The economies of African countries have been rated to be some of the fastest-growing in the world. According to the World Population Review, the African economy is expected to reach a GDP of $29 trillion by 2050, powered by its agriculture, trade and natural resources sectors. With an eager and expanding workforce of about 20 million new job seekers a year in sub-Saharan Africa alone, the continent is rapidly catching up with the rest of the world. More than 90,000 Africans log into the internet for the first time daily.
Unfortunately, Africa is still the least developed of the major continents. This is because Africa is burdened with corruption, poverty, terrorism and militancy, and most recently, coups and civil war.
Despite these problems, there is no doubt that the continent has the potential to produce some of the best economies in the world. Therefore, let us take a closer look at the top 10 African economies in the world.
Top 10 African economies
Here is a list of the top 10 African economies based on their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) so far in 2023. This compilation is according to Business Insider Africa.
1. Nigeria – $477 billion
Nigeria is a country in West Africa. The country is a Federal Republic comprising 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, which is located in Abuja. Nigeria also has the largest black population in the world, with over 200 million people living in the country. The country is also known for its numerous natural resources, particularly crude oil and gas.
Nigeria is called the ‘African Giant’ for a reason. The country has the largest economy on the continent with a GDP of $477 billion. This is due to the nation’s rapidly growing financial institutions and crude oil exports. Also, Lagos State is the biggest state in the country economic-wise and the second largest on the continent, contributing to the nation’s economic influence in Africa.
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2. Egypt – $477 billion
The Arab Republic of Egypt is located in the North-East corner of Africa. Its largest city is Cairo which is also the nation’s capital. The second largest city is Alexandria, which is also an important industrial and tourist hub on the Mediterranean Coast. With an approximately 100 million population, Egypt is the 14th-most populated country in the world, and the third-most populated in Africa, behind Nigeria and Ethiopia.
Egypt is considered the cradle of civilisation and has one of the longest histories of any country, tracing its heritage along the Nile Delta back to the 6th–4th millennia BCE. The country also shares the top spot with Nigeria with a GDP of $477 billion. The country’s economic strength is mostly based on diverse industries like tourism, agriculture, textiles and petroleum.
3. South Africa – $406 billion
The Republic of South Africa is a multiracial country located in the southernmost part of Africa. With over 60 million people, the country is the world’s 24th most populous nation. Pretoria is the administrative capital, while Cape Town, the seat of Parliament, is the legislative capital. Bloemfontein has traditionally been regarded as the judicial capital while Johannesburg is the largest city and site of the highest court in the country.
South Africa is known for being a biodiversity hotspot, with unique biomes, and plant and animal life. The country has a GDP of $406 billion, making it the third-largest economy in Africa. A member of G20, South Africa has a rapidly developing economy that attracts global investments which drive economic growth in the continent.
4. Algeria – $192 billion
The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is a country in North Africa. With a population of 44 million, Algeria is the world’s 10th-largest nation by area and the largest nation in Africa. The capital and largest city is Algiers. Like most countries in North Africa, Algeria has a rich history with links to many civilizations, empires and dynasties.
The country currently has a GDP of $192 billion, a result of having abundant oil and natural gas reserves. This makes Algeria one of the major economic giants in Africa.
5. Morocco – $134 billion
The Kingdom of Morocco is the third North African country that has pulled its economic weight on the continent. With a population of roughly 37 million, its capital is Rabat, while its largest city is Casablanca. Morocco has the fifth largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $134 million. Its economic growth is mostly based on the vibrant tourism and agriculture sectors. Morocco also has a thriving renewable energy sector which has contributed to the nation’s standing on the continent.
6. Ethiopia – $127 billion
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, also known as the Horn of Africa, is located in East Africa. Ethiopia is home to around 116.5 million inhabitants, making it the 13th-most populous country in the world and the second-most populous in Africa after Nigeria. It is also the most populated landlocked country on Earth. The country also has a rich history in African civilisation. With a $127 billion GDP, Ethiopia has the sixth largest economy in Africa, fuelled by a flourishing agricultural and manufacturing sector.
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7. Kenya – $113 billion
The Republic of Kenya is a country in East Africa. With a population of more than 47.6 million as of 2019, Kenya is the 28th most populous country in the world and the seventh most populous in Africa. The largest city, which also doubles as the nation’s capital, is Nairobi. Kenya has a GDP of $113 billion and Nairobi is its hub of technology and business.
8. Angola – $107 billion
The Republic of Angola is a country on the west-central coast of Southern Africa. With a population of 32.87 million, Angola is the seventh-largest country in Africa. The country also has the eighth-largest economy on the continent with a GDP of $107 billion. The Angolan economy is fuelled by oil production and diamond mining. In April 2023, Angola overtook Nigeria to emerge top African crude oil producer for the month.
9. Tanzania – $75.71 billion
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa. As of 2022, Tanzania has a population of nearly 62 million, making it the most populous country located entirely south of the equator. Tanzania has a GDP of $75.71 billion and its economy is heavily supported by tourism, agriculture and mining industries. The country also has strategic ports and a great potential in natural gas which will contribute to economic growth in the region.
10. Ghana – $72.84 billion
The Republic of Ghana is another West African country that belongs to the top 10 largest economies on the continent. With a population of over 32 million, Ghana is the second-most populous country in West Africa, after Nigeria. The country’s largest city is Accra, which is also the nation’s capital. Ghana has a GDP of $72.84 billion, heavily supported by flourishing industries, like cocoa production, mining and oil exploration.
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