BY MADUABUCHI EFEGADI
A new survey listing Africa’s top 10 richest economies shows each of the nations’ resilience despite the ravaging effects of Covid-19 pandemic. Nigeria, with $446.54 billion gross domestic product (GDP), sits on top of Africa’s 10 biggest economies in 2021, despite its weak productive economic base to date, mounting insecurity, and huge infrastructure deficit, according to a survey.
The survey by We Love Africa, said Nigeria with a population of more than 200 million is regarded as Africa’s important country. It added that petroleum exports accounts for 10 percent of Nigeria’s GDP contribution, but constitutes over 90 percent of its foreign revenue earnings. The survey group listed that, although Nigeria was currently burdened by insecurity, over-dependence on a mono-product economy, crude oil, it is still a destination of choice for a good number of foreign investors, which are attracted by the country’s significant demographics.
South Africa, the Nelson Mandela country, with a GDP of $358.84 billion is in the second position. As the southernmost country on the continent, the rainbow nation prides itself as one of the fastest developing economies in the world to date. With a well-developed economy, excellent infrastructure, South Africa is one of the few countries among Africa continent’s top 10 economies that does not rely on a single source of income. Mining, manufacturing, financial services and tourism are among the important industries in the country. Natural resources, raw materials exports such as gold, diamond, platinum, coal and iron ore are also in plentiful quantities. It is one of the world’s top exporters of these minerals, especially gold and diamond. South Africa is also known around the world as a major tourist nation, and it places high value on tourism. Political turbulence and global trends have, however, hampered its growth potentials. After witnessing four quarters of negative growth, the country was forced into recession, and GDP has slowed, increasing only by 0.2 percent in 2019. South Africa holds one of the world’s inequalities.
According to the survey, Egypt, a North African giant, with a GDP of $302.26 billion, is the continent’s third biggest economy. For many years, this ancient territory in North Africa held the title as Africa’s richest economy. The Arab Spring of 2011 caused the economy to plummet significantly. Over the recent decade, the economy has stabilised and witnessed growth. The government and the IMF recently completed an economic reform package aimed at improving and strengthening the country’s economy. In 2019, real GDP grew by 5.6 percent, up from the predicted 5.3 percent in 2018. Unemployment has decreased, foreign exchange has increased, export has grown and foreign reserves have seen increase. Petroleum and natural gas exports, tourism, wholesale, real estate, retail trade and construction are Egypt’s economic mainstays. In recent years, Egypt’s economy has been diversified with raw materials export, service employment accounting for more than half of the GDP.
However, Egypt may suffer economic problems with many of the population still living in poverty, with unemployment and a shaky health care system still visible.
Algeria is in fourth place among Africa’s top 10 richest economies in 2021. With a GDP of $172.81 billion, it is Africa’s largest country in the North. It has a large economy with a well-established infrastructure. It made tremendous progress by reducing poverty by 20 percent in the last 20 years, the survey said.
Morocco, with a GDP of $119.04 billion, running a diverse and steady economy, with growth in a variety of sectors during the last decade, is Africa’s fifth biggest economy. It is Africa’s second richest non-oil producing nation. Mining and manufacturing are the country’s economic mainstays. Industry accounts for 30 percent of Morocco’s GDP, agriculture accounts for 15 percent of the economy, with the services sector taking up a whopping 55 percent GDP contribution. Morocco also has a burgeoning tourism industry with residents embracing the government’s new emphasis on recruiting workers that take visitors to the country’s well-known tourist sites.
Morocco is the world’s third biggest producer of phosphorus, relying primarily on agriculture. The country had reaped significantly from its diverse exports such as electrical equipment, autos and vehicle parts. Among other things, the country’s telecom and textile industries contribute significantly to its GDP. However, its growth stifled due to internal issues, as real GDP grew only 2.7 percent falling in 2019 short of World Bank’s forecast of 2.9 percent.
In sixth place is Kenya, the East African state noted for its wildlife landscapes and animals. With a GDP of $99.25 billion, it is the wealthiest in South East and Central Africa with stable living conditions. It has well established industries in coffee and tea, and a vast increase in the agricultural sector. For centuries, Kenya’s coastlines have been home to Asian and Arabian traders, transforming it into a regional trading powerhouse. Kenyan economy isn’t based on oil like many other African countries on the top 10 list, but it continues to expand in a variety of ways.
Angola, a petroleum rich country on the western Atlantic coast of Southern Africa, with a GDP of $91,53 billion, is Africa’s seventh biggest economy in 2021. The former Portuguese colony is one of the continent’s largest stocks of raw minerals. Though it suffered a downward economic trend because of resource mismanagement and internal corruption, its economy is largely based on oil with natural gas accounting for more than a third of the country’s GDP. Crude oil sales accounts for more than 90 percent of the country’s export earnings. Diamond and cargo ships are two more notable exports in the country. Agriculture could play a significant role in the near future. Since the end of its 27-year civil war in early 2002, positive efforts have been made to grow the country. Today, it is ranked by the World Bank and IMF as among the world’s fastest growing economies.
In eighth place is Ethiopia, with a GDP of $91,17 billion. The Horn of Africa located country with a population of 104.47 million (2021 estimate) revels in artefacts of over three million years old. It is the land of the birth of the coffee bean. It produces most coffee and honey in Africa. Legumes, oil bean seeds and flowers are among Ethiopia’s exports. Agriculture accounts for more than 40 percent of the country’s GDP, constituting 60 percent of exports and generating over 80 percent of employment. Also, manufacturing, construction, tourism, food processing, and energy account for the country’s economic activities.
Ghana, the former Gold Coast, is Africa’s ninth biggest economy in 2021. With a GDP of $67,08 billion, the country is among the OPEC+ comity of oil producing nations. The West African nation was able to cut down poverty by half in the last decade. The country remains at high risk of debt distress in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) 2019 debt sustainability analysis (DSA) because of solvency and liquidity risks. Its currency, the cedi depreciated by 3.1 percent in 2020, compared with a 10 percent depreciation in 2019. However, Ghana’s economic freedom score is 59.8, making its economy the 89th freest in the 2022 index.
In the 10th position is Tanzania, with a GDP of $62.22 billion. A lower-middle income mixed economy, the East African country bordering the Indian Ocean has some of the continent’s most enchanting famous national parks including the Kilimanjaro. Agriculture plays a major role in the economy, accounting for 25 percent of the GDP. Other sectors are mining, manufacturing, electricity, construction, natural gas and water supply. Gold, coffee, and cashew nuts are among the biggest exports.