Largest Economies In Africa

The African continent has always been referred to as “The Sleeping Giant.” Such terminology usually points to the great potentials 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 – $62,224 billion (2019)
  • Per capita – $1,105 (2019)
  • Global Ranking -74th
  • Population – 59,734,218 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing lower-middle-income economy
  • Value of Exports – $2.9 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance –$156.0 million (2020)
  • Currency – Tanzanian shilling (TZS, TSh)
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Known as the home of some of the continent’s most famous national parks and of course Kilimanjaro, the country comprises a lower-middle mixed-income economy.

Tanzania has achieved a relatively high economic growth in recent years, with a 5.6% growth rate, but this does seem to be slowing down. The medium-term outlook is positive, which is supported by large infrastructure spending. However, despite economic growth and the poverty rate has decreased in the past few years, the absolute number of people living in poverty has remained the same.

9. Ghana

  • GDP – $67,077 billion (2019)
  • Per Capita – $2,223 (2019)
  • Global Ranking – 71st
  • Population – 31,072,940 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing lower-middle income economy
  • Value of Exports – $15.55 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance −$2,043,924,000 (2018)
  • Currency – Cedi (GHS, GH₵)
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Ghana, found in West Africa, has an economy that is both diverse and rich in resources. With a GDP of $67,077 Billion, it just makes this list of wealthiest countries on the African continent coming it at number nine. The country was the first in sub-Saharan Africa to break free from colonial rule as well as the first to achieve the target of halving extreme poverty.

Ghana has an abundance of natural resources, helping to fuel an economic boom. Gold is the country’s main export. This is followed by petroleum and together they make up 50% of the country’s foreign exchange. Other major exports include cocoa beans, timber, and gold.

8. Ethiopia

  • GDP – $72.37 billion (2019)
  • Per Capita – $706.76 (2019)
  • Global Ranking – 63rd
  • Population – 114,963,588 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing lower-middle-income economy
  • Value of Exports – 2.77 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance – $5.512 billion (December 2019)
  • Currency – Birr (ETB, ብር)

Kenya

About three decades ago, the whole world came to the 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 $72.37 billion, Ethiopia holds the 8th 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.

7. Angola

  • GDP – $91,527 billion (2019)
  • Per Capita – $3,038 (2019)
  • Global Ranking – 62nd
  • Population – 32,866,272 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing lower-middle income economy
  • Value of Exports – $35.4 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance – $4,0 billion (March 2020)
  • Currency – Angolan kwanza (AOA, Kz)
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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 current GDP is valued at $91,527 billion. Its main economic activities are the mining of diamonds and petroleum oil and gas.

6. Kenya

  • GDP- $99.246 billion (2019)
  • Per Capita – $2,0101 (2019)
  • Global Ranking – 61st
  • Population – 53,771,296 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing lower-middle income economy
  • Value of Exports – $5.82 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance – $932.000  million (June 2019)
  • Currency – Kenyan shilling (KES, KSh)

Kenya has an estimated GDP of over $99.246 billion. The main economy of the country is the service sector, while agriculture is the second-largest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product. In 2005 about 24 percent of GDP was as a result of agriculture, it also accounted for 18% of wage employment and 50% of revenue generated from exports. Apart from the two aforementioned sectors, tourism has also grown to become Kenya’s major source of foreign exchange.

5. Morocco

  • GDP – $119,04 billion (2019)
  • Per Capita – $3,345 (2019)
  • Global Ranking – 58th
  • Population – 36,910,560 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing lower-middle income economy
  • Value of Exports – $29.3 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance – 8,978.400 MAD million (June 2020)
  • Currency – Moroccan dirham (MAD)

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. The country has experienced an obvious increase in its GDP which has increased to $119. 04 billion according to a recent report. The main economic activities in the country include fishing, agriculture, and mining. Morocco is among the top producers of cannabis. It also has a good reserve of lead, phosphates, and silver.

4. Algeria

  • GDP – $172.781 billion (2019)
  • Per Capita – $3,980 (2019)
  • Global Ranking – 53rd
  • Population – 43,851,044 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing upper-middle-income economy
  • Value of Exports – $36.09 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance – $5.410 billion (March 2019)
  • Currency – Algerian dinar (DZD, دج)

Flag of Algeria

Algeria has always been a regional rival to Egypt. The GDP of the North African country is estimated to be $172.781 billion. The main economic activities driving the country comprise 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.

3. Egypt

  • GDP – $302.256 billion  (2019)
  • Per Capita – $3,546 (2019)
  • Global Ranking – 40th
  • Population – 102,334,404 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing lower-middle income economy
  • Value of Exports – $25.5 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance – $3.473 billion (June 2020)
  • Currency – Egyptian Pound (EGP, E£)
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African Flags

Egypt famously known as “the jewel of the Nile” was convincingly placed in the third position. Its average GDP annually is estimated at $302.256 billion. For many sceptics, 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, aluminum, steel, and iron ore. It also has a thriving horticultural, and tourism industry. Her Per Capita which is $3,546 is not too bad also for its developing economy.

2. South Africa

  • GDP –  $358.839 billion (2019)
  • Per Capita – $6,100 (2019)
  • Global Ranking – 35th
  • Population – 59,308,690 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing upper-middle-income economy
  • Value of Exports – $90.2 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance – $7 billion (March 2020)
  • Currency – South African Rand (R)

South Africa which has always been revered as the top economy in Africa was again beaten to second place by Nigeria in 2018. The southern African state had its GDP valued at approximately $358 billion. In the recent past, 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.

However, South Africa found itself at the #1 position in terms of per capita. With a per capita of $6,100. South Africa is still, in essence, the richest African country.

1. Nigeria

  • GDP – $446.543 billion (2019)
  • Per Capita – $2,222 (2019)
  • Global Ranking – 27th
  • Population – 206,139,589 (2020)
  • Country Group – Developing/Emerging, lower-middle income economy
  • Value of Exports – $53.6 billion (2019)
  • Current Account Balance – $36.31 billion (June 2020)
  • Currency – Nigerian Naira (NGN)

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 $446.543 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 #16 with a GDP Per Capita as poor as $2,222.

Table Summarizing Top  10 African Countries with the Largest Economy

S/N Country GDP in Billion Dollars($) Per Capita($)
1. Nigeria 446.543 2,222
2. South Africa 358.839 6100
3. Egypt 302.256 3546
4. Algeria 172.781 3980
5. Morocco 119.04 3345
6. Kenya 99.246 2,010
7. Angola 91,527 3,038
8. Ethiopia 72.37 706.76
9. Ghana 67,224 2,223
10. Tanzania 62,224  1,105

 

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