List of top wealthiest countries in West Africa by GDP per capita (PPP). West Africa, which some people also call western Africa, is a region located on the west, or left side of the map of Africa. West Africa has been the site of many ancient civilizations, some of which were very well organized before the coming of the Europeans.
West Africa has some countries exposed to the Atlantic Ocean, and others exposed to the Sahara desert. Between the Atlantic and the Sahara, there is plenty of good arable land which can turn West Africa into a hub of agriculture. Aside from agriculture, there are gold, diamonds, oil, aluminum, uranium, and many other natural resources; not to mention very good ports.
In this article, we want to discover the richest countries in West Africa. Our method of the listing is GDP per capita (PPP), which is the average purchasing power of the population over a period of time. This is the method that most relates to the quality of life of the people. Let us now highlight the richest countries in West Africa.
Top 10 Richest Countries In West Africa By GDP Per Capita PPP
1. Cape Verde GDP per capita – $8,716
Cape Verde is number one among the richest countries in West Africa and number 119 in the world. Cabo Verde as it is officially known is an island country, off the coast of Senegal. Cabo Verde is completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and has a total land area of about 4,000 square kilometers.
Cape Verde was a prized Portuguese colony because it was a great stopover spot for commercial ships. Even today, Cape Verde thrives as a shipping center. The country has a population of around 550,000, and they are mostly engaged in the service sector; tourism, hospitality, cruise ships, and related industries.
The GDP per capita of Cape Verde is 8,716 USD, which is the highest in West Africa.
2. Ghana GDP per capita – $7,343
Ghana is the second richest country in West Africa. The country attained independence from Britain in 1958, but before then had great kingdoms that maintained trade relations with the Arabs and Portuguese. The country which has good exposure to the Atlantic Ocean has a land area spanning 238,535 kilometers, and a population of about 31 million people.
Ghana’s economy is diversified; manufacturing, petroleum production, gold mining, hospitality, tourism, and so on. The country is also good in agriculture, and good in trade and exports; a thing that is greatly helped by the exposure to the Atlantic Ocean.
3. Nigeria GDP per capita – $6,172
Nigeria is a country on the western coast of Africa. With a population estimated at around 200 million, this is the most populous black nation. Nigeria has some of its land directly exposed to the Sahara desert, and a good portion of its south, meeting the Atlantic ocean. The country has in between those two extremities, good arable land that can potentially make it an important hub of food production.
Despite the official GDP figures quoted at 6,172, the vast majority of the population of Nigeria live in poverty. Violence and political instability have greatly affected commercial activity, even farming is often disrupted. Despite this, Nigeria has some of the most enterprising people in the world; Nigeria has one of the highest numbers of self-employed people in the world. Some economic activities that thrive in Nigeria are agriculture, transportation, oil exploration, shipping, food production, retail sales, and manufacturing.
4. Mauritania GDP per capita – $5,158
Mauritania is a country in West Africa, located in the Indian ocean and the fourth wealthiest West African Country. The people of Mauritania are an ancient nomadic people that gradually abandoned their nomadic lifestyle. The country was colonized by the French, although Arabic is the most common language spoken.
The country has a land area of 1,030,000 km2 and a population of 4,403,313 people. The country’s economy is based on agriculture and livestock, and major industries include mining (particularly iron ore), petroleum, and fishing. Mauritania is described as a poor country.
5. Senegal GDP per capita – $4,079
With a GDP (PPP) per capita of 4,079, Senegal comes in next on our list. Senegal is a country in West Africa, which also has desert land, as well as some of its land on the Atlantic Coast. The country has a population of about 15,854,323, and a landmass of about 196,712 km2. Its neighbors are guinea, mali, and its maritime neighbor is Mauritania.
Senegal is a poor country by global standards, but it makes the top 10 by regional standards. Some of the economic activity that buoys Senegal are agriculture, fishing, industry and manufacturing, tourism, hospitality, as well as health, education, and culture.
6. Côte d’Ivoire GDP per capita – $4,754
Cote d’ Ivoire, which is also known as ivory coast to the English speaking world, is a country in the western part of Africa. The country has a population of about 26,378,274 (26 million), and a land area of about 322,463 km2. Neighbors of Cote d Ivoire are Liberia, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Ghana.
Economic activities in cote d’ Ivorie are shipping, oil production, agriculture, mining, and service industry such as hospitality, tourism, financial services, and so on. Ivory Coast is a very important place for its landlocked neighbors who receive much of their imports through Ivorian seaports. Ivory Coast is one of the biggest producers of cocoa in the world, and they also produce a lot of rubber, groundnuts, and other cash crops. Ivory Coast has the largest economy in the region.
7. The Gambia GDP per capita – $2,892
The Gambia is a tiny country in West Africa. The country is close to Senegal, which almost completely surrounds it, except for the narrow coastline that meets the Atlantic Ocean. The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa and a member of the Economic Community of West African States. The country has a population of 2.1 million people.
The Gambia’s economy is boosted by agriculture. Historically the Gambia has been associated with groundnuts. These days there is a lot of production, tourism, and other service-based commercial activities.
8. Guinea GDP per capita – $2,574
Guinea is a country in West Africa. The country is often called Guinea Conakry to differentiate from its neighbor with a similar name. The country has a land area of about 245,857 km2 and a population of 12,414,293. Guinea has a GDP of 2,574; its economy is boosted by agriculture, mining, tourism, and so on.
9. Mali GDP per capita – $2,569
Mali is a country in West Africa. The country is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi). However, we can say that the population of 19.1 million is comparatively small for such a large landmass.
The country’s GDP is 2,569 USD. And the economy is boosted by agriculture, mining, transportation, and small scale services.
10. Guinea-Bissau GDP per capita – $2,113
Guinea Bissau is very similar to the other guinea named above. The country’s neighbors are Senegal and Guinea Conakry. The country has a GDP of 2,113, making it one of the poorest in the world. Its economy survives on agriculture; its main exports are fish, groundnuts, and cashew nuts.
Closing On The Richest Countries In West Africa
The richest country in West Africa is a distant number 119 in the world, showing that despite west Africa’s blessings, the wealth has not trickled down to the common people. There is very little development, very few government policies that help the people, and the ruling class has, for a long time stolen much of the wealth, putting it in European banks and economies.