The story of Africa is a story of two contrasting tales! It is the second biggest and the most underdeveloped continent in the world. Despite being the world’s most undeveloped continent, is the most resource-rich territory on the planet. It is often referred to as the world’s raw materials deposit. However, most of Africa’s natural resources are exported unprocessed via poorly negotiated contracts, which are not particularly lucrative for Africans. Properly exploiting these resources, implementing sound economic policies, and equitable profit distribution will undoubtedly alleviate Africa’s poverty. This article lists the top 15 richest countries in Africa in (2023) based on GDP per capita, as estimated by IMF.
The richest countries in Africa are found in the Eastern and Southern regions, with Seychelles, Mauritius, and Equatorial Guinea being the top three in terms of GDP per capita. These countries have experienced significant economic growth due to natural resources, tourism, and foreign investment. However, they also face challenges such as income inequality and poverty.
Top 15 Richest Countries in Africa (2023)
Some countries stand out from the others due to their large GDPs, an abundance of resources, and robust economies, making them the richest countries in the Africa. In addition, these countries also have some of the continent’s largest economies. The following list examines some of the richest nations in Africa in more detail, focusing on their distinctive qualities and what makes them stand out.
GDP per capita (USD): 19,54 thousand
Seychelles is the richest country in Africa in terms of GDP per capita which is estimated to be $19,54 by IMF. It has a population of fewer than 100,000. The economy is primarily driven by tourism, accounting for around 70% of its GDP. Seychelles’ high-income status is attributed to its strong fisheries industry.
Despite its small size, Seychelles has a well-developed infrastructure and a high standard of living. The country has invested heavily in education and healthcare, offering free primary and secondary education and a universal healthcare system. The stable political environment has attracted foreign investment and boosted economic growth.
GDP per capita (USD): 11,55 thousand
With a GDP per capita of 11,55 thousand, Mauritius ranks as one of the richest countries in Africa 2023. Following several decades of strong growth, Mauritius has emerged as one of the wealthiest countries in Africa.
The country ranks 1st in Africa and 13th worldwide in the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report. It is also one of the five fastest growing high-income markets in the world.
3. Equatorial Guinea
GDP per capita (USD): 9,78 thousand
Equatorial Guinea, despite being small, is one of Africa’s wealthiest countries due to its strong oil and gas industry, contributing significantly to its GNI per capita. The country is actively working on a socio-economic transformation strategy, leveraging its oil wealth to improve the standard of living for its citizens.
GDP per capita (USD): 9,29 thousand
Gabon, with a GDP per capita of 17,848.29, is one of Africa’s richest countries, with a per capita income four times higher than most sub-Saharan African nations. Due to high-income inequality, the majority of the population remains poor. Gabon’s economy, rich in natural resources like oil, minerals, and timber, is thriving, resulting in a GDP per capita ranking among Africa’s top performers.
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GDP per capita (USD): 7,27 thousand
Botswana, known for its diamond production, has a well-managed economy and political stability, reflected in its impressive GDP per capita. Its economic record is largely based on prudent fiscal policies and cautious foreign policy, making it the least corrupt African country.
GDP per capita (USD): 7,07 thousand
Kenya is one of the richest countries in Africa by GDP per capita. It is a hub of innovation and technology, home to the “Silicon Savannah” and a booming service sector. With a GDP per capita of 7,07 thousand, Kenya made it to the list of 15 richest countries in 2023.
The primary economic sectors include agriculture, forestry, mining, manufacturing, energy, tourism, and financial services. Kenya has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest economy, after Nigeria and South Africa. The government maintains an open foreign economic exchange system and a market economy with a few state-owned firms.
GDP per capita (USD): 6,76 thousand
Libya’s oil reserves significantly contribute to its GDP per capita, making it one of the wealthiest African nations. The petroleum sector accounts for over 95% of export earnings and 60% of GDP. With a low population, Libya enjoys a GDP per capita 6,76 thousand.
8. South Africa
GDP per capita (USD): 6,49 thousand
South Africa, the third-richest country in Africa, has a two-speed economy, with one sector being industrialized and the other in need of basic infrastructure. The country’s natural resource extraction industry contributes 13.5 billion dollars annually to the GDP, but has diversified since the end of apartheid, particularly in the services sector.
South Africa accounts for 25% of the continent’s economy and plays a significant role in the region’s growth. The financial sector contributed $41.4 billion to the GDP in 2019, and by 2021, it was handling over $1.41 trillion in assets.
South Africa, the most industrialized country in Africa, has a broad economy focusing on mining, manufacturing, and service industries. With a 6,49 thousand GDP per capita, it is one of the richest countries in Africa. However, its economic development is hindered by the inability to deliver commodities to big hubs and inconsistent power supply.
South Africa also offers a diverse range of possibilities, landscapes, and cultures. One of the most valued currencies in Africa is the South African Rand.
GDP per capita (USD): 5,1 thousand
Namibia has a GDP per capita of 5,1 thousand and this earns it a place on our list of the top 10 richest nations in Africa in (2023). Although the majority of the population works in subsistence agriculture, there are still many highly skilled professionals and managers in the nation. However, there are severe disparities in the income distribution and level of living in the nation, despite its higher-middle class
GDP per capita (USD): 4,07 thousand
Tunisia is ranked among the richest countries in Africa by GDP per capita. It has a population of over 12.04 million and the economy is driven by industry and services. The country has invested heavily in education and healthcare, offering free primary and secondary education and a universal healthcare system.
The country has a strong market-based economy and relatively liberal social policies, contrary to its regional neighbors. Economy of Tunisia primarily depends on oil, phosphates, agri-food products, car parts manufacturing and tourism.
GDP per capita (USD): 3,75 thousand
Morocco has one of the highest GDP per capita in Africa. The country’s primary export industries are the automobile industry (28.5%), agricultural and agri-food sector (21.8%), and phosphates. Morocco owns the world’s largest deposits of phosphates. Tourism, accounting for 7% of the GDP, contributes significantly to Morocco’s status.
The country’s economy is diversified, with agriculture employing 43% of its active population despite accounting for just 14% of GDP. Morocco’s economy grew by 5.0% in 2009, partly due to over-protectionism of Moroccan banks and the success of the agricultural sector. It is among the top 30 countries for offshore industry growth due to its geographical and cultural proximity.
Morocco is one of the continent’s most unequal nations, with poor social mobility and assets dependent on inheritance.
GDP per capita (USD): 3,64 thousand
Egypt is located in northeast Africa and surrounded by the Nile River Valley . It is the among the richest countries in Africa in terms of GDP per capita, Its economy, largely centralized under President Gamal Abdel Nasser, was liberalized under Presidents Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. Between 2006 and 2008, Egypt underwent reforms and economic openness programs to attract international investment and drive development.
The country’s robust economy is based on tourism, agriculture, and the energy sector, and has captivated the world both culturally and economically. Its GDP per capita is higher than Nigeria’s at 3,64 thousand U.S. dollars. Egypt’s economy is diverse and the largest in North Africa, with 16% of GDP attributable to the manufacturing sector and 13% to wholesale and retail commerce.
However, a significant 40% of the population lives below the poverty line, causing political and civic instability and a revolution.
GDP per capita (USD): 3,2 thousand
Angola made our list of the top 10 richest countries in the world by GDP per capita. The country has experienced significant economic growth between 2002 and 2016, with an average of 9% growth in the period leading up to 2008. The country’s economy, heavily reliant on oil and minerals, experienced an average of 11.1% growth between 2000 and 2010, resulting in a surge in non-oil sectors and recognition as the richest country in Central Africa.
However, Angola’s international human development indices remain dismal, with 54.8% of the population in severe poverty. The oil wealth is concentrated among a few political elites, and the financial system is heavily reliant on the oil industry.
GDP per capita (USD): 2,28 thousand
Nigeria, Africa’s richest country, has a GDP per capita of $2,28 thousand and is the second-largest oil producer. With 211 million residents, Nigeria’s economy is lower-middle-income, focusing on petroleum and agriculture. It is an emerging market with growing sectors in manufacturing, financial, service, communications, technology, and entertainment.
Most of Nigeria’s economic advancement is concentrated in the south, particularly around Lagos. Nigeria’s wealth has led to Lagos being Africa’s 5th largest economy.
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GDP per capita (USD): 2,02 thousand
Ghana, a major petroleum and natural gas producer with the world’s largest crude oil reserves, is the tenth-richest country in Africa. Agriculture, particularly cocoa and gold, contributes about half of the GDP. Gold is the largest commercially exploited resource, accounting for over 95% of mining earnings. The country is ranked one of the richest countries in Africa with a GDP per capita of 2.02 thousand as of 2023, according to IMF.
However, the country’s economic performance is influenced by climatic conditions and international commodity prices, which can negatively impact agricultural productivity. The industrial sector, which accounts for 10% of GDP, is undeveloped and inefficient. Tourism has emerged as a primary revenue source.
Africa is the most resource-rich region on the planet and is also the second-largest and least developed continent. Despite having the world’s largest reserve of raw materials, the majority of Africa’s natural resources are exported in their unprocessed state, making them unprofitable for Africans. Poverty may be reduced through appropriate exploitation, sensible economic principles, and fair profit sharing. The Eastern and Southern areas of Africa are home to the top 15 richest nations; the top three in terms of GDP per capita are Seychelles, Mauritius, and Equatorial Guinea. Inequality of income and poverty are issues they also deal with.