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Mapped: Breaking Down the $3 Trillion African Economy by Country

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See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.


A map of the $3 trillion African Economy labelled by each country's economic output, excluding Eritrea, Burundi, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Breaking Down the $3 Trillion African Economy by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Home to 1.4 billion people, the nations of the African continent are widely diverse; not just in culture and language, but also in economic output.

We visualize the 2024 gross domestic product (GDP) projections for African countries from International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, last updated in October 2023. The data is in current USD, and does not include projections for Eritrea.

Furthermore, data for Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Burundi has been left off the map due to a lack of space but has been included in the article’s table.

Ranked: Africa’s Economies by GDP

At first place, South Africa is Africa’s biggest economy in nominal terms, with an estimated GDP of nearly $400 billion.

The country’s mining industry is a major contributor to the economy, accounting for nearly 60% of total exports in the first half of 2023. South Africa is one of the world’s biggest producers of gold, diamonds, platinum, manganese, and other minerals.

However, concerns regarding the sustainability of South Africa’s mining industry have grown since the pandemic. According to a report by PwC, the country’s gold industry may have less than 30 years left without renewed investment.

RankCountryGDP
1🇿🇦 South Africa$401B
2🇳🇬 Nigeria$395B
3🇪🇬 Egypt$358B
4🇩🇿 Algeria$239B
5🇪🇹 Ethiopia$192B
6🇲🇦 Morocco$157B
7🇰🇪 Kenya$115B
8🇦🇴 Angola$93B
9🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire$87B
10🇹🇿 Tanzania$86B
11🇬🇭 Ghana$76B
12🇨🇩 DRC$73B
13🇺🇬 Uganda$58B
14🇹🇳 Tunisia$53B
15🇨🇲 Cameroon$53B
16🇿🇼 Zimbabwe$47B
17🇱🇾 Libya$44B
18🇸🇳 Senegal$35B
19🇿🇲 Zambia$31B
20🇸🇩 Sudan$26B
21🇬🇳 Guinea$25B
22🇲🇿 Mozambique$24B
23🇲🇱 Mali$23B
24🇧🇫 Burkina Faso$23B
25🇧🇼 Botswana$22B
26🇧🇯 Benin$22B
27🇬🇦 Gabon$20B
28🇳🇪 Niger$20B
29🇲🇬 Madagascar$17B
30🇲🇺 Mauritius$16B
31🇨🇬 Congo$15B
32🇷🇼 Rwanda$14B
33🇳🇦 Namibia$14B
34🇹🇩 Chad$13B
35🇸🇴 Somalia$12B
36🇲🇼 Malawi$11B
37🇲🇷 Mauritania$11B
38🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea$10B
39🇹🇬 Togo$10B
40🇸🇸 South Sudan$7B
41🇸🇿 Eswatini$5B
42🇱🇷 Liberia$5B
43🇩🇯 Djibouti$4B
44🇸🇱 Sierra Leone$4B
45🇧🇮 Burundi$3B
46🇨🇫 Central African Republic$3B
47🇨🇻 Cabo Verde$3B
48🇬🇲 Gambia, The$3B
49🇱🇸 Lesotho$3B
50🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau$2B
51🇸🇨 Seychelles$2B
52🇰🇲 Comoros$1B
53🇸🇹 São Tomé and Príncipe$1B
Total$2,987B

Note: Figures are rounded.

Close behind South Africa, Nigeria’s economic output in 2024 is estimated at $395 billion. Declining oil production—the country’s main export—along with foreign exchange woes, have made for a broader economic crisis, sparking protests. Inflation is also running rampant in the economy as well: expected to peak at 33% by mid-2024.

Africa’s third-largest economy, Egypt, is also suffering from extremely high inflation since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This is largely due to the country’s reliance on food imports from those nations. According to the IMF, core inflation in Egypt hit nearly 40% in 2023, while food inflation briefly surpassed 70%.

Oil plays a huge role in fourth-ranked Algeria as well, contributing nearly 25% to the country’s $239 billion economic output.

However, in fifth-ranked Ethiopia, agriculture accounts for more than 40% of the country’s $192 billion GDP and coffee is its biggest export. Gold and gemstone mining are seen as an important areas of diversification for the country’s economy.

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Mapped: Africa’s Population Density Patterns

We map out Africa’s population density, spotlighting the continent’s most populous countries and cities.

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A cropped map of Africa’s population density, spotlighting the continent’s most populous countries and cities, and the fastest-growing regions.

Mapped: Africa’s Population Density Patterns

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Africa, the world’s second largest continent, spans over 30 million km2, home to the not only world’s biggest desert but also the second-largest tropical rainforest, and of course, approximately 1.4 billion people.

In this infographic, we map out the continent’s population density patterns. It’s a prime example of how humans congregate near fresh water and around the edges of natural obstacles.

This population density data comes from the Gridded Population of the World dataset created by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) hosted by NASA’s Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC).

Ranked: Most Populous African Countries

Africa’s second largest economy, Nigeria, is also its most populous: more than 220 million people live in this diverse West African country with 250 ethnic groups, speaking over 500 different languages.

And the nation is only growing. By 2100, it’s estimated that the Nigerian population could be more than three-fold its current size, at nearly 800 million residents, becoming the second-most populous country in the world.

RankCountryPopulation
1🇳🇬 Nigeria224M
2🇪🇹 Ethiopia127M
3🇪🇬 Egypt112M
4🇨🇩 DRC 102M
5🇹🇿 Tanzania67M
6🇿🇦 South Africa59M
7🇰🇪 Kenya55M
8🇺🇬 Uganda49M
9🇸🇩 Sudan48M
10🇩🇿 Algeria46M

Source: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Population Prospects. (2022)

Across the continent, along its eastern side, Ethiopia, is the second-most populous country on the continent. Unlike Nigeria—which has nearly 20 cities with at least half a million residents—more than three-quarters of Ethiopia’s 127 million people live in rural communities.

Ranked third, Egypt (112 million) is the only North African country in the top five by population. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) comes in fourth (102 million), with Tanzania (67 million) rounding out the top five.

Ranked: Fastest Growing African Countries By Population

In the year 1900, Africa accounted for 9% of the world’s population. Currently its share stands close to 18%. By 2025, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects one in four people in the world to live in Africa, and says the continent’s demographic transition has the power to “transform the world.”

The most populous African countries (DRC, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Egypt) will contribute the lion’s share to this growth of course, but within the continent, other countries are also seeing relatively rapid population growth.

RankCountryGrowth Rate
1🇸🇸 South Sudan4.78%
2🇳🇪 Niger3.66%
3🇧🇮 Burundi3.59%
4🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea3.36%
5🇦🇴 Angola3.34%
6🇧🇯 Benin3.31%
7🇺🇬 Uganda3.22%
8🇨🇩 DRC3.13%
9🇹🇩 Chad3.05%
10🇲🇱 Mali2.93%

Source: CIA World Factbook.

In South Sudan, the world’s newest country, the population is growing at nearly 5% every year. The broader sub-Saharan population meanwhile is growing at half that rate. Aside from a higher fertility rate, the country is also seeing an influx of refugees from conflict areas in neighboring Sudan.

While no other African nation is quite matching South Sudan’s population growth, several of Africa’s poorer economies are also posting an annual population increase of more than 3% including Niger, Burundi, and Chad.

Ranked: Most Populous African Cities

About half of Africa lives in urban areas, which is less than the global average of 57%. The 10 most populous cities on the continent together account for about 115 million people, more than 1.5x the UK’s total population.

Egypt’s capital, Cairo, built along the banks of the Nile, is home to more than 22 million residents, and ranks as Africa’s largest city. This bustling metropolis has stood as an important trade juncture between continents for more than 1,400 years—and is still somehow one of Egypt’s younger cities.

RankCityCountryPopulation
1Cairo🇪🇬 Egypt22.2M
2Lagos🇳🇬 Nigeria21.4M
3Kinshasa🇨🇩 DRC 15.0M
4Johannesburg🇿🇦 South Africa14.8M
5Luanda🇦🇴 Angola9.0M
6Khartoum🇸🇩 Sudan6.9M
7Abidjan🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire6.6M
8Nairobi🇰🇪 Kenya6.6M
9Accra🇬🇭 Ghana6.4M
10Dar es Salaam🇹🇿 Tanzania6.0M

Source: Urban agglomerates (2023) Citypopulation.de.

Down south, across the Sahara desert, and near the shores of the Atlantic, Nigeria’s former capital Lagos has slightly more than 21 million people. The city’s name comes from the numerous surrounding lagoons, and its original name in Yoruba, “Eko”, also means “lake.” Population estimates for the city are often disputed because of several different administrative regions, but also because of how fast Lagos is growing: it’s estimated 2,000 new residents move in every day.

Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC ranks third with about 15 million residents, and is slated to become the fourth largest city in the world, with 35 million people, by 2050.

Johannesburg, South Africa (15 million), and Luanda, Angola (9 million) round out the top five most populous African cities.

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