Top 10 Richest Countries In East Africa (2023)

EAST AFRICA is a region within Africa that identifies geographically as well as economically. Some of the fastest-growing economies, and also some of the most stable societies in Africa can be found within this region, making it a subject worth studying and for us to know the richest countries in East Africa presently.

It is generally agreed that east Africa has seen a lot of growth and development within the past 10 years, but that has not happened at an equal pace across the region. Therefore, there exists the question of what countries are have spearheaded the economic boom that has recently been witnessed in East Africa.

We want to discover the most economically vibrant and wealthiest countries in East Africa. We base our rankings on GDP per Capita because that is the metric that most concerns the people directly. 

Top 10 Richest Countries In East Africa

1. Djibouti GDP per Capita: $5,855

The Republic of Djibouti is a country located in the higher part of east Africa, called the Horn of Africa. The country’s neighbors are Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Red Sea. The country has a total area of 23,200 km2 and a population of 921,804 people.

Djibouti has quite a developed economy; the GDP per capita stands at 5,855 USD making it the richest country in East Africa. This is mainly boosted by the services sector. The services sector accounts for around 79.7% of the GDP, followed by industry at 17.3%, and agriculture at 3%. {{Due to limited rainfall, vegetables and fruits are the principal production crops.}}

2. Kenya GDP per Capita: $4,078

Kenya is the second richest country in East Africa. {{The capital city Nairobi was founded in 1899 by the colonial authorities in British East Africa, as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway}}. The countries that are close to Kenya are Uganda and Tanzania. The country has a population of 10,411,220.

With a GDP of 4,078, Kenya is East Africa’s richest country.  The services sector in Kenya is really booming; several of Africa’s largest companies are headquartered in Nairobi. This shows the potential power of the Kenyan Shilling.

3. Tanzania GDP per Capita: $3,652

Tanzania is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region.}} It is neighbors with Uganda, Kenya, Comoro Islands and is exposed to the Indian Ocean to the east. Other nearby countries are Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo DR. Tanzania is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. 

The country has a GDP per Capita of 3,652, and the economy is boosted by strong gold prices. The country has a vibrant mining sector. Other sectors of the economy are tourism, telecommunications, and banking sectors.

4. Uganda GDP per Capita: $2,753

Uganda, the fourth wealthiest country located in East Africa. It is bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The country is a landlocked country. About 42,729,036 people call Uganda home.

Uganda has a GDP per Capita of 2,753. The country’s economy is boosted by export income from coffee,  oil re-exports, base metals and products, fish, maize as well as cement. Tobacco, tea, sugar, hides and skins, cocoa beans, beans, and even flowers.  

5. Ethiopia GDP per Capita: $2,702

Ethiopia is a country in East Africa. The country is landlocked and shares borders with Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya. The country has a population of over 109 million inhabitants and a total land area of 1,100,000 square kilometres

The country has a GDP of 2,702 and is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Agriculture constitutes around 85% of the country’s workforce. 

6. Rwanda GDP per Capita: USD 2,642

Rwanda is a country located in East Africa. The country is landlocked; bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is one of the smallest countries on the African mainland and is home to 12,374,397 people. 

Rwanda was a scene of a bloody genocide that completely wrecked its economy. With a GDP of 2,642, the country has recovered somewhat. Subsistence agriculture is highly important in the country; Potatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, cassava, wheat, and maize are important food crops. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops that are grown for export.

7. South Sudan GDP per Capita: $1,715

South Sudan is a country in East-Central Africa. The country’s neighbors are Ethiopia, Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and of course Uganda and Kenya. About 12,778,250 people call the country home.

With a GDP of south Sudan is 1715. The economy of South Sudan is one of the world’s most underdeveloped. The concentrated efforts there could be some change on the way because the country has petroleum, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, and even diamonds. There is the potential to export hydroelectric power.  

8. Eritrea GDP per Capita: $1,103

Eritrea is a country in Eastern Africa, with its capital in Asmara. The country’s neighbors are Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. Eritrea has a landmass of about 117,600 km2 and a population of about 6,081,196. 

Eritrea has a GDP of 1,103, which is one of the lowest in the world, but the economy of Eritrea has experienced considerable growth in recent years. A big reason for the recent growth of the Eritrean economy is the full-scale production of gold and silver, as well as the production of cement.

70% of the Eritrean workforce is employed in agriculture. They produce sorghum, millet, barley, wheat, legumes, vegetables, fruits, sesame, linseed, as well as cattle, sheep, goats, and camels. However, most of the produce is exported without processing.

9. Somalia  GDP per Capita: $888

Somalia, with the capital Mogadishu, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Its neighbors are Ethiopia, the Gulf of Aden, the Guardafui Channel, and Kenya. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland, meaning that there is so much potential in shipping and international trade. The country has a population of 15,893,219.

Somalia has a GDP of 888 USD, making it one of the poorest in the world.  Agriculture is the most important sector of Somalia’s economy. It accounts for about 65% of the GDP and 65% of the workforce is engaged in Agriculture. 

10. Burundi GDP per Capita: $724

 Burundi is a landlocked country that comes last on our list of richest countries in East Africa. The country’s neighbors are Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the country has Lake Tanganyika on its southwestern border. About 11,865,821 people call Burundi home. 

With a GDP of 724, Burundi is perhaps the poorest country in the world. There are very few resources to mine, and the manufacturing sector is underdeveloped. Agriculture employs more than 90% of the population, although they are mostly subsistent farmers. 


Closing On The Wealthiest Countries In East Africa

Interestingly, East Africa is home to both one of the fastest-growing economies, and then one of the poorest in the world. The apparent powerhouse in East Africa, as far as wealth generation is concerned, is Djibouti, and closely followed by Kenya. If such service-based economies can grow so rapidly, and sustainably, then it shows that there is quite a lot of untapped potential in east Africa; other countries have an example by which to build their economies, ensuring that they too grow sustainably, and rapidly, thus improving the quality of life of their citizens.