While Africa is endowed with plenty of natural resources and a cultural and ecological diversity, the majority of the continent still remains underdeveloped. In fact, no other continent features in the list of the least developed nations more than Africa. Despite the volatile economic situations brought about by civil unrest, corruption, tribal wars, and deep poverty, a number of African countries are defying the odds to post significant economic improvements. Check out this list of the 20 most developed countries in Africa by the Human Development Index.
The Human Development Index is a metric that is used to measure key dimensions that make up quality human life. These are the level of knowledge, a long and healthy lifestyle, and a decent living standard. When these factors are combined, they give a rough idea of the impact of economies of the quality of life. While it is widely said that Africa is developing, it is important to stress that there is no African country with very high human development, according to the HDI report that was released in 2018. Below is a ranking of the 20 most developed countries in Africa.
- Seychelles – HDI: 0.797, GDP per capita: $16,332
According to the HDI, Seychelles is the most developed African country. However, it sits at position 62 on the world stage. The country consists of 115 islands that are situated about 1500 Km to the East of the East African coastline. As an economy that once relied on plantation farming, Seychelles has positioned itself as a leading tourist destination in Africa. This country with the highest HDI in Africa also depends on other major sources of income include fishing, boat building, printing, and processing of agricultural products such as vanilla, coconuts, sweet potatoes, poultry, and beverages, among others.
- Mauritius – HDI: 0.790, GDP per capita: $10, 437 Positioned the second most developed country in Africa and at position 65 in the world, Mauritius is also a major tourist destination in Africa. The country grew from an agriculture-based economic set up in the 1960s into a middle-income diversified economic set up with expansion witnessed in industries such as textile, sugar, financial services, and tourism. Mauritius is currently focusing on important sectors such as healthcare, property development, seafood, communication, and renewable energy to boost its economic income.
- Algeria – HDI: 0.754, GDP per capita: $4,669 Algeria is one of the largest countries in Africa that is situated North of the Sahara and borders Tunisia. It’s the third most developed country in Africa and at position 85 in the world. Algeria gets most of its income from the booming oil industry where it is one of the largest producers in Africa. Its dominance in the oil industry has created lots of job opportunities for the Algerian youths. Aside from hydrocarbons, Algeria has struggled to find alternative sources of income. At present, there are developments in the tourism, fuel research, and communications industries, but they are still insignificant compared to the revenue generated by hydrocarbons.
- Tunisia – HDI: 0.735, GDP per capita: $3,531
Situated in North Africa, Tunisia is positioned as the 4th most developed African country according to HDI, and the 95th most developed country in the world. The significant expansion of the country’s economic muscle is a result of manufacturing, tourism, services and mining. In fact, the services sector has contributed highly to the expansion and economic development of the country. The country is also home to many foreign investors who have set up camp there due to its lucrative business environment.
- Botswana – HDI: 0.717, GDP per capita: $8,443 Botswana is a landlocked country situated in Southern Africa. It is one of the sparsely populated countries in Africa with a populace of only 2 million individuals. It is positioned as the 5th best country in Africa and position 101 in the world in terms of human development. The major pillars supporting the expansion of Botswana are mining, tourism and cattle rearing. It is positioned as having one of the fastest growths per capita in the world. Due to the many investments taking place in the country, economists have predicted more expansion in the future.
- Libya – HDI: 0.706, GDP per capita: $7,998 Libya is positioned as the 6th most developed country in Africa and position 108 in the world thanks to an economic set up that is predominantly dependent on oil. The country holds the largest oil reserves in Africa, however, its poor climate limits other sectors such as the agricultural industry. The country has also undergone instability periods in recent years due to war, which led to a significant increase in unemployment. Libya is registered by the World Bank as one of the eight developed African countries with the upper-middle-income economic set up.
- Gabon – HDI: 0.702, GDP per capita: $7,741 Gabon is positioned as the 7th most developed country in Africa and 110th in the world. Gabon has a populace of 2 million and its economic expansion is dependent on oil. While mining is the major income generator, Gabon is also investing in other sector to supplement its development.
- South Africa – HDI: 0.699, GDP per capita: $6,541
South Africa is positioned as the 8th most developed country in Africa. It is positioned at position 113 in the world and has a populace of 57,725,600. The economic development of South Africa has been supported by a number of activities which include: agriculture, mining, industrial growth and tertiary services. While mining has been a huge industry in South Africa, tertiary services are emerging to the highest income earners.
- Egypt – HDI: 0.696, GDP per capita $2,501 Egypt is one of the unique countries in that, part of it is in Africa while some parts are in the Middle East. Globally, Egypt is positioned as the 118th most developed country while in Africa it ranks at position 9. Egypt has a populace of 94,798,827 and it relies on mining, telecommunication and agriculture. Presently a middle-income country, economists predict that Egypt has a potential for more expansion opportunities in the future.
- Morocco – HDI: 0.667 GDP per capita $3,435 Morocco sits in the 10th position as one of the most developed countries in Africa and at position 123rd in the world. The country has an approximate populace of 35,740,000 and its terrain is majorly characterized by the large deserts, mountains and abroad coastline. Morocco’s resources come from the services sector, mining, construction, manufacturing, textile, telecoms, information technology, and tourism, among others.
- Cape Verde – HDI: 0.654, GDP per capita $3,287 It is positioned as the 11th most developed country in Africa with a populace of 539,560. Cape Verde is a combination of Islands, which are located 570 km off the coast of West Africa. The country`s array of mountains, the seaside villages, the relentless beauty of landscapes and appealing beaches have been of beneficial interest to tourist and foreign investors in the country. It relies on tourism for the most part.
- Namibia – HDI: 0.647, GDP per capita $5,073
Situated in the southern part of Africa, Namibia is positioned as the 12th most developed country in Africa and 129th position worldwide. The country has a populace of 2,606,971. The economic expansion of Namibia is closely related to that of South Africa due to the fact that they share a common history. Mining, agriculture, and tourism are the major economic activities in the country. In terms of technology, they have a highly effective online banking system which operates as a great medium of online transactions.
- Congo – HDI: 0.606, GDP per capita $446 It is positioned as the 13th most developed country in Africa with a population of 5 million. According to the HDI, the country sits at position 129 in the world. Congo’s development is characterized by a combination of handicrafts, agriculture and an industrial sector, which is predominantly dependent on petroleum production. Mining is also a major activity in the country but a large vast remain untapped. READ ALSO: List of the 23 African Forbes 2018 billionaires in Africa
- Ghana – HDI: 0.592, GDP per capita: $1,697 Ghana is positioned as the 14th on the list of the most developed African countries by HDI and 140 worldwide. It has a population of approximately 28 million individuals and it largely relies on the exportation of industrial minerals, agricultural products, petroleum and natural gas.
- Equatorial Guinea – HDI: 0.591, GDP per capita: $11,457 Located on the Atlantic coast of Central Africa, Equatorial Guinea is the 15th most developed country in Africa and 141st in the world with a populace of 2 million individuals. The country is situated in a favorable position geographically which provides it with a great platform for exporting goods to the Americas and Europe. Its major export is oil. The exports of the country have played a key role in creating employment opportunities for the youth of the country
- Kenya – HDI: 0.590, GDP per capita: $1,790
Kenya is the 16th most developed country in Africa and 142nd worldwide with a populace of about 43,125,325. The economic development of Kenya primarily depends on tourism, agriculture and industrial activities. The recent infrastructural developments in the country have led to projections that the country’s economic muscle is bound to grow.
- Sao Tome and Principe – HDI: 0.589, GDP per capita $1,668 This is 17th most developed country in Africa and 143rd most developed in the world according to the HDI. The economic development of Sao Tome is dominated by agriculture, which is one of the major economic activities in the country. The main export in Sao Tome is Cocoa which represents about 90% of the exports. Apart from cocoa, other export crops include: palm kennels, coffee and copra. On the contrary, the country`s domestic food production does not meet the local consumption, hence most of their food is imported. Efforts are being made by the government to expand food production in the country.
- Swaziland – HDI: 0.588, GDP per capita $3,934 It is positioned 18th most developed country in Africa with a populace of 1,343,098, but falls at position 144 in the world. The economic growth of Swaziland is highly dependent on agriculture, forestry, and mining. As a landlocked country, the country does most of its business with South Africa.
- Zambia – HDI: 0.588, GDP per capita $1,342
This 19th most developed country in Africa sits at joint position of 144 in the world. It has a populace of 16,591,330 million individuals and its economic expansion relies on various activities like mining and farming. Its economic activities serve as the backbone of the growth of the country and they fuel the attraction of investors from other parts of the country. The recent increase in employment opportunities is mainly due to the economic activities that have played an important role in the country`s growth and development.
- Angola – HDI: 0.581, GDP per capita $4,101 It is graded as the 20th most developed country in Africa. The economic development of Angola has been highly influenced by activities such as agriculture, mining and industrial activities. On the world stage, Angola is positioned number 147. Its populace stands at 25,789,204 at present, with a per capita GDP of $4,101.
The 20 African countries mentioned above are on the forefront when it comes to paving the way for a better future in the continent. If you were wondering what is the most developed country in Africa in terms of living standards, then this list should answer your question.
While most of these countries aren’t in a better position to compete with their European counterparts, there is still a chance with more Africans pioneering developments in technology, farming, services, and industries.
The Human Development Index may not be entirely accurate, but it helps to show a picture of the overall ease of living of a particular country’s citizens.
The above list of the most developed countries in Africa showcases that there is still much to be done in the continent when it comes to ensuring a long and healthy life. It also outlines the need for countries in Africa to bolster trade and improve service delivery in the continent.