The African continent is the richest one with its resources. The majority of the 54 countries that are on the continent have resources like gold, silver, uranium, oil, petroleum, sugar, and of course diamond. At the same time, Africa is providing a great opportunity for agriculture. While the continent is so rich and full of opportunities, the resources were exploited for a long time and countries, as well as people of Africa, were struggling in poverty.
Despite socio-political and some other issues that are presented in some of the countries, they are still considered as lands of opportunity. However, the distribution of African wealth is not even and while some of the countries are very poor, others are filthy rich. The richest countries in Africa are obviously the ones that have the biggest reserves of various resources.
Top 10 richest countries in Africa according to GDP
Before I reveal the list of the countries itself let me explain GDP itself. It is Gross Domestic Product that measures a nation’s total economic activity in USD. To say it more simply it shows the value of all services and goods that were produced within a nation’s border over a specific period of time. GDP is measured in the US dollar and usually, it represents the value of the produced goods and services for one year. The wealth of the countries is measured according to their GDP.
The list of the richest countries in Africa according to GDP starts with Tanzania with a GDP of $51.725bn. The workforce of Tanzania is divided into two main parts. The first is agriculture – it makes the country more vulnerable to commodity prices and environmental shocks. The second part of the workforce is divided into several sectors like manufacturing, mining, telecommunications and food producing. The main products produced in Tanzania are coffee, cotton, tea, and tobacco, which is exported from the country. Tanzania is also mining and exporting gold and diamonds. Another Source of wealth for Tanzania is tourism. Almost 38% of the land in Tanzania is a protected landmark and is used for parks and game reserves. However, the main tourist attraction is, of course, Mount Kilimanjaro that attracts many international tourists. As a result, 17% of the GDP came from tourism and the number is growing.
Some people might be surprised to see Sudan in the list of the wealthiest countries in Africa. The majority of the population relies on subsistence farming and is under the poverty line. The country has some major political conflicts and problems, at the same time lacks the basic infrastructure in some of the large areas of the country. Despite these, the GDP of Sudan is $58.239 bn and the country shows significant growth. Since 1999 the main drive of the GDP is the oil industry and it is the main explanation of Sudan being one of the richest countries in Africa. Besides oil, there are some other industries that play a big role in Sudan’s economy. Such as cement, cotton ginning, pharmaceuticals, and soap distilling. The country is exporting oil and petroleum products, livestock, cotton, sesame, groundnuts, sugar, and Arabic gum. As Sudan is an Arabic country it has a very rich history that drives many Arabic tourists as well as people from the western countries. Although Egypt is considered to be the country of pyramids, Sudan actually has more of them on their territory.
Kenya is one of the wealthiest African countries with a GDP of $79.511bn. The biggest contributor to the GDP is trade, as the combined value of export and import is 38 percent of GDP. As in the majority of the African countries, the leading industry of Kenya is agriculture. The other industries are manufacturing and services. Kenya produces and exports coffee, tea, corn, sisal, pyrethrum, and wheat. Kenya also produces cashew nuts, coconuts, pineapples, and sugarcane. The country still manages to promote the tourism sector and get visitors despite the negative publicity and security issues.
Ethiopia is the second largest country in Africa in terms of population. Also, it has one of the fastest growing economies in the whole world. The GDP of Ethiopia is $80.874bn and it makes it one of the richest countries in Africa. The main contributor to the GDP is the investments in infrastructure and manufacturing. Ethiopia produces and exports leather, textiles, coffee, natural gum, spices, and mineral products. The industries such as banking, transportation, and telecommunications are dominated by state-owned companies and therefore the leading sector is agriculture in terms of business making.
Morocco is not only a beautiful country but it is also one of the wealthiest countries in Africa with a GDP of $109,824bn. The main industries are mining, construction, and manufacturing. At the same time, the highest growth is in telecoms, tourism and textile sectors. The country exports various products such as electric components, transistors, inorganic chemicals, vegetables, fish and citrus fruits.
The fifth place in the list of top 10 richest countries in Africa belongs to Angola. Till 2002 the country had a civil war for 27 years after becoming independent from Portugal. Despite this, Angola is one of the fastest-growing countries in terms of economic development. The main industry in Angola is the oil industry. The country produces and exports crude oil, petroleum products, diamonds, fish and fish products, cotton, sisal, and coffee. The GDP of Angola is $124.209bn.
The nominal GDP of Algeria is $178.287bn. The main industry in Algeria is mining mineral resources and manufacturing. The most important resources that are extracted are petroleum and natural gases. The country is exporting it in both either raw or manufactured state. Due to the slight decline in hydrocarbon production, Algeria’s economic growth slowed down. Besides mineral resources, Algeria is exporting products of agriculture, like wheat, oats, olives and citrus fruits. However, agriculture plays a minor role in the economics of Algeria.
The list of the three richest countries in Africa starts with Egypt. The country had some ups and downs in recent years. However, Egypt still managed to maintain a GDP of $237.037bn. The main drive of the economic growth in Egypt is petroleum and petroleum-based industries, the country also exports insulated wire, video displays, and gold. Relatively minor but still very important industries are tourism, food processing, and textile production. They also control the Suez Canal which is the gateway to Europe for most Asian countries hoping to export their goods.
2. South Africa
It is not a surprise to see that South Africa is on the second place of the list of wealthiest countries in Africa, as it is the second largest producer of gold. Exactly gold is one of the main export product of the country. Besides gold, South Africa mines and exports diamonds. Manufacturing is also a very well developed industry. One of the highest performing industries is agriculture like corn and fruit. The GDP of South Africa is $349.299bn.
If you were wondering what is the richest country in Africa, here’s the answer. Nigeria has the highest GDP in Africa – $376.284bn. Compared to the neighboring countries, Nigeria is a center of economy and development with its natural resources. Some of the key products that are exported from Nigeria include oil, rubber, peanuts, and palm oil. The country is Africa’s largest crude oil supplier. It also has a well-developed agriculture sector that is responsible for 18 percent of the whole GDP and is the third main industry where the majority of Nigerians are employed. With this, Nigeria is the wealthiest country in Africa.
There is another way to determine which countries are the richest in Africa, it is called GDP per capita. This measurement shows how rich the country feels to each and every one of its citizens. GDP per capita measures the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) divided by its total population. It is considered that GDP per capita is one of the best ways to determine how rich the country is for its own population, however some think that it is not the best measurements, since in many countries where GDP per capita is relatively high, there is still a majority of population who is living in poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is very big. These are the richest countries in Africa according to GDP per capita.
Top 10 richest countries in Africa according to GDP per capita
With the GDP per capita, $11,528 Namibia is in tenth place. The main industries of the country are mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism. The population of the country is around two million. Possibly this is the main reason for the high GDP per capita as the economy is still considered to be emerging and the unemployment rate is around 30 percent. The cost of living in Namibia is also high, as the majority of the products consumed are imported.
The GDP per capita in Tunisia is $11,987. The economy of the country highly depends on industries such as tourism, automobile parts, and oil. According to the GDP per capita, the country is considered as one of the wealthiest African countries.
Egypt s one of the countries that is considered to be the richest according to GDP and according to GDP per capita as well. GDP per capita in Egypt is $12,994.
7. South Africa
Another richest country in Africa that is considered as wealthy according to the GDP per capita is South Africa with $13,403. Despite it, South Africa has high rates of poverty and unemployment. At the same time, it has a wide gap between the poor and the rich. South Africa is in the list of the top 10 countries that have the highest income inequality.
Algeria is on both lists of – top 10 richest countries in Africa according to GDP and GDP per capita. With a population of 40 million the country’s GDP per capita is $15.000. Despite it, the unemployment rate, especially among young people is very high.
Botswana has a reputation of a country with a stable democracy and economic development. The population of Botswana is 2.1 million and GDP per capita is $18,146. Botswana is considered a middle-income country, it has a low level of foreign debt and is high in resources like gold, uranium, diamond, and copper.
Gabon is in the fourth place of the top 10 wealthiest countries in Africa. its GDP per capita is $19,266. The main drive of the economy in Gabon is oil. As I have mentioned GDP per capita does not really show that the people in the country are living well, for example, the majority of Gabon’s residents live in poverty.
Mauritius is an island country in the Indian Ocean at the southeast coast of the African continent. The population of Mauritius is over 1.3 million and the GDP per capita is $21.628. Not surprisingly the main contributor to the country’s economy is tourism. The world bank defines Mauritius as an upper-middle-income economy.
Seychelles is an island country in the Indian Ocean as well. To say more correctly the country is made up of 115 small islands. It has the smallest population in Africa, over 92,000 people and GDP per capita is $28.172. Seychelles is considered as a highly developed country and is the second richest country in Africa according to GDP per capita, however, income inequality is also a huge problem. The country’s main industry is tourism, part of it is processing natural resources such as coconut, and fishing.
Equatorial Guinea is considered to be the wealthiest country in Africa according to GDP per capita which is $34,865. Despite it, the population itself is not rich, the income inequality is extreme and the country ranks as the 136th in the UN’s Human Development Index. The reason for the high GDP per capita is mainly the small population of around 1.2 million people. The majority of the people even lack basic human rights such as access to clean water.
As you can see GDP per capita does not really present how rich the country is and how rich the population of the country feels. The better determination of the wealth of the country is still the gross domestic products, according to which the richest African country is Nigeria.