Africa is home to a diverse array of economies, each contributing to the continent’s overall growth and development. Within this dynamic landscape, the top 20 largest economies in Africa play a pivotal role in driving regional and global economic trends. These economies, ranging from powerhouse nations to emerging markets, wield considerable influence in shaping Africa’s economic landscape. From Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy, to South Africa, the most industrialized nation, and countries like Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco, each boasting their own unique strengths and resources, these top 20 economies form the foundation of Africa’s economic prowess. Through their natural resources, vibrant industries, and innovative initiatives, these economies contribute significantly to Africa’s economic development, fostering opportunities for both domestic and international investors while driving socio-economic progress across the continent.
Top 10 Largest Economies In Africa (2023)
Nigeria tops the list of largest economies in Africa with a GDP of $477.39 billion. Petroleum accounts for more than half of Nigeria’s total GDP. The primary industries include mining and petroleum, Agriculture and more.
Egypt ranks as the second-largest economy in Africa, with an economy that relies mainly on agriculture, media, petroleum imports, natural gas, and tourism. At approximately 106.2 million inhabitants, Egypt is the 3rd-most populated country in Africa.
The third-wealthiest country in Africa is South Africa, with just over $405.87 billion. The economy of South Africa is considered the most industrialized in Africa. The economy and workforce of this country rely on several sectors, including: agriculture and food processing, tourism, financial services, services industry, business process outsourcing, and industrial manufacturing and mining.
Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $477.39 billion
1. Nigeria (GDP $477.39 Billion)
Nigeria’s economy stands as the largest in Africa, primarily driven by its oil sector, which contributes to almost one-third of the country’s GDP. The significant reliance on the oil industry plays a crucial role in shaping Nigeria’s economic landscape.
2. Egypt (GDP $476.75 Billion)
Egypt commands the second largest economy in Africa. Significant contributions to its GDP growth are attributed to sectors like tourism, agriculture, services, and industry.
Furthermore, Egypt holds the distinction of boasting the largest economy in North Africa, underscoring its pivotal role within the region’s economic landscape.
3. South Africa (GDP $405.87 Billion)
With a GDP of $405.87 billion, South Africa boasts the third largest economy in Africa, according to the IMF.
Being one of the most visited countries in Africa, South Africa’s tourism industry holds a pivotal position as a major component of the country’s economy. The influx of tourists contributes significantly to the nation’s economic prosperity and growth.
4. Algeria (GDP $191.91 Billion)
Officially the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Algeria is the tenth largest country in the world and the largest country in Africa and the Mediterranean. Its economy is the fourth largest in Africa and its GDP growth is driven mainly by investment by public enterprises and private demand.
5. Morocco (GDP $134.18 Billion)
Morocco’s economy is considered a relatively liberal economy governed by the law of supply and demand. Since 1993, the country has followed a policy of privatisation of certain economic sectors which used to be in the hands of the government. Thanks to these changes, Morocco has become a major player in African economic affairs, and is the 5th biggest economy in Africa by GDP.
6. Ethiopia (GDP $126.78 Billion)
According to the IMF, Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and one of the fastest-growing non-oil-dependent African economy in recent years.
The country has the largest economy in East Africa and is concentrated in the services and agriculture sectors.
Now worth at $126.78 billion, the GDP value of Ethiopia represents 0.12 percent of the world economy.
7. Kenya (GDP $113.42 Billion)
Kenya’s economy is the largest in eastern and central Africa and the 7th largest economy in Africa with Nairobi serving as a major regional commercial hub. Kenya’s growth is driven by tourism, financial intermediation, agriculture and construction.
In recent years, the economy has seen much expansion, seen by strong performance in tourism, higher education and telecommunications.
8. Angola (GDP $106.71 Billion)
Officially the Republic of Angola, this country is Africa’s second largest oil producer. Its Economic Growth is driven by agriculture, non-oil energy, fisheries, construction and manufacturing sectors.
Angola’s economy is the 8th largest in Africa valued at $106.71 billion.
Subsistence agriculture provides the main livelihood for 85% of the population. Oil production and the supporting activities are vital to the economy, contributing about 45% to GDP and 90% of exports.
9. Tanzania (GDP $75.71 Billion)
Tanzania has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 75.71 billion US dollars making it the 9th largest economy in Africa and the third largest economy in East Africa.
Tanzania is largely dependent on agriculture for employment, accounting for about half of the employed workforce.
10. Ghana – (GDP $72.84 billion)
Ghana is an average natural resource enriched country possessing industrial minerals, hydrocarbons and precious metals. It is an emerging designated digital economy with a mixed economy.
With a GDP of $72.84 billion, Ghana has the second largest economy in West Africa and the 10th largest economy in Africa.
Ghana is Africa’s second-biggest gold producer and second-largest cocoa producer. It is also rich in diamonds and oil.
11. Cote d’Ivoire – (GDP $70.02 billion)
Ivory Coast is among the world’s largest producers and exporters of coffee, cocoa beans, and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products and to weather conditions.
With a GDP total of $70.02 billion, Cote d’Ivoire has the 11th largest economy in Africa. The Ivorian economy is largely market-based and still relies heavily on agriculture.
12. DR Congo (GDP $58.07 Billion)
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country in Central Africa. The capital and largest city is Kinshasa, is world’s most populous Francophone city.
The country has a GDP of 58.07 billion making it the twelfth largest economy in Africa.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is widely considered one of the world’s richest countries in natural resources; its untapped deposits of raw minerals are estimated to be worth in excess of US$24 trillion. The Congo has 70% of the world’s coltan, a third of its cobalt, more than 30% of its diamond reserves, and a tenth of its copper.
13. Sudan (GDP $51.66 Billion)
Sudan’s GDP growth is driven mainly by mining and agriculture; and the inflows from oil transit fees and the transitional financial arrangement (TFA) with South Sudan.
14. Tunisia (GDP $46.66 Billion)
Considered the only democratic state in the Arab World, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index. Tunisia is one of the few countries in Africa ranking high in the Human Development Index, with one of the highest per capita incomes in the continent.
The country currently has the 14th largest economy in Africa and the fourth largest economy in North Africa.
15. Cameroon (GDP $44.34 Billion)
Cameroon boasts the 15th largest economy in Africa, with a total GDP of $44.34 billion. Over the past decade, the country has shown robust economic growth, with the GDP expanding at an average annual rate of 4%.
The nation’s major export markets comprise the Netherlands, France, China, Belgium, Italy, Algeria, and Malaysia. These trade partnerships play a vital role in supporting Cameroon’s economic development and growth.
16. Zambia (GDP $29.78 Billion)
Zambia is a developing country and it achieved middle-income status in 2011. Through the first decade of the 21st century, the economy of Zambia was one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and its capital, Lusaka the fastest growing city in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Zambia’s economic performance has stalled in recent years due to declining copper prices, significant fiscal deficits, and energy shortages.
17. Senegal (GDP $27.68 Billion)
The economy of Senegal is driven by mining, construction, tourism, fishing and agriculture, which are the main sources of employment in rural areas, despite abundant natural resources in iron, zircon, gas, gold, phosphates, and numerous oil discoveries recently.
18. Zimbabwe (GDP $20.68 Billion)
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.
Zimbabwe possesses the eighteenth largest economy in Africa, with a GDP amounting to $20.68 billion.
The country’s primary foreign exports consist of minerals, gold, and agricultural products. Additionally, tourism serves as a significant driving force in Zimbabwe’s economy.