Largest African economy

Largest African economy

SB1Sub-Saharan Africa’s five largest economies: Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Ethiopia and Ghana accounted for 41% of the region’s population and 71% of its GDP in 2013. Four of the five, with the exception of South Africa, are forecast to experience strong economic growth in the coming years.

Nigeria

Nigeria is seeing strong growth, increasingly supported by growth in sectors outside of hydrocarbons. It is now Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy as a result of the rebase earlier in the year. The rebase also uncovered the strength of previously unreported or under-reported industries such as the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, and communications. This means that although the energy sector remains important, the economy is more diversified than once thought.

Total GDP in Nigeria Pre- and Post-revision: 2010-2013

Source: National Bureau of Statistics

Note: Data refer to GDP in current market prices. 2013 data are estimates.

One of Nigeria’s major weaknesses is its infrastructure. It suffers from severe shortages of power which impede the development of manufacturing for instance. At 191 KWh, Nigeria generates one of the lowest per capita quantities of electricity in the world. Another challenge is security. There are the obvious security issues in the north with Boko Haram; but growth of the oil sector has been hampered throughout 2013 by supply disruptions arising from oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

SB4South Africa

Unlike the other four largest economies, South Africa’s outlook is for weak growth. It is an underperformer compared to both neighbouring countries and other commodity-rich economies. Its real GDP growth is expected to average just 2.8% per annum between 2014 and 2020. Yet South Africa does have a major strength and that is its high per capita spending by regional standards. Although consumer spending is constrained by a slowdown in credit expansion to households, high levels of consumer debt and moderate job growth. The country is also seen as a regional hub and leader in finance, retailing and automotive industries. Many international companies see South Africa as the ideal starting point for investment in the region before beginning the “creep north”.

Consumer Expenditure in Sub-Saharan Africa’s Five Largest Economies: 2013

Source: Euromonitor International from national statistics/UN/OECD

Note: Data refer to the five largest economies ranked by total GDP in US$.

Inequality is a huge challenge for the country – South Africa is the most unequal society, in terms of income distribution in the world. The top 10% of households earn 49% of income. The lowest-earning 50% of households are responsible for just 16% of spending. This kind of inequality has an impact on the size and dynamics of the consumer market and also on social cohesion.

Angola

Angola is the region’s third largest economy. It is expected to see strong growth, in part due to its oil sector. Angola has re-emerged to become Africa’s second largest oil exporter and as a result it receives significant inflows of FDI. Yet oil is not the only driver – because of the war, the government is investing large amounts in reconstruction and this spending is also providing an impetus to growth.

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Source: blog.euromonitor.com
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