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Which the five Largest Economies in Africa

         Date: 2012-08-14

           Tag: Africa, Africa Economies

Summary: No African nation has yet joined the ranks of the developed nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), but there are some sizeable economies on the continent, and …

No African nation has yet joined the ranks of the developed nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), but there are some sizeable economies on the continent, and economies that are gradually increasing in size.

Though South Africa is by far the continent’s wealthiest state in terms of GDP, accounting for 30 per cent of the continent’s GDP, economies such as Egypt and Nigeria are on the rise and could overtake South Africa in coming years.

And with seven of the fastest ten growing economies in the world in Africa, there is plenty of scope to suggest that the list below may be an oft-changing one in years to come as Africa’s economic development continues apace.

Morocco

These are not good times for Morocco, Africa’s fifth biggest economy, where in April the new Islamist government finally passed its 2012 budget, four months late. This saw protests outside parliament, previously unheard of in the stable and relatively prosperous North African country.

Its budget is overstretched, its farm fields drought-stricken, its credit rating is wobbly, and economic crisis is hobbling its closest trading partners in Europe, even as protests by disgruntled Moroccans are on the rise.

Abdelilah Benkirane’s government came in with a five-year plan predicting 5.5 percent growth, which it then had to revise downward at the beginning of the year to 4.2 percent. Then at the end of March, the central bank, noting the crisis in Europe and impending drought, cut its own predictions to less than 3 percent.

Nigeria

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation but its GDP has traditionally been well below that of South Africa. Its GDP of $377.9 billion is provided by industry, agriculture and services. But this looks set to change, according to a Renaissance Capital report.

This year, Nigeria will change the base year for its GDP to 2008 from 1990. This looks likely to revise the size of its economy dramatically upwards. Depending on the scale of the revision, Renaissance Capital says Nigeria could surpass South Africa as the continent’s largest economy as soon as 2014.

When Ghana’s GDP was rebased in 2010, the size of its economy was found to be 60 percent bigger than previously recorded – $31 billion, compared to $18 billion.

Nigeria is expected to rebase its GDP sometime this year, having missed an earlier January target because of nationwide fuel protests.

Rebasing involves changing the weighting of sectors of the economy to reflect changes in economic activity over the past three decades. The new figures would, for instance, put more weighting on the country’s telecommunications industry, which has grown strongly over the past 10 years.

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