Africa is one of the largest continents in the world in terms of land mass. But when it comes to monetary wealth, Africa has most of the poorest countries in the world.
However, not all African countries are poor; there are equally some wealthy countries in Africa but the number is far less than that of the poor ones.
The ranking of richest African countries is based on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) which gives the value of all the final goods and services produced within a country in any given specific year.
A nation’s GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value for all goods and services produced in the country in any given year assessed based on prevailing prices of the same products in the United States. This is the measure adopted by most economists when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. Below is the ranking:
20. Namibia: GDP: $15.743 Billion – The Namibian economy has a modern market sector, which produces most of the country’s wealth, and a traditional subsistence sector. While Namibia is quite wealthy, its wealth is not evenly distributed among the citizens, and as a result, over half of the population live below poverty line. The economy is sustained by the production of minerals like diamonds.
19. Mauritius: GDP: $19.270 Billion – The growth of the economy of Mauritius is all thanks to the kind of government it has. The free-market economics that has been followed by the successive governments, created a highly competitive market with ample room for growth. With no natural resources to explore, the economy of Mauritius has relied heavily on tourism, ICT and financial services.
18. Gabon: GDP: 24.571 Billion – With the declining state of oil production in Gabon, it is still one of the highest producers of oil in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the last forty years, the country has been quite dependent on oil to sustain its economy. But more recently, it is trying to diversify and branch out into many other areas so as to have a diversified economy.
17. Equatorial Guinea: GDP: $26.147 Billion – While Equatorial Guinea has a relatively small population, it has broken bounds on oil reserves and is currently one of the largest producers of oil in Africa. even as rich as oil has made the country, its citizens still suffer as a result of inequality in the distribution of resources, while the very corrupt leaders enjoy all the benefit there is.
16. Botswana: GDP: $29.707 Billion – Since gaining independence in 1966, Botswana has recorded one of the world’s highest growth rates that transformed it from a fledgling economy to a middle-income economy. This it had mainly achieved through stringent fiscal discipline and proper management of the country’s resources by the government. Botswana is rich in diamond but also in strong farming, tourism and financial servicing.
15. Democratic Republic of Congo: GDP: $32.69 Billion – The economy of the Republic of the Congo is a mixture of subsistence hunting and agriculture, an industrial sector based largely on petroleum extraction and support services, and a government spending characterised by budget problems. Petroleum has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. Nowadays the country is increasingly converting natural gas to electricity rather than burning it, greatly improving energy prospects.
14. Tanzania: GDP: 41.33 Billion – The United Republic of Tanzania is the second largest economy in the East African Community and the twelfth largest in Africa. The country is largely dependent on agriculture for employment, accounting for about half of the employed workforce. Even though Tanzania is a rich country, an estimated 34 per cent of Tanzanians currently live in poverty. The economy has been transitioning from a command economy to a market economy since 1985.
13. Cameroon: GDP: $48.14 Billion – The economy of Cameroon has come a long way from what it used to be, even though the people are still largely farmers, the country’s natural resources are being put to very good use in improving the lives of the citizens. The southern rain forest has vast timber reserves, estimated to cover 37 per cent of Cameroon’s total land area.
12. Kenya: GDP: $53.40 Billion – The capital, Nairobi, is a regional commercial hub. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in Southeast and Central Africa. Agriculture is a major employer; the country traditionally exports tea and coffee and has more recently begun to export fresh flowers to Europe. The service industry is also a major economic driver.
11. Libya: GDP: $76.52 Billion – Libya is largely dependent on its oil reserve and petroleum products for most of its revenue and just about 20 per cent of all of Libya’s GDP come from the service and construction sectors. The small number of population with a large amount of revenue from oil suggests the reason Libya has been described as an ‘Upper Middle Economy’ by the World Bank. Since 2000, Libya has recorded favourable growth rates with an estimated 10.6 per cent growth of GDP in 2010 and 76.3 per cent in 2012 after plummeting in 2011.
10. Ghana: GDP: $82.65 Billion – Ghana’s growing economy is largely achieved through years of sound management, positively competitive business environment, and sustained reductions in poverty levels. Ghana’s economy is built on a diverse and rich resource base, not only relying on natural resources (Gold, cocoa, timber, bauxite and more recently, crude oil) which it has in abundance but on other sectors like services which accounts for 50 per cent of GDP.
9. Tunisia: GDP: $104 Billion – The Tunisian economy is diverse and market-oriented with significant foundation in mining, manufacturing and tourism. The latest 2012 figures for Tunisia’s GDP stands at $104.4 billion coming from a growth rate of 2.7 per cent. Agriculture contributes 8.9 per cent while industry and services contribute both 29.6 per cent and 61.5 per cent respectively.
8. Ethiopia: GDP: $109 Billion – Ethiopia is among the non-oil producing African countries with the fastest growing economies and has managed to sustain a high single digit annual growth rate since 2004 and is estimated to expand by 11.3 per cent in the 2012/13 budget year. Agriculture contributes to almost half of Ethiopia’s GDP and offers about 85 per cent of all employments in the country.
7. Sudan: GDP: $112.552 Billion – More than once, we have mentioned oil and gas as the main source of income for countries on this list. Sudan also falls into that category but in a more diverse way. It depends on oil but with a third of its GDP contributed by agriculture. Cotton and peanuts constitute its major agricultural exports.
6. Angola: GDP: $123.1 Billion – Angola is sixth among the richest countries in Africa with a GDP of $123.1 billion. The country enjoys an extensive reserve of oil and gas resources, hydroelectric power, diamonds, and rich agricultural land but still remains a fairly weak economy due to poor management of resources and extreme corruption. Being the second largest producer of crude oil in Africa following Nigeria, oil production contributes a very large percentage of foreign exchange.
5. Morocco: GDP: $168.9 Billion – Morocco’s GDP (PPP) stands at $168.9 billion, making it the 5th among the richest countries in Africa. Morocco is largely dependent on agriculture and its proximity to Europe is part of what is influencing Morocco’s market and economy which it has capitalised on to build a diverse, open market-oriented economy. Apart from phosphorus for which the country is the world’s third-largest producer, there are also revenues coming from tourism, textiles, apparel and overall, Morocco is the second richest non-oil-producing country in Africa after Egypt.
4. Algeria: GDP: $272.5 Billion – Located in northern Africa, Algeria is the 4th largest economy among the wealthiest African countries with the most recent GDP figure standing at $272.5 billion. Algeria is a country where the government practically exerts a lot of control on most infrastructures. Crude oil contributes the most revenues and foreign currency for Algeria accounting for some 60 per cent of budget revenues, up to 30 per cent of GDP, and more than 95 per cent of export earnings.
3. Egypt: GDP: $534.1 Billion – Egypt has enjoyed quite a stable economy and continuous growth since the past quarter-century averaging 4%–5% however, the lack of transparency and freedom has not allowed growth to get to the expected levels. Egypt is among the richest countries in Africa with a well-developed energy sector that is based on coal, oil, natural gas, and hydro power.
2. South Africa: GDP: $576.1 Billion – South Africa is the second richest country in Africa and one of the fastest developing nations in the world. It is endowed with lots of natural resources including gold, diamond, platinum, among others. It is classified as a middle emerging market and unlike most other countries in Africa that depends on a single source for revenue, South Africa’s economy is diversified. The country’s stock exchange is rated the 18th largest in the world.
1. Nigeria: GDP: $588 Billion – Nigeria is a middle income, mixed economy and emerging market, with expanding financial, service, communications, technology and entertainment sectors. It is ranked as the 21st largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP and is the largest economy in Africa. Nigeria recently changed its economic analysis to account for rapidly growing contributors to its GDP, such as telecoms, banking, and its film industry. Its GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) has almost tripled from $170 billion in 2000 to $451 billion in 2012, although estimates of the size of the informal sector (which is not included in official figures) put the actual numbers closer to $630 billion.