In this post, we take a look at the top 10 largest economies in Africa based on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is defined as the market value of all final products and services produced in a country within a given year. The countries were ranked based on data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The following countries are the largest economies in Africa based on the most recent data available.
Popularly known as the giant of Africa, this West African nation leads the way in terms of GDP on the African continent. It is also the most populated country in Africa with a population believed to be in excess of 200 million. Nigeria’s GDP for 2019 was put at $444.916 billion according to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Crude oil is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy and accounts for over 70% of the nation’s income. Other sectors with significant contribution to Nigeria’s earnings include agriculture which accounts for 18% of the country’s GDP and solid minerals. This is quite understandable as the country is blessed with fertile lands as this reflects in the country’s national colours and its coat of arms. Nigeria’s main agricultural exports include cocoa, palm oil, rubber etc. Several solid minerals are found in Nigeria with gold being the most prominent. Others include iron, gems, tantalite, and tin.
- South Africa
The most southernmost nation on the African continent and a regional powerhouse, South Africa boasts of the second-largest economy in Africa based on its 2019 GDP put at $371.298 billion. The South African economy hangs on its mining, agriculture and manufacturing. South Africa is famous as the world’s largest platinum producer and is also a well-known diamond producing country. The country also ranks as the second-largest producer of gold.
The historic nation of Egypt is third on this list of largest African economies. The country’s economy yet to fully recover from the effect of the 2011 revolution when its reserves took a plunge. This North African nation had a GDP of in 2019. Egypt’s main exports are petroleum, gold, and insulated wire. Tourism plays an important role in the country’s economy, likewise food processing, and textile production.
With a 2019 GDP of $183.687 billion, Algeria is number 4 on this list. The country relies heavily on its hydrocarbon exports as petroleum and gas are Algeria’s most important mineral resources. Agriculture contributes minimally to Algeria’s GDP.
The Kingdom of Morocco is located in Northern Africa and round up the top 5 on this list. Its 2019 GDP was put at $121.350 billion according to available data from IMF. The services sector accounts for slightly over 50% of the economy. Mining, construction, and manufacturing account for another 25%. Some of Morocco’s important exports include phosphates, inorganic chemicals, transistors, electric components, and agricultural products such as fish, citrus fruits, and vegetables. Tourism once thrived in Morocco but insecurity in the country impacted the sector negatively but it is gradually picking up once again.
Kenya is a powerhouse in the East of Africa. It had a GDP of $99.246 billion in 2019. The country has a population of 47.6 million, making it the 29th most populous nation in the world. Agriculture contributes 22% of Kenya’s GDP, with service, industry and manufacturing sectors accounting for 75% despite only employing 25% of the country’s labour force. Textile is one of Kenya’s notable exports with others being tea, cut flowers, coffee, tobacco, iron and steel products, cement, and also petroleum products.
GDP of Angola in 2019 stood at $92.191 billion and earned it a place on our list of the top ten largest economies in Africa. The country is well blessed with resources such as hydrocarbons, diamond, gold, copper, and rich wildlife. Crude oil and diamonds are the mainstays of Angola’s economy. Agriculture is slowly recovering in Angola since it dropped during the Angolan civil war. Angola’s exports include crude oil, petroleum products, diamond, cotton, lumber, sisal, fish products, fish, and coffee.
Ethiopia is a historic nation located in the Horn of Africa. It has a population of 109 million inhabitants making it the second-most populous country on the continent. 2019 GDP of Ethiopia stood at $90.968 billion. The economy of Ethiopia has been growing steadily for some time now but it still has one of the lowest per capita GDP in the world. Most of the country’s population are employed within the agricultural sector although the service sector contributes the most to the country’s GDP. Ethiopia’s exports are majorly agricultural products especially coffee which is the country’s largest foreign exchange. The country ranks at the second-largest maize producer in Africa. Apart from agricultural products, Ethiopia also exports gold and leather products.
In 9th place is Ghana, a small West African nation with a population of around 31 million inhabitants. In 2019, Ghana had a GDP of $68.258 billion. The country was formerly known as Gold coast due to the abundance of gold there. Its main exports include oil, cocoa, gold, bauxite, aluminium, tuna, diamond, timber, horticulture products, and manganese ore.
Lastly, Tanzania concludes this list in 10th place with 2019 GDP of $61.032 billion. The country is located in East Africa, in a region known as African Great Lakes. It is home to the highest mountain in Africa, the Kilimanjaro. The country has a population closing up on 60 million. Tourism, telecoms, agriculture and banking sectors are key sectors to the Tanzanian economy. Agriculture accounts for around 25% of GDP and also accounts for the majority of the country’s exports. Tanzanian exports also include diamond, gold, gemstones, and tanzanite.
The top 10 largest economies in Africa based on 2019 IMF data have been discussed in this post. These countries had the biggest GDP in the past year on the continent. As expected, it had some of the biggest names on the continent, with Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt leading the way in that order.