zinc, mercury, lignite, calamine, antimony and phosphate. Algeria was able to make the 3rd position, based on her Per Capita income which is $7, 095; a step upward from her GDP position.

3. Egypt

GDP – $292 billion

Per Capita – $4,282

Egypt famously known as “the jewel of the Nile” was convincingly placed at the third position. Its average GDP annually is estimated at $ 292 billion dollars. For many skeptics, this came as a major surprise taking into account the political unrest in recent years. In fact, many expected the economy to take a dip. Egypt relies heavily on its mineral resources such as copper, natural gas, aluminium, steel and iron ore. It also has a thriving horticultural, and tourism industry. Her Per Capita which is $4,282 is not too bad, occupying the 5th position; just two steps down.

Read: 10 Common Reasons Why New Startup Businesses Fail

2. South Africa

GDP – $353

Per Capita – $11,035

South Africa which has always been revered as the top economy in Africa was finally beaten to second place by Nigeria. The southern Africa state had its GDP valued at approximately $ 350 billion dollars. In the recent past, the South Africa’s economy has been struggling. This has especially been witnessed in the mining industries where reserves for precious minerals such as gold, platinum, palladium, and diamond have been dwindling.

Commendably, South Africa retained its #2 position in terms of per capita. With a per capita of $11,035. South Africa is still in essence, the richest African country.

nigeria-economy1 (1)

1. Nigeria

GDP – $569 billion

Per Capita – $2,700

Nigeria has always been referred to as the giant of Africa, both in terms of economy and population. Since 2014, Nigeria has been topping the list of richest African countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The country had overtaken South Africa which had for many decades had an iron grip at the helm. The GDP of Nigeria is currently valued at $521 billion. This is majorly attributed to its vast reserves of oil and gas.

Unfortunately, the exploding population of Nigeria has rendered the citizens and inhabitants at large poor in the midst of plenty. Even with all the wealth and first position on the list of biggest economies, Nigeria slips down to #7 with a GDP Per Capita as poor as $2,700.

Table Summarizing Top  10 African Countries with the Largest Economy

S/N Country GDP in Billion Dollars($) Per Capita($) Rank by Per Capita
1. Nigeria 569 2, 700 #7
2. South Africa 353 11,035 #2
3. Egypt 292 4,282 #5
4. Algeria 214 7,095 #3
5. Angola 131 2,829 #6
6. Morrocco 107 5,765 #4
7. Libya 67 11,354 #1
8. Sudan 64 2,417 #8
9. Ethiopia 55 859 #9
10. Tanzania 49 720 #10