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Want to know which is the richest African country? Here’s an updated list of the richest countries in Africa 2019 by GDP (PPP) per capita.

Wealth can be measured in many ways, but one of the most commonly used techniques to accomplish this complex measurement is to use GDP (PPP) per capita. This is done by taking the value of all final goods and services produced within a country and dividing by the country’s total population.

The value given is displayed in international dollars, which is a hypothetical currency that follows the same value as USD. These updated numbers come from the latest purchasing power parity statistics from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The same technique is also used to rank the richest countries in the world

Seychelles

Seychelles is the richest nation in Africa by GDP per capita, and it ranks high worldwide as well. Seychelles is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean which is home to some 100 000 people. 

The main focus of the economy in Seychelles is tourism and fishing. The island nation has become quite famous as a honeymoon destination, and there are several luxurious resorts attracting tourists from all over the world. 

GDP per capita: 31.81 thousand

Seychelles is the richest country in Africa

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Mauritius

Mauritius is another wealthy island nation in Africa, and just like Seychelles, the majority of the GDP comes from tourism.

The Human Development Index of Mauritius is the highest in Africa and it’s a thriving nation where manufacturing, financial services, and communications technology are some of the additional contributors to the GDP. 

GDP per capita: 25.03 thousand

Mauritius resort

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Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish speaking country in Africa, and also one of the richest countries in Africa by GDP per capita. Some 1.2 million people live in this relatively small nation on the west coast of Central Africa.

The major contributors to the economy of Equatorial Guinea are oil, forestry, farming, and fishing. Large oil reserves were found in 1996, and since then the country has become one of the largest oil producers in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

France, China, and the United States are some of the country’s main export partners.

GDP per capita: 21.44 thousand

Equatorial Guinea

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Gabon

Gabon has one of the highest GDP per capita in Africa, and this is mostly due to the oil sector, which accounts for 50% of the GDP. Manganese and timber processing are some of the other main contributors.

The United States, China, and South Africa are some of Gabon’s main export partners.

GDP per capita: 19.16 thousand

Gabon port

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Botswana

Botswana is typically considered one of the safest countries in Africa, and it’s also one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Some 80% of the people are working within agriculture, although it only represents 3% of the GDP.

Minerals account for the majority of GDP, where Diamond mining is most prominent. In recent years, tourism has increased and is currently seen as an important part of the economy.

Botswana has a population of 2.3 million people and is located in southern Africa with borders to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Angola.

GDP per capita: 18.65 thousand

Botswana economy

Photo: Vadim Nefedoff/Shutterstock

Algeria

Algeria is home to some 43 million people and is one of the richest countries in Africa both by GDP per capita, and nominal GDP. The economy has seen growth for several decades, and there are great possibilities for boosting the Algerian economy further.

The main exports of Algeria are petroleum and natural gas, and the main export partners to Algeria are Italy, Spain, and France. 

GDP per capita: 15.77 thousand

wealthy african countries

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Egypt

Egypt is famous for the pyramids and rich marine life, but it’s also one of the richest countries in Africa, both by GDP per capita as well as nominal GDP. The main exports from Egypt are crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals, and agricultural goods.

Cairo is the capital of Egypt, and it’s currently one of the largest cities in the world with a total population of 20,5 million people. 

GDP per capita: 14.03 thousand

Egypt economy

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South Africa

South Africa has a nominal GDP of 376.679 billion dollars and is currently the second richest country in Africa according to GDP. However, measured by GDP per capita, the country “only” ranks in 8th place. 

The South African economy has seen growth for the last decades, and it’s one of the most developed African countries. It’s also the only African nation that is a member of the G20. 

GDP per capita: 13.87 thousand

Wealthy nations in Africa

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Tunisia

France, Italy, and Germany are the main export partners to Tunisia, and the main export goods are clothing, agricultural products, phosphates, and chemicals as well as hydrocarbons and electrical equipment.

Before the Arab Spring in 2011, Tunisia’s economy was seen as a success story in Africa, but since then it has had slower growth and higher unemployment rate. Tourism remains an important part of the local economy as well. 

GDP per capita: 12.8 thousand

rich country in Africa

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Libya

Most of the revenue of the Libyan economy comes from the petroleum sector, which accounts for 95% of all exports and 60% of the total GDP. Until 2010, Libya had seen stable economic growth for many years, but the Libyan Civil War resulted in a shrinking economy.

The local economy rebounded the year after but was later crashed again due to the second Libyan Civil War. Today it’s slowly growing back to pre-war levels, and Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa.

GDP per capita: 12.05 thousand

Libya

Photo: TheRunoman/Shutterstock

The richest nations in Africa by GDP

Another way of measuring wealth is to take the total GDP for each country, where the highest GDP makes it the wealthiest. This type of measurement also uses the GDP numbers by the IMF but isn’t divided by the country’s population. 

RankCountryGDP 
1Nigeria397.472 billion dollars
2South Africa376.679 billion dollars
3Egypt249.471 billion dollars
4Algeria188.342 billion dollars
5Morocco118.178 billion dollars
6Angola114.504 billion dollars
7Kenya89.591 Billion dollars
8Ethiopia83.836 billion dollars
9Tanzania55.645 billion dollars
10Ghana51.815 billion dollars
 
Richest nation in Africa by GDP

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More about the Richest Countries in Africa

Using the only GDP thus means that countries with larger populations usually have a higher GDP. For example, Nigeria is the richest country in Africa by GDP and Seychelles is the richest country in Africa by GDP per capita.

However, Nigeria has a population of more than 190 million people, whereas Seychelles only has around 100 000 people. That makes the measurement of GDP only to be unfair, and it doesn’t really show the whole picture.

Many of the richest countries in Africa by GDP also have a lot of poverty, and there is a huge gap between the richest people in Africa and the poorest people. That is also why GDP per capita is the preferred way of measuring the richest countries in Africa. 

More about the richest countries in Africa

Photo: Ogunpitan Adeyemi / Shutterstock.com

Africa is known for being home to some of the poorest countries in the world, and there are still several countries which suffer from civil wars and corruption. But there are also many countries which are doing well and have consistent economic growth.

The African continent is one of the richest areas on the planet when it comes to natural resources, so there is huge potential for many African countries if they can remain stable and stop corruption. 

Seychelles, Mauritius, Algeria, and Tunisia are some of the African countries that rank in the top 100 in the Human Development Index.

Which country in Africa has the strongest economy?

Nigeria has the strongest economy in Africa with a GDP of 397.472 billion dollars. 

Which is the richest country in Africa 2019?

Seychelles is the richest country in Africa by GDP per capita, and Nigeria is the wealthiest country in Africa by total GDP. 


Were you surprised by any of the richest countries in Africa? Leave a comment below!