The Richest Countries in Africa
Economist: Hello, dear Brilliant Citizen
Brilliant Citizen: Hi, my Economist. You said you were working on something the last time. What is it?
Economist: It is kicking off, right about now! So, I remember you plan to travel. Have you considered going to an African country?
Brilliant Citizen: Ha, that is not the prayer “ooo”. The prayer is Canada, UK or the USA. Please, I do not want any African country!
Economist: Why do you say that? You don’t think there are rich and attractive countries in Africa.
Brilliant Citizen: Is Nigeria not the giant of Africa? What can any other African countries give me? Please let me focus.
Economist: You cannot judge other African countries based on your experience in Nigeria.
Brilliant Citizen: I hear you. Can you prove to me that there are better countries in this continent?
Economist: Ok, let us look at the data.
Brilliant Citizen: I am ready, let us review it. I remember when you shared on GDP or was it GDP per capita?
Economist: Great! Today, we will use GDP per capita to assess some of the richest countries in Africa.
Let us look at the three countries with the highest GDP per capita in Africa:
Seychelles, Mauritius, and Gabon.
Brilliant Citizen: I know Gabon, is that not where the most recent coup in Africa took place?
Economist: Yes, you are correct. Indeed, the last coup in the continent was in Gabon.
Brilliant Citizen: Ok, I will not be travelling there. I do not know the other two countries — Seychelles and Mauritius? I have not heard about them.
Economist: After today, you will know them. Let’s look at the three.
Gabon: Produces crude oil and refines 55% of its domestic consumption. The country is diversifying to agriculture and tourism. It has great wildlife reserves and national parks. With a population of 2.3 million, its GDP per capita is estimated at $8,820 making it the third richest country in Africa.
Mauritius: It is a small island in the Indian Ocean, eastern Africa with a population of 1.3 million. Relative to other African countries, Mauritius has very limited natural resources but is highly diversified with ICT and Travel & Tourism accounting for about 30% of its export. Also, it is known for its textile industry and good financial services reputation. Its GDP per capita is estimated at $10,216 making it the second richest in the continent.
Seychelles: Like Mauritius, it is in the Indian Ocean, eastern Africa. It is blessed with natural beauty and beaches, turquoise water and lush tropical forests. These have made it an attractive destination for tourism, attracting many foreigners and investment. With a population of less than 100,000, its GDP per capita stands at $15,875 making it the richest in Africa.
Brilliant Citizen: Wow, I did not realise there are beautiful and rich countries like this in Africa. This is quite impressive. Thank you for sharing.
Economist: Glad you found it insightful. A quick note that GDP per capita does not reflect income equality in these countries.
Brilliant Citizen: Which one is income equality? Is it how wealth is distributed in the countries?
Economist: Yes, you are certainly brilliant! A country could be very rich and have high inequality; the wealth is distributed amongst few people. For these three countries their income inequality index (Gini coefficient) is less than 40, which is the average for many African countries.
Brilliant Citizen: Even Gabon?
Economist: Yes, Gabon’s Gini coefficient is 38 slightly higher than Mauritius and Seychelles at 36.7 and 32.1, respectively. Well, this data is the most recent from World Bank in 2017 & 2018.
Brilliant Citizen: Ok, some things may have changed by now.
Economist: Possibly, especially with the pandemic in 2020. Anyway, I hope you consider these countries, even for holidays.
Brilliant Citizen: I will certainly think about it. What of our country, Nigeria? What is our rating among other African countries?
Economist: I thought you will not be interested. Anyway, Nigeria is far back at 18th position with GDP per capita of $2,184. There is still a lot of work to do in the country.
Brilliant Citizen: Ok o, be working. At least I know there are African countries that are “truly working”.
* In this article, richest is defined by GDP per capita
Nairametrics – https://nairametrics.com/2023/08/18/top-10-african-countries-by-gdp/
World Bank Gini index