There are several ways to list countries in terms of their wealth. The most common statistics are those relating to Gross Domestic Product GDP. It can be nominal GDP, PPP GDP, Per Capita GDP and many other such figures. These reveal a wealth of information about the wealth of the country, the standard of living by the population, their purchasing power, and living conditions. The developed countries are always ahead on these parameters whereas the developing countries are the laggards and most of these countries belong to the African subcontinents, a few pockets of Asia and Europe.
Nominal GDP is the fairest among these parameters as considering the Per Capita figures may lead to an erroneous conclusion. Since per capita norms are based on the number of population counties with the same GDP may be ranked differently depending on their population.
Here is a list of top 10 wealthiest countries of Africa as of 2019 ranked according to their nominal GDP’s. The data has been collated from several sources including that from the IMF.
Nominal GDP in billion dollars = 51.62
The Republic of Ghana is located in West Africa, north of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. It has Burkina Faso in the north, Ivory Coast in the west, and Togo in the east. Accra is the capital and the largest city. From the 15th century onwards, Ghana has attracted colonial powers, and British took control of the British Gold Coast. In 1957, Ghana gained independence from the British. The democratic political system of Ghana has helped grow its economic prosperity. It has a population of about 28 million comprising of a several ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. Ghana has a diversified ecology and geography ranging from coastal savannahs to tropical rain forests.
Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa, and its cocoa is of high quality. It is considered as a middle-income country and Services account for 50% of the GDP, followed by manufacturing at around 25%. Ghana has an abundance of petroleum and natural gas, the fifth and sixth largest in Africa, which it exports to its advantage. It is the 7th largest producer of gold and the 9th largest producer, of diamonds in the world. It also has several other mineral reserves.
The Ghana economy is emerging as a digital-based mixed economy with the focus on manufacturing and export of digital technology goods similar to that of Taiwan. Ghana Stock Exchange is the 5th largest in Africa. It is a regional power in West Africa, and member of the NAM, G-24, the Commonwealth of Nations and the African Union.
#9. Tanzania 56.66
Nominal GDP in billion dollars = 56.66
Tanzania is officially known as the United Republic of Tanzania and is situated in eastern Africa and has the Indian Ocean to the east. It has Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo on the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique on the south. Tanzania has Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, besides the Great Lakes of Africa. During the late 19th century, with the beginning of colonialism began with Germany forming the German East Africa. After World War I, it came under the British rule. The mainland Tanganyika and the Zanzibar Archipelago became independent in 1961 and merged to form the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964.
Tanzania’s population of about 57 million is made of several ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups who speak more than 100 different dialects. Swahili is the national language. Its official capital is Dodoma, but the port city of Dar es Salaam continues to be the prominent city, the largest and the commercial capital.
According to the IMF, Tanzania’s GDP stands at $56.7 billion (nominal), $176.5 billion on a PPP basis and the GDP per capita on PPP was $3,457. Its GDP has grown slowly at an average of 3.5%. Its largest trading partners for exports were South Africa, Switzerland, and China. Even though its economy based on agriculture, Tanzania has one of the worst rankings in the Global Hunger Index, and undernourishment is also worse. More than 68% of Tanzanians live below the poverty line of $1.90 a day. Tanzania also ranks as one having the most number of poor.
Nominal GDP in billion dollars = 85.66
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, which is how Ethiopia is known officially, is a country located in the Horn of Africa and has its borders with Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan, and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. Its population is 102 million, and it is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the ranks second in population in Africa. Its capital and largest city in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is where the remains of the first human existence in the world have been found. Since the second century BC, Ethiopia has had a system of monarchy. In 1974, the monarchy was overthrown and since 1991 has been ruled by a political coalition.
Ethiopia has a contrasting land and has vast fertile land as well as forests and rivers. It also has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa. Ethiopia had the worst time during the 1970s and 1980s when it had to deal with civil conflicts and famine. Now, Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and the fastest-growing non-oil-dependent African economy with a GDP growth rate of around 10%. However, due to its huge population, the GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world.
In Ethiopia, agriculture engages around 85% of the population, but the service sector contributes the largest to the GDP. Ethiopia also has the fourth most powerful military in Africa and the 51st in the world. Ethiopia was the first African nation to join the UN, G-24, NAM, and OAU.
Nominal GDP in billion dollars = 88.27
The Republic of Kenya lies on the Equator and has its borders with Uganda to the west, Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the north-east and Tanzania to the south. The capital and largest city of Kenya is Nairobi, and the country has a population of about 49 million. Kenya got its independence from the British in December 1963. Kenya is known for its wildlife reserves and national parks. It is a hot tourist destination with several world heritage sites and beautiful beaches. It has also made its mark on the world athletic scene and rugby. Kenya has been inhabited since the earliest times of human existence.
Kenya’s economy is the largest in eastern and central Africa. Majority of the population is employed in agriculture followed by the service industry. It exports tea, coffee, and flowers to Europe. After agriculture, tourism is the second-largest source of revenue and foreign exchange. Kenya is considered the hub for financial services for East and Central Africa and the Nairobi Securities Exchange is ranked 4th in Africa. Kenya remains in the bottom group of the Human Development Index and is an emerging market. It continues to be a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Nominal GDP in billion dollars = 119.43
Angola, officially known as the Republic of Angola, is situated in the southern part of Africa, is the seventh-largest country in Africa. It has the Atlantic Ocean on the west and shares its borders with Namibia in the south, Congo to the north, and Zambia to the east. Luanda is the capital and largest city of Angola. Angola had human civilization since the earliest time and was ruled by the Portuguese from the 17th century. Angola gained independence in 1975 but was engulfed in civil war. Since 2001, Angola has become a stable republic. Angola has a population of 25.8 million, and it is a multiethnic country. Its culture is dominated by centuries of Portuguese rule.
The economy of Angola is the fastest growing in Africa and one of the fastest in the world. During the decade 2001 to 2010, Angola recorded an annual average GDP growth rate of 11.1% which is the highest in the world. Angola has a booming economy due to its oil revenues. It also has reserves of diamonds, oil, gold, copper and rich wildlife heritage. Angola is the biggest supplier of oil to its biggest trade partner China; which ranks fourth in imports. Diamonds and oil account for 60% of Angola’s economy.
Yet, as the wealth is concentrated in a few hands, its economy is uneven. For most, the standard of living remains is very low, and life expectancy is among the lowest while infant mortality is among the highest in the world. Angola is in the bottom group of the Human Development Index. Angola is a member of the UN, OPEC, and African Union.
Nominal GDP in billion dollars = 121
Morocco bears the official name as the Kingdom of Morocco, and it is located in Northwest Africa. Its capital is Rabat, and its largest city is the port city of Casablanca. The population of Morocco is 35.74 million and consists primarily of the indigenous Berber people, and the culture is a mix of Berber, Arab, West African and European. Morocco achieved independence from being a French protectorate in 1956. There is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament in Morocco, and the predominant religion is Islam Morocco has a mountainous interior, deserts and a long coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Morocco had a liberal economy and was even ranked earlier as the first African country in the quality-of-life index, ahead of South Africa. Over half of GDP comes from the service sector and a quarter from the mining, construction and manufacturing industries. Tourism, telecoms, IT and textile are high-growth industries. Agriculture accounts for 15% of the GDP and employs about 40% of the population.
Tourism is one of the most important sectors after the phosphate industry, and Morocco plans to increase the revenues to 20% of the GDP by increasing the tourist footfall to 20 million, according to its Vision 2020 program. Morocco is a member of the African Union and Arab League.
#4. Algeria 197.63
Nominal GDP in billion dollars = 197.63
Algeria is officially known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and is located in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Algiers is the capital and the most populous city. Algeria has a population of more than 44 million. Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world and the largest in Africa. Algeria gained independence from France in 1962.
Algeria’s economy is based on its oil exports to Europe. Algeria possesses the 16th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa. World Bank classifies Algeria as an upper middle-income country. The country is currently facing high unemployment and housing shortage. Algeria is a member of the UN, OPEC, the African Union, and the Arab League.
Nominal GDP in billion dollars (estimated) = 408.61
Egypt, officially known as the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country. It spans the northeast of Africa and southwest of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. The history of Egypt is one of the oldest and dates back to the 6th century BC. Egypt is the third most populous country in Africa, after Nigeria and Ethiopia; and has a population of over 95 million. It is the fifteenth most populous country in the world. Its capital is Cairo. The only arable land is on the banks of river Nile, and half the population lives in urban areas in the Nile Delta.
Egypt’s economy is large and diversified. In 2016, it overtook South Africa’s economy to emerge as the second largest economy in Africa, next to Nigeria. The economy of Egypt rests on agriculture, petroleum, natural gas, and tourism which include revenues from the Suez Canal. Egypt has been rated as one of the top countries in the world in terms of economic reforms, by the International Monetary Fund. Egypt is a member of the UN, NAM, Arab League, African Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
#2. South Africa
Nominal GDP in billion dollars = 370.89
The Republic of South Africa, popularly known as South Africa, lies in the southernmost part of Africa. South Africa is also known as the “Rainbow Nation” due to its multicultural diversity. It is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th largest country in the world. Its population is 25 million and is the 24th most populous country in the world. On the south, it has the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean on the west and east, respectively. On the north and north-east, it is bounded by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland. It completely surrounds Lesotho.
Almost 80 percent of the population belongs to the native African ancestry speaking several ethnic languages, nine of which have official recognition. Rest of the population comprises of Whites and Europeans, Indians, and multi-racial. The country earlier had the policy of Apartheid which was repealed in the 1990’s.
The country has a mixed economy and is the second largest after Nigeria. It has a higher GDP per capita, as compared to other countries of Africa, which stands at around $11,800. The economic growth has picked up since 2004, and the government has increased the role of state-owned enterprises in several sectors to abate unemployment and build capital formation. South Africa is the most popular tourist destination, and its economy has gained a lot by promoting tourism. South Africa has the United States, Germany, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Spain as its principal trading countries. One of the reasons for high industrialization of South Africa is its poor agricultural economy, which suffers from the aridity of the land and contributes only around 3% to the GDP.
World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy and an industrialized country. The economy of South Africa is the second-largest in Africa and 34th-largest in the world. Although in terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa comes seventh in Africa, due its large population, unemployment which extends to a quarter of the population, and poverty. The Johannesburg Stock exchange is the largest in Africa. The country has been ranked as the top African Country of the Future based on its economic potential, infrastructure, and business friendliness. It also ranks high as a safest tax haven due to its tax-friendly policies.
Nominal GDP in billion dollars = 408.61
Nigeria, also known officially as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country situated in West Africa. Its capital is Abuja, and it has 36 states. It is a secular democratic country. It became a formally independent federation in 1960. It is often called the “Giant of Africa” because of its large economy and its population of 186 million, which makes it the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous in the world. It has over 500 ethnic groups speaking over 500 languages; although the official language is English.
Overtaking South Africa in 2015, Nigeria became Africa’s largest economy. It is the world’s 20th largest economy with about $500 billion nominal GDP. According to the World Bank, Nigeria is an emerging market. Yet it stands very low in Human Development Index at 152. Nigeria is the founder member of the African Union and a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and OPEC.
Nigeria has abundant natural resources and is a mixed economy emerging market. The Nigerian Stock Exchange is the second largest in Africa, after South Africa. The United States is Nigeria’s largest foreign investor, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects an economic growth rate of 8-11 %. Nigeria is committed to ending poverty by 2030.
The list above shows the listing of African countries in terms of nominal GDP. The data for this listing has been taken from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) website which is in the public domain. Here is the link: http://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/NGDPD@WEO/OEMDC/ADVEC/WEOWORLD
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