Top 20 Largest Economies in Africa

Largest Economies in Africa

With an area of about 30.2 million square kilometers, Africa is world’s second largest continent. It is also world’s second most populous continent. 1.111 billion people (2013) live in Africa.

Algeria is the largest country (by area) in Africa; and Nigeria is the largest country by population. In early 2014 Nigeria surpassed South Africa as Africa’s largest economy.

Here is a brief overview of the largest economies in Africa:

20. Equatorial Guinea – GDP: $15.396 billion

Oil and gas contribute significantly to Equatorial Guinea’s economy. The economy of Equatorial Guinea was affected by recession in 2013. It was due to fall in revenue from oil and lower oil and gas output. It experienced negative GDP growth of -1.4 percent after positive 5.3 percent growth in 2012. Experts estimate negative growth in 2014 (-1.8 percent) and 2015 (-8.5 percent).

Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea

19. Gabon – GDP: $20.664 Billion

Vigorous public investment, revenue from forestry, rising oil prices, revenue from mining, membership of the franc zone and private investment have contributed to Gabon’s macroeconomic stability. The country’s GDP grew by 5.5 percent in 2013.

Libreville Gabon

18. Zambia – GDP: $22.416 Billion

Zambia’s growth in real terms decreased to 6.5 percent in 2013. This was mainly due to a reduction in agricultural output. Copper contributes about 70 percent to the nation’s export earnings.


17. Uganda – GDP: $23.053 Billion

Absolute poverty continued to drop, from 24.5 percent in 2009/10 to 22.2 percent in 2012/13. The nation is on track to achieve its Millennium Development Goal for poverty reduction by 2015. The nation’s GDP grew by 5.2 percent in 2013.


16. Cameroon – GDP: $30 Billion

Cameroon has to use growth to reduce poverty. However it has remained stable in a region that is affected by political and security crises. Growth in 2013 was driven by the tertiary sector, which accounted for 47.8 percent of GDP.

Yaounde City Cameroon

15. Ivory Coast – GDP: $32 Billion

Ivory Coast grew by 8.8 percent in 2013. This is largely due to major public works projects. The growth rate is estimated to be around 9 percent in the next two years. Prospects of the nation are bright.

Abijan City, Cote d'Ivoire - Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast

14. Democratic Republic of Congo – GDP: $30.8 Billion

Mining, trade, agriculture and construction contributed to GDP growth of 8.1 percent in 2013. It was 7.2 percent in 2012. DRC’s economy remained robust in 2013. Mining has been the main driver of growth.

DRC Kinshasa
Democratic Republic of Congo

13. Tanzania – GDP: $36.6 Billion

The GDP growth of around 7 percent is driven by communications, financial intermediation, transport, agriculture, construction and manufacturing. Investments in infrastructure will definitely support growth.

12. Tunisia – GDP: $45.611 Billion

The nation’s growth of 2.6 percent in 2013 was below the forecast of 4.5 percent. The growth rate was 3.7 percent in 2012. This slowdown is due to political deadlock, fragile social context and stagnation in the euro zone.

Tunis Tunisia

11. Ghana – GDP: $50 Billion

Ghana had maintained an average growth of around 6 percent over the past six years. However, it decelerated to 4.4 percent in 2013, much lower than 7.9 percent recorded in 2012.

Accra Ghana

10. Ethiopia – GDP: $51 Billion

Ethiopia’s economy grew by 9.7 percent in 2012/13. Growth has been robust during the last decade.

Addis Ababa Ethiopia

9. Kenya – GDP: $56.3 Billion

Kenya’s growth in the first three quarters of 2013 (5.2 percent, 4.3 percent and 4.6 percent) was driven by tourism, financial intermediation, agriculture and construction. The nation is recovering from the slowdown it went through in 2011.


8. Sudan – GDP: $63 Billion

The nation’s real GDP grew by 3.6 percent in 2013. The growth was driven by mining and agriculture; and the inflows from oil transit fees and the transitional financial arrangement (TFA) with South Sudan.

Khartoum City Sudan

7. Libya – GDP: $67,622 Billion

Officially the State of Libya, this country had the highest HDI in Africa in 2009. The civil war and NATO led military intervention in 2011 affected the economy negatively. According to the Libyan Ministry of Economy, GDP declined sharply in 2013 due to oil blockades. It is expected to rebound during 2014/15. The nation’s economy depends upon revenue from the oil sector, which accounts for 80 percent of GDP.


6. Morocco – GDP: $114,7 Billion

Morocco’s GDP grew by 4.7 percent in 2013, much better than the growth rate of 2.7 in 2012. This is due to the country’s vibrant agricultural sector.


5. Angola GDP: $129.785 Billion

Officially the Republic of Angola, this country is a member state of the African Union. It is Africa’s second largest oil producer. Its economy grew by 5.1 percent in 2013, below the estimate of 7.1 percent. Growth was driven by agriculture, non-oil energy, fisheries, construction and manufacturing sectors.


4. Algeria – GDP: $219.453 Billion

Officially the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, this nation is the tenth largest country in the world and the largest country in Africa and the Mediterranean. Its economy performed well in 2013, growing by 3 percent. This is due to political stability. GDP growth was driven by investment by public enterprises and private demand. Unemployment fell slightly in 2013. Currently it stands at 9.8 percent.


3. Egypt – GDP: $275.748 Billion

Officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, this transcontinental country entered political uncertainty after the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Economic growth has been just above the 2 percent mark in the fiscal years 2011/12 and 2012/13. Egypt’s economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East. Tourism, agriculture, services and industry contribute to GDP growth significantly.


2. South Africa – GDP: $341.216 Billion

The slow pace of global economic growth continued to impact South Africa’s development negatively. With around 25 percent of the population without work, unemployment is the nation’s biggest social challenge. The growth reached 1.9 percent in 2013 compared to 2.5 percent in 2012.

South Africa

1. Nigeria – GDP: $594.257 Billion

Nigeria is classified as a mixed economy emerging market. Its stock exchange is the second largest in Africa. This federal constitutional republic rebased its GDP from 1990 to 2010. This resulted in an 89 percent increase in the estimated size of the economy. Due to this Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa.


Oil and gas revenue have contributed significantly to the economy of many nations in Africa. However, there is immense scope for improvement in the living conditions of many people in this wonderful continent.


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