This article on the 20 African countries with the largest economies currently is based on 2019 standings pending when an updated list will be communicated to the public.
Currently after Asia, Africa follows as the second largest continent on earth. It is noteworthy to emphasize that Africa also boasts of being the second most populous continent in the world and as at 2013, the number of people living in Africa was estimated to be 1.111 billion.
While Algeria is the largest country by area in Africa, Nigeria ranks as Africa’s most populous country and it overtook South Africa as the largest economy in Africa.
Latest Ranking of Top 20 Largest Economies in Africa 2019
1. Nigeria, GDP $376.28 Billion
Nigeria’s economy has been boosted over the years by oil and gas revenues. After Nigeria released its GDP from 1990-2010, it resulted in an 89% increase in the estimated size of the economy and this has made Nigeria the largest economy in Africa. There is still room for improvement.
Nigeria boasts of a Gross Domestic Product of $376.28 billion making this country, Africa’s largest economy. Aside this feat, Nigeria is also the largest in terms of population. With over 200 million persons as estimated by a recent United Nations report, this African nation has what it takes in terms of economical development when put side by side with its neighbours.
Also, the presence of countless minerals and natural resources which are not limited to cocoa, ground nut, crude oil has seen exports thrive in Nigeria. Nigeria holds the record for Africa’s largest crude oil supplier with a thriving agricultural sector which has aided in reducing unemployment.
2. South Africa, GDP $349.214 Billion
With massive unemployment challenges and slow global economic growth, South Africa’s development has been affected negatively. Growth rate in 2013 was 1.9% as opposed to that of 2012 which was 2.5%.
Although South Africa is ranked second largest economy in the African continent, it still has a long way to go if it must maintain this spot. The country has a GDP of $349.2 billion with Agriculture being the most vibrant industry in the country.
The South African mining and manufacturing sectors also contributed immensely to the country’s economy due to the high demand for mineral resources such as manganese ore, chrome, iron ore, and anything used in steel production.
3. Egypt, GDP $275.748 Billion
One of the largest and most diversified economies in the middle east. GDP growth in Egypt is due to investments in tourism, agriculture, services and industry. Egypt’s economic growth has been just above the 2% mark in the fiscal years of 2011/12 and 2012/2013.
Egypt has maintained the third biggest economy in Africa due to its history in trade. It has maintained a gross domestic product of $275.74 billion. In 2011, the north African foreign exchange reserves went down due to the country’s revolution and civil unrest which saw many investors shut down businesses.
Even though the country’s economic growth was affected by the revolution, plans are in place to up turn this negative trend in a bid to focus more on sustainable growth. Due to Egypt’s history and culture, Tourism has always been the country’s main performing industry.
4. Algeria, GDP $219.453 Billion
The largest country in Africa in terms of land area is Algeria. Its economy grew in 2013 by 3% due to political stability. The chief drivers of its economic growth are investments in public enterprises and private demand.
In 2017, Algeria’s GDP increased to $219.453 billion which was a plus to the country’s economical growth. Blessed with abundant mineral resources like petroleum and natural gas, this has played a significant role in putting Algeria on the top 20 best economies in the African continent.
Agricultural crops such as oats, dates, citrus fruits, rice, olives are also been exported and has contributed greatly to its GDP
5. Angola, GDP $129.785 Billion
Africa’s second largest producer of oil. After oil, growth was driven upwards by agriculture, non-oil energy, fisheries, construction and manufacturing sectors. Angola’s economy grew by 5.1% in 2013.
The country is ranked as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and might soon topple Algeria if it continues in the same trend that has seen it become one of the leading countries when it comes to the oil and gas sector. In 2017, Angola’s GDP went from $124.21 billion to $129.7 billion.
This success recorded was as a result of the government cutting down expenditure, increasing non-oil revenue, and devaluing the country’s currency, the kwanza. They also exported lots of crude oil, diamonds, fish products, etc.
6. Morocco, GDP $114.7 Billion
Due to the nation’s wonderful agricultural sector, Morocco’s GDP grew from 2.7% in 2012 to 4.7% in 2013.
In 2017, gross domestic product (GDP) was pegged at $114.7 billion and the sectors responsible for this were mostly tourism, telecoms, textile, mining and oil and gas sectors. The mining sector which accounts for 50% of its GDP primarily boosted Morocco’s economy.
Aside exporting agricultural products like vegetables, maize, yam, cereals and legumes, the country has a high youth unemployment rate with looming large external debt due to corruption of government managing the country’s resources.
7. Libya, GDP $67.622 Billion
Heavily dependent on oil which accounts for 80% of its GDP, Libya’s economy declined sharply in 2013 due to oil blockades but is expected to improve in the coming years.
8. Sudan, GDP $65 Billion
Agriculture and mining and the inflow from oil transit fees and the Transitional Financial Arrangement with South Sudan helped increase the nation’s GDP in 2013 by 3.6%.
Sudan is ranked as the eighth largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $65 billion. This averages about 4% in terms of its annual growth rate from 2016. The only problem is that Sudan’s political conflicts has seen development stall in this country.
9. Kenya, GDP $56.3 Billion
Kenya is also among Africa’s largest economy this 2019 even though it experienced a slow down in its growth in 2017. But by boosting tourism, financial intermediation, agriculture and construction, Kenya experienced growth again in the first three quarters of 2018 at 5.2%, 4.3% and 4.6% respectively.
10. Ethiopia, GDP $51 Billion
During the last decade, Ethiopia’s growth has been on the increase, peaking at 9.7% in 2016.
11. Ghana, GDP $50 Billion
Having maintained an average growth rate of around 6% for the past six years, Ghana’s growth however decelerated to 4.4% in 2013, significantly lower than the 7.9% recorded in 2012.
12. Tunisia, GDP $45.611 Billion
Due to political slow down, fragile context and stagnation in the euro zone, Tunisia’s growth has slowed a bit. The country’s growth of 2.6% in 2013 was below the expected 4.5%. In 2012, Tunisia’s growth rate was 3.7%.
13. Tanzania, GDP $52.06 Billion
The major growth drivers of Tanzania are financial intermediation, transport, agriculture, communications, construction and manufacturing. Current GDP growth is around 7%.
Tanzania’s GDP according to IMF stood at $52.06 billion in 2017 with the country’s workforce divided between the agricultural sector, mining sector, manufacturing sector, and telecommunications industry.
Tanzania depends heavily on agriculture but also have minerals which its exports.
14. Democratic Republic of Congo, GDP $30.8 Billion
The GDP growth of Democratic Republic of Congo continues to rise. In 2012, it was 7.2% and it rose to 8.1% in 2013. Mining, trade, agriculture and construction are big contributors to the GDP growth of the Democratic Republic of Congo with mining the chief growth driver.
15. Ivory Coast, GDP $32 Billion
Ivory Coast grew by 8.8% in 2013 largely due to major public works projects and the growth is expected to rise in the coming years to around 9%.
16. Cameroon, GDP $30 Billion
Despite being affected by political and security crises, Cameroon’s economy has remained stable. Only the tertiary sector drove growth in 2013 and this accounts for 47.8% of GDP.
17. Uganda, GDP $23.053 Billion
Having experienced a GDP growth by 2.5% in 2013, Uganda is rightly placed on this list of largest economies in Africa. The country is on track to achieve its millennium development goals and it is also boosted by the reduction in poverty. Poverty dropped from 24.5% in 2009/10 to 22.2% in 2012/13.
18. Zambia, GDP $22.416 Billion
Zambia’s growth in real terms decreased mainly because of a reduction in agricultural output. 70% of the country’s export earnings is contributed by copper.
19. Gabon, GDP $20.664 Billion
Gabon’s GDP grew by 5.5%; this happened thanks to vigorous public investment, rising oil prices, membership of the franc zone, revenue from mining and private investments.
20. Equatorial Guinea, GDP $15.396 Billion
This nation benefits more from oil and gas. It experienced economic recession in 2013 and this led to the fall in oil revenue in that country which brought about lower oil and gas output. Equatorial Guinea experienced negative GDP growth of – 1.4% after a positive 5.3% growth in 2012.
Please note that this list of 20 African countries with the largest economies is subject to change.