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Fast growth should always be desired. Yet, it is never sufficient. These countries’ economies are growing at a very high rate and their respective governments should be commended for that. However, it is important to understand that economic growth does not guarantee economic well-being and especially not for the average citizens. Almost all countries listed below have fueled growth using extractive industries which usually employ and directly impact a very small fraction of the population. As such, growth in these sectors might mean absolutely nothing to an average citizen.

Also, it is important to remember that most Africans depend on agriculture and that if the fast economic growth is to be meaningful, then the growth should happen in the agriculture industry or at least affect the development of agriculture. For instance, the natural gas revenue in Mozambique should help develop the infrastructure of the country which will allow farmers in rural areas easier and cheaper access to markets.

Here is the list of Africa’s fastest growing economies:

6. Rwanda

In summary, here is Rwanda’s GDP outlook:

2015 GDP: +7.00%

2016 GDP: +7.00%

2017 GDP: +7.50%

2014-2017 GDP CAGR: +7.12%

Economy: About 90% of the population work in subsistence agriculture, while tourism, minerals, coffee, and tea round out Rwanda’s economy. This means that most of the development is happening in industries that do very little to change the lives of an average citizen. This is the reason that although the country has taken significant steps forward since the 1994 genocide, 45% of the population still lives below the poverty line. The World Bank data provide poverty estimates for Rwanda for the year 2010 which means this might have changed.

Source: World Bank

5. Tanzania

As of 2014, Tanzania had an estimated population of 47.4 million. International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group (WBG), and African Development Bank among other development partners have supported the East African nation to make important economic and structural reforms and sustain its economic growth rates. According to WBG, by 2014 the gross domestic product of the country stood at 7.0% with the main contributors being; trade, construction, agriculture and transport sectors.

As of 2011, poverty headcount stood at 28.2%. Despite the looming poverty in the country, the new political leader, President John Magufuli is a promising change to the country. He is already in the process of minimizing the country’s overspending by cutting costs of unnecessary government spending and has raised government’s domestic revenue with just one month in office.

Here is a look into the country’s GDP:

2015 GDP: +7.20%

2016 GDP: +7.10%

2017 GDP: +7.10%

2014-2017 GDP CAGR: +7.15%


4. Mozambique

African Economic Outlook shows that Mozambique’s GDP has been growing by 8.1% since last year. Relative peace in the country after many years of civil war and the discovery of natural gas are promising factors for the growth of the economy in the past and in future, if the status quo remains.

Here is a summary of the country’s GDP:

2015 GDP: +7.20%

2016 GDP: +7.30%

2017 GDP: +7.30%

2014-2017 GDP CAGR: +7.30%

Economy: Mozambique has attracted large investment projects in natural resources, which means the country’s high growth rates should continue. Some believe that Mozambique might be able to generate revenues from natural gas, coal, and hydroelectric capacity greater than its donor assistance within five years.

Yet despite the growth in the extractive industry, the vast majority of the country works in subsistence agriculture, and over half the population remains below the poverty line.

Source: World Bank

3. Cote d’Ivoire 

Here’s a summary of the country’s GDP:

2015 GDP: +8.00%

2016 GDP: +7.70%

2017 GDP: +7.50%

2014-2017 GDP CAGR: +7.80

Economy: About two-thirds of the population works in agriculture-related industries. The country is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and is also a major player in the coffee and palm-oil industries. Despite this, 46.3% of the population currently live below the poverty line. The government must devise policies to reduce unemployment and support those that are disadvantaged.

Source: World Bank

2. Democratic Republic of the Congo

GDP summary for the country is as follows:

2015 GDP: +8.00%

2016 GDP: +8.50%

2017 GDP: +9.00%

2014-2017 GDP CAGR: +8.62%


In 2015, DRC registered its highest economic freedom score in the 2015 index. IMF states that the “overall growth is projected to average about 3 percent per annum during 2015–20, as oil production is projected to peak in 2018 following the coming on stream of a new oil field. Non-oil growth is projected to slow to around 3 percent in 2015–16, as public investment spending contracts and mining projects are delayed due to the uncertain global outlook for iron ore”. The Democratic Republic of Congo has huge natural-resource wealth, which it hasn’t been able to efficiently monetize because of systemic corruption, conflict, and political instability. That said, its economy is slowly recovering since the tumultuous 1990s.

Source: World Bank

1. Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s GDP in summary:

2015 GDP: +9.50%

2016 GDP: +10.50%

2017 GDP: +8.50%

2014-2017 GDP CAGR: +9.70%

Economy: Ethiopia’s economy is mostly agriculture-based, but the government has made a push to diversify into manufacturing, textiles, and energy generation. Also, the government is investing in massive infrastructure developments that will allow the country to reduce the cost of transportation especially in urban settings. The same must be done in rural and remote areas to allow farmers easier and cheaper access to urban centers and other markets. Also, while the country has seen and (per the World Bank) will continue to see high GDP growth, per capita income remains ones of the lowest in the world and much needs to be done to completely transform the nation’s human resource potential.

Source: World Bank