South Africa has some ground to cover in order to catch up to Nigeria as the leader among Africa’s biggest economies.

The two countries, along with Egypt, occupy the top three places in the continent, in terms of which country raked in the highest gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. This is according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest World Economic Outlook report.

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South Africa’s ailing economy saw the country briefly lose second place to Egypt in 2016 after the North African nation registered an estimated GDP of $332 billion, some distance above the $295 billion recorded in the southern tip of the continent.

However, in just a matter of twelve months, South Africa has gained some considerable ground, with an estimated output of $350 billion, compared to Egypt’s $237 billion.

Algeria and Angola make up the rest of the top five, turning over $178 billion and $124 billion respectively in 2017.

Nigeria remains the continent’s biggest economy and, according to the IMF, it is likely to remain that way for some time as the West African country has been projected to make even more gains.

However, when calculating GDP per capita, the oil-rich Nigeria falls completely out of the continent’s top ten to 15th place. This is largely due to its population of over 200 million people.

As one would expect, countries with smaller populations lead in the GDP per capita stakes, as Mauritius tops the list, followed by Gabon and Botswana.

With a considerably larger population than the top three, South Africa is fourth on the list, with Namibia rounding off the top five.
Africa’s biggest economies in 2017 – by GDP
Nigeria ($376.3 billion)
South Africa ($349.3 billion)
Egypt ($237.1 billion)
Algeria ($178.3 billion)
Angola ($124.2 billion)
Morocco ($109.8 billion)
Ethiopia ($80.9 billion)
Kenya ($79.5 billion)
Sudan ($58.2 billion)
Tanzania ($51.7 billion)
GDP per capita
Mauritius ($9 794)
Gabon ($7 971)
Botswana ($7 877)
South Africa ($6 179)
Namibia ($5 413)