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Top 10 richest countries in Africa (Updated 2019)

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Richest countries in Africa: Agriculture, human resources, and industry are the major components of the African economy. As of 2012, Africa housed 1.07 billion people in the 54 countries of the continent. Though the country is rich in resources, the people of the country have been exploited for decades and are poverty stricken. It is expected that the African economy will reach a GDP of $29 trillion by 2050.

However, it is also estimated that the disparity in income will deter the wealth distribution among the people of the continent. Currently, a number of African countries are among the poorest while others have some of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Here we discuss the ten Richest countries in Africa and the nature of their economies. All figures are from the 2017 International Monetary Fund data. Currently, Equatorial Guinea is the richest country in Africa, with a per capita income of $34,865.

10. Namibia – $11,528

Namibia can be found in Southern Africa. With a per capita GDP of $11,528, it is the tenth richest country in Africa. Mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism all play large parts in the country’s economy. The country is sparsely populated, with a population of around 2 million.

However, cost of living in Namibia remains relatively high. Many goods that are consumed within the country are imported, which contributes to their high costs. Furthermore, there is a monopoly over many commodities, which also further escalates this cost. The unemployment rate in Namibia is also high, at around 27.4%. The country today is characterized as an emerging economy.

9. Tunisia – $11,987

Tunisia is a country found in north Africa. Much of Tunisia’s economy has longtime been dependent on industries such as oil, tourism, and automobile parts. The 1970s saw a period of unstructured growth for the economy of the country. Today, the per capita income in Tunisia is $11,987, Africa’s 9th highest.

8. Egypt – $12,994

Egypt is a transcontinental country with territories stretching from Africa’s northeast corner to Asia’s southwest corner across the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt shares its borders with the Gaza Strip and Israel, the Red Sea, Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, Sudan, and Libya. Cairo is the capital of the country. It ranks ninth on our list with a per capita GDP of $12,994.

The economy of Egypt depends on agriculture, tourism, natural gas, and petroleum imports, as well as revenues from the Suez Canal. A large number of Egyptians also work abroad.

The remittances of these workers contribute to the wealth of the nation. Despite the abundant natural resources and nearness to the sea, overpopulation, desertification and decreasing water levels of the Nile are the major factors threatening the Egyptian economy. The infiltration of terrorist groups and internal rebellions also serve to damage the country’s economic stability.

7. South Africa – $13,403

South Africa, the southernmost country on the continent, is bordered by Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Mozambique. The country has a mixed type of economy and has a relatively high GDP compared to other African countries. Despite this fact, South Africa has high rates of unemployment, poverty, and a wide gap between the rich and the poor.

Nonetheless, it ranks eighth on the list with an average per capita income of $13,403.
South Africa is enlisted among the top 10 countries in the world for income inequality. The economic disparity among South Africa’s population is primarily a result of the apartheid regime in the country which ended in 1994. Gradual improvements in the country’s economy have occurred since then. Tourism is one of the biggest revenue generating industries in South Africa. Germany, US, Japan, and China are the biggest trade partners of South Africa outside of Africa.

6. Algeria – $15,000

Algeria , the largest country in Africa by land area, is located in the Northern part of the continent. It is the 6th richest country in Africa with a GDP per capita of $15,000. The country has a population of over 40 million. Like many countries on this list, it is considered by the World Bank to be an upper middle country.

Traditionally, the state has played a large role in the economy of Algeria. However, in recent years, the economy has diversified. To date, unemployment rates remain high, especially among youth. The country’s economy relies greatly on hydrocarbons (petroleum and natural gas).

5. Botswana – $18,146

Botswana is located in southern Africa. The country is known for its reputation as a stable democracy. It has a population of around 2.1 million, and a land area of around 224,610 square miles.

The economy of Botswana grew very quickly. It is considered to be a middle-income country. The country is also home to a highly sophisticated banking system and a low level of foregn debt. Metals and gemstones are important to the economy of Botswana, and include resources such as uranium, gold, diamonds, copper, and, to a lesser extent, gold.

4. Gabon – $19,266

A Central African country, Gabon is located on the west African coast and is bordered by Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and the Republic of the Congo. Libreville is the capital and biggest city of the country. It ranks fourth on this list with an average GDP of $19,266.

The economy of Gabon centers around oil. However, over recent decades, oil production in Gabon has been declining, with some experts predicting that it is soon to run out. The Gabonese government has been accused of overspending. Again, it is important to note that income inequality is not taken into consideration when per capita GDP is reported. A low population of 1,475,000 and a high amount of oil revenue explains Gabon’s position on the list of richest countries. However, many of its residents continue to live in poverty.

3. Mauritius – $21,628

Mauritius is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off of the southeast coast of the African continent. Throughout its history, the country has been at times a Dutch colony, a French colony, and a British colony. It has been independent since 1968 and has a population of around 1.3 million. It is the third richest country in Africa with a GDP per capita of $21,628.

The economy of Mauritius is greatly centered around tourism. Although agriculture used to play an important role in the country’s economy, its important has shrunken. The World Bank refers to Mauritius as an “upper middle income economy”. It has been applauded for its free economy. Tourists are drawn to Mauritius for its pleasant climate, beautiful beaches, and warm ocean water.

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2. Seychelles

Richest countries in Africa: Seychelles is also an island country found in the Indian Ocean. It is actually made up of around 115 small islands. With a population of only 92,000, it has the tiniest population of any country in Africa. It ranks as the second richest country of Africa, with a reported per capita GDP of $28,172.

Seychelles is characterized as a highly developed country. However, income inequality is also rampant. The country’s economy is largely based on tourism, by an overwhelming margin. Fishing and the processing of natural resources such as coconut also play a part. Before tourists began to visit the country, plantations used to drive the economy of Seychelles. In recent decades, the government has tried to come up with initiatives of how they can reduce their dependence on tourism. Although it has been suspected that Seychelles may harbor offshore oil reserves, to this date none have been found.

1. Equatorial Guinea – $34,865

Richest countries in Africa: Equatorial Guinea is a country located in Central Africa. It is relatively small, covering only around 10,830 square miles. The population measures at around 1,222,245. It is partly this low population that helps the GDP to remain relatively high. It comes in first place with a GDP per capita of $34,865. Although this number may appear to be high, on the UN’s Human Development Index, Equatorial Guinea ranks 136th. This is mostly due to the extreme income inequality that is found within the country. It is difficult to determine what exactly the median income for those living in Equatorial Guinea would be, as access to the country is still rather limited. Although the country’s GDP is very high, it has been noted that many residents of Equatorial Guinea lack basic rights such as access to clean water.

Richest countries in Africa: Rank Country GDP Per Capita (International Dollar)

1 Equatorial Guinea 34,865
2 Seychelles 28,712
3 Mauritius 21,628
4 Gabon 19,266
5 Botswana 18,146
6 Algeria 15,150
7 South Africa 13,403
8 Egypt 12,994
9 Tunisia 11,987
10 Namibia 11,528
11 Swaziland 9,882
12 Libya 9,792
13 Morocco 8,612
14 Cape Verde 6,942
15 Angola 6,813
16 Republic of the Congo 6,707
17 Nigeria 5,927
18 Ghana 4,605
19 Sudan 4,580
20 Mauritania 4,474
21 Zambia 3,997
22 Lesotho 3,869
23 Cote d’Ivoire 3,857
24 Djibouti 3,567
25 Kenya 3,496
26 Cameroon 3,359
27 Tanzania 3,283
28 Sao Tome and Principe 3,208
29 Senegal 2,678
30 Chad 2,433
31 Uganada 2,352
32 Zimbabwe 2,277
33 Benin 2,219
34 Mali 2,169
35 Ethiopia 2,113
36 Guinea 2,039
37 Rwanda 2,018
38 Burkina Faso 1,884
39 Guinea-Bissau 1,806
40 Sierra Leone 1,791
41 The Gambia 1,686
42 Togo 1,612
43 Comoros 1,560
44 Madagascar 1,554
45 South Sudan 1,503
46 Eritrea 1,434
47 Mozambique 1,266
48 Malawi 1,172
49 Niger 1,153
50 Liberia 867
51 Burundi 808
52 Democratic Republic of the Congo 785
53 Central African Republic 681
54 Somalia NA

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