Africa’s 10 biggest economies

Kenya has rebased its GDP measurement year to 2009, boosting its GDP data by 25%, and entering it into the top 10 economies on the African continent.

Kenya is the second African country to re-base its GDP measurement in 2014, following a similar move by Nigeria earlier in the year.

Nigeria’s rebasing saw it overtake South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy, with a GDP contribution of over US$521 billion in 2013, versus South Africa’s $350.6 billion, World Bank data shows.

According to data from the World Bank, Kenya’s GDP contribution in 2013 previously stood at US$44.1 billion – a figure which has now grown by over 25% to approximately US$55.2 billion.

“Economies are dynamic in nature: they grow, they shrink, they add new sectors, new products and new technologies, and consumer behaviour and tastes change over time,” the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said

“Rebasing is used to account for these changes, so as to give a more current snapshot of the economy.”

KNBS said that agriculture, manufacturing and real estate accounted for most of the change in the rebasing – the 6th revision since 1947.

“ICT treated as a stand alone sector compared to the previous estimates…[and] there are no dramatic differences in the structure of the economy in broadly defined categories,” the group said.

Kenya’s new GDP positioning places the economy as the 9th largest on the continent (from 12th position previously), ahead of Ghana.

Top 10 African economies by GDP

# Country GDP
1 Nigeria $521.8 billion
2 South Africa $350.6 billion
3 Egypt $271.9 billion
4 Algeria $210.2 billion
5 Angola $121.7 billion
6 Morocco $104.4 billion
7 Libya $75.4 billion
8 Sudan $66.5 billion
9 Kenya $55.2 billion
10 Ghana $47.9 billion

World Bank Data, 2013

Taking the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) 2014 World Economic Outlook report for the next three years and projecting it against GDP data from the World Bank, it shows that the outlook for Africa’s top economies will not yield much change on the continent.

Kenya’s rebased GDP contribution looks set to keep climbing towards US$66.3 billion by 2016, maintaining its spot as the 9th biggest economy on the continent.

When looking at GDP per capita amongst Africa’s top 10 economies – a measure which some economists view as a fairer assessment of the state of a country’s economy – the picture shifts quite significantly.

Nigeria – the biggest economy – slips to 7th, with only US$2,710 per citizen, while Africa’s number 2 economy, South Africa, maintains its positioning with US$7,190 per person.

Libya takes the top spot with an overage of over US$11,000 per citizen.

After its rebasing, Kenya’s GDP per capita has increased from US$994 to US$1,246 – still 9th amongst the top 10 economies.

Top 10 African GDP economies by GDP per capita

# Country GDP
1 Libya $11,046
2 South Africa $7,190
3 Algeria $5,290
4 Angola $5,010
5 Egypt $3,160
6 Morocco $3,030
7 Nigeria $2,710
8 Ghana $1,760
9 Kenya $1,246
10 Sudan $1,130

World Bank Data, 2013

Global outlook

According the IMF’s outlook report, the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013 stood at approximately $73.98 trillion.

The IMF expects total global output (real GDP) to increase by 3.6% in 2014 to US$76.8 trillion, with an annual growth rate of just under 4% to follow through to 2019 to reach just over US$100.8 trillion.

Of the world’s total GDP, North Africa (and the Middle East) and Sub-Saharan Africa contribute US$3.13 trillion and US$1.32 trillion, respectively, reflecting 6.0% of the global GDP.

These figures are projected to hit US$4.4 trillion and US$2.0 trillion for Northern and Southern Africa, respectively, by 2019 – reflecting a 6.3% contribution to the global total.

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