Many of the world’s poorest nations are in Africa. Most economies are unstable and poverty is widespread. There are, however, some African countries have the fastest-growing economies in the world. The largest components of the African economy are agriculture, trade, and natural resources and the African economy is expected to reach a GDP of $29 trillion by 2050.
While there are several ways to compare the wealth of a nation, one of the best ways to measure is by taking a look at the purchasing gross domestic product – or GDP – of a nation. This is the value of the goods and services that come from a nation for a period of one year. GDP does not consider the difference in the cost of living and inflation rates between countries as GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) does.
To determine the wealthiest African countries, information from the 2017 International Monetary Fund data was used to determine each country’s GDP. The top five wealthiest African countries are:
- Equatorial Guinea ($34,865)
- Seychelles ($28,172)
- Mauritius ($21,628)
- Gabon ($19,266)
- Botswana ($18,146)
Equatorial Guinea has the highest GDP per capita in Africa of $34,865, 56.50% of which comes from industry and 45.00% comes from services. With a relatively low population of 1.2 million, the GDP remains relatively high. However, income inequality is extreme in Equatorial Guinea. Despite Equatorial Guinea’s economic growth, the country is ranked 138 out of 188 countries based on the Human Development Index by the United Nations.
South Africa’s GDP per capita is $13,403 and the South Africa GDP is $358.8 billion. The sectors of the South African economy are service, tourism, manufacturing, natural resources, agriculture and food processing, and business processing outsourcing.
When determining which countries are the most developed, the Human Development Index (HDI) is used by quantifying their development, such as life expectancy, healthcare, and education, and setting it on a scale of 0 to 1. HDI is set on a scale that ranges from 0 to 1, with four different classifications of low human developed (0-.55), medium human development (.55-.70), high human development (.70-80), and very high human development (.80-1.0).
The most developed countries in Africa, based on their Human Development Index score, are:
- Seychelles (.797)
- Mauritius (.79)
- Algeria (.754)
- Tunisia (.735)
- Botswana (.717)
- Libya (.706)
- Gabon (.702)
Unsurprisingly, four of the five countries with the highest GDPs in Africa are among the most developed countries in Africa.
The richest man in Africa is Aliko Dangote, who has a net worth of $14.1 billion. When he was 21, Dangote borrowed $3,000 from his uncle to start his business of importing and selling agricultural goods in Nigeria. His business empire, Dangote Group, is a multinational industrial conglomerate, the largest in West Africa, and is one of the largest private-sector employers in Nigeria with over 30,000 employees.
Below is a table of each African country’s GDP per capita and the percentage of GDP from agriculture, industry, and services.