Measuring Gross Domestic Product (GDP) In Africa

Posted June 16, 2013 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Africa ~ 3,597 views


Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period, usually calculated on an annual basis. It includes all of private and public consumption, government spending, investments, and exports less imports that occur within a defined territory.

However, GDP has its shortcomings, “it can’t differentiate between spending on good things (education) and terrible things (cigarettes), and fails to account for the value of social cohesion, education, health, leisure, a clean environment — in other words, as Robert Kennedy once put it, GDP measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile.” GDP also fails to account for activities that don’t have an explicit market price attached to them, for example, the value of a mum or dad raising a kid at home.

GDP only measures output, and in Africa, South Africa at about $408 billion in GDP leads the other African countries in producing the most output:

  • Nigeria comes second at about $244 billion, followed by Egypt at $230 billion, Algeria at $189 billion, Angola at $104 billion, and Morocco at $100 billion. Uganda ranks #21 at $17 billion (See Figure 1).
  • The top 5 countries South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Angola, and Morocco account for about 60% of Africa’s $1,900 billion total GDP.
  • Compared to Africa’s $1900 billion total GDP, the US produces approximately $15000 billion GDP, the Euro area $13000 billion, China $7200 billion, Japan $5800 billion, Brazil $2400 billion, and India $1800 billion GDP…

When comparing GDP across nations, it’s better to use the GDP per capita measure. GDP per capita is the total GDP divided by the total population of the defined country. GDP is thus a standardized measure and allows for fair comparison across nations. If nation A and nation B both produce $1000 GDP, but nation A has 1 person in it, while nation B has 10 people in it, nation A with a GDP per capita of $1000 (1000/1) would be more productive than nation B which has a GDP per capita of $100 (1000/10).

  • On a GDP per capita basis South Africa slips to 6th place, Nigeria to 20th place, and Uganda to #41.
  • Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Seychelles, Mauritius and Botswana filter to the top.
  • See Figure 2 for GDP per capita across all African nations.

Figure 1: African Nation GDP ($ billion)

Figure 2: African Nation GDP per capita ($ USD)

We leave you Mark Twain, “Work is a necessary evil to be avoided”.

Emmanuel Sabiiti

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Response