Top 10 Largest Economies in East Africa (2024)

The countries below have the top 10 largest economies in East Africa. They are considered to be the economic powerhouses of the East African region and are responsible for a significant portion of the region’s GDP. Some of these countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia are considered as the most developed economies in the region while others are still developing. These economies are driven by different sectors such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and service sector.

Top 10 Largest Economies in East Africa, 2024

Ethiopia tops the list of largest economies in East Africa with a GDP of $126.78 billion. Agriculture accounts for almost half of Ethiopia’s total GDP. The primary industries include mining and petroleum, Agriculture and more.

Kenya ranks as the second-largest economy in East Africa, with an economy that relies mainly on tourism, agriculture and construction.

1. Ethiopia – $126.78 billion

Top 10 Largest Economies in East Africa, 2022

With a GDP of $126.78 billion, Ethiopia stands as one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is the largest economy in East Africa. Its economic growth has been mainly driven by the services and agriculture sectors. Ethiopia’s strategic location and government’s focus on industrialization and infrastructure development have made it an attractive destination for foreign investment and trade. The country’s youthful population, improving business environment, and expanding telecommunications sector further contribute to its economic dynamism.

2. Kenya – $113.42 billion

Kenya has the second Largest Economy in East Africa

Boasting a GDP of $113.42 billion, Kenya holds the second-largest economy in East Africa and the 7th  largest economy in Africa. Nairobi serves as a major regional commercial hub, and the country’s economic growth is fueled by tourism, financial intermediation, agriculture, and construction. Kenya’s strong performance in tourism, higher education, and telecommunications has contributed to its steady economic expansion. Additionally, Kenya’s ambitious Vision 2030 development plan aims to transform the country into a newly industrialized, middle-income nation by 2030.

3. Tanzania – $75.71 billion

Tanzania has the third Largest Economy in East Africa

With a GDP of $75.71 billion, Tanzania ranks as the third-largest economy in East Africa and the eleventh largest in Africa overall. The country’s economy heavily relies on agriculture, which employs about half of its workforce. Tourism, mining, and natural gas exploration are also significant contributors to Tanzania’s economic landscape. Tanzania’s efforts to improve infrastructure, attract foreign investment, and develop strategic sectors have contributed to its steady economic growth.

4. Sudan – $51.66 billion

Largest economies in East Africa

Sudan’s GDP of $51.66 billion places it as a prominent economy in East Africa. Its economic growth is driven primarily by mining and agriculture, as well as income from oil transit fees and a transitional financial arrangement with South Sudan. Sudan’s economy has witnessed transformation amid political changes and efforts to attract foreign investment. However, it also faces challenges related to fiscal management, diversification, and post-conflict recovery.

5. Uganda – $45.56 billion

Uganda has the fourth Largest Economy in East AfricaWith a GDP of $45.56 billion, Uganda is the fourth-largest economy in East Africa. The country has experienced accelerated economic growth, supported by the services sector, mining output, and steady agricultural growth. Uganda’s ample natural resources, including fertile land and mineral deposits, play a crucial role in driving its economic progress. However, Uganda also faces challenges related to infrastructure development, education, and governance.

6. Zambia – $29.78 billion

Largest Economy in East Africa

Zambia’s GDP stands at $29.78 billion, and it has been one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa during the early 21st century. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on copper mining, though it has faced challenges due to declining copper prices, fiscal deficits, and energy shortages. Zambia’s government has been implementing reforms to attract investment, diversify the economy, and address macroeconomic imbalances.

7. Zimbabwe – $20.68 billion

Which country has the Largest economy in Eastern Africa Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife, much of it within parks, reserves and safari areas.

With a GDP of $20.68 billion, the economy of Zimbabwe is the seventh largest economy in Eastern Africa and the eighteenth largest economy in Africa.

The main foreign exports of Zimbabwe are minerals, gold, and agriculture. Tourism also plays a key role in Zimbabwe’s economy.

8. Mozambique – $17.85 billionEastern Africa largest economy

Mozambique’s GDP is $17.85 billion, and its economy is primarily driven by agriculture, industry, and services sectors. Fiscal reforms, including the introduction of a value-added tax and customs service reforms, have contributed to improved government revenue collection. The country’s natural gas discoveries have also provided potential for significant economic growth and foreign investment.

9. Madagascar – $14.95 billion

Largest Economy in East Africa 2022Madagascar’s GDP in 2023 is estimated at US$14.95 billion, making it the 9th largest economy in East Africa.

Madagascar registered sporadic economic growth from 2017 through 2019 and then suffered a contraction in 2020. Growth resumed in 2021 and is expected to pick up to 4.2% in 2023 and 4.6% in 2024, driven by a modest rebound in consumer spending and private investment.

The agriculture sector constituted 29 percent of Malagasy GDP in 2021. With insufficient domestic demand, Madagascar’s economy is dependent on the exportation of their agricultural products. Madagascar’s other sources of growth are tourism, agriculture and the extractive industries.

10. Malawi – $13.16 billion

Economy of Malawi

Malawi, with a GDP of $13.16 billion, holds the tenth position among the largest economies in East Africa. Agriculture constitutes a significant portion of Malawi’s economy, and the country has made substantial investments in the sector. Additionally, the services industry also contributes to its economic growth. Despite facing challenges related to food insecurity and natural disasters, Malawi’s economy has shown resilience and potential for further growth.

Top 10 Largest Economies in East Africa, 2024

Rank Country GDP (in billions)
1 Ethiopia $126.78
2 Kenya $113.42
3 Tanzania $75.71
4 Sudan $51.66
5 Uganda $45.56
6 Zambia $29.78
7 Zimbabwe $20.68
8 Mozambique $17.85
9 Madagascar $14.95
10 Malawi $13.16


Source: World Bank World Bank National Accounts Database.

Last modified in May 2024.

Mr Madu
Mr Madu
Mr Madu is a freelance writer, a lover of Africa and a frequent hiker who loves long, vigorous walks, usually on hills or mountains.

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