17 Most Developed Countries In Africa

What countries are the most developed countries in Africa?

Up until 1990, the world relied on GDP and similar methodologies to measure the quality of life of citizens and the development in a country. However, in 1990, Mahbub ul Haq and Amartya Sen developed a new methodology for measuring the quality of life in a country. Unlike other metrics, Human Development Index (HDI) considers critical factors such as the likelihood of:

  • a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy)
  • access to knowledge (measured by mean years of education)
  • a decent standard of living (Gross National Income (GNI) per capita).

This article uses this methodology to rank the most developed African countries.

List of Most Developed African Countries

This article is sorted from the least developed African country to the most developed African country.

17. Sao Tome and Principe – 0.555

Sao Tome and Principe National Stadium

Sao_Tome and Principe

  • Life expectancy at birth: 66.5 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 11.3 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 4.7 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 16.7%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $2.918
  • HDI value: 0.555
  • Population: 0.2 million

Education in São Tomé and Principe leaves a lot to be desired, and the standard of living is equally poor. However, Life expectancy is around 67 years.

Sao Tome and Principe’s HDI value is 0.555— which put the country in the medium human development category and as the seventeenth most developed country in Africa.

16. Ghana – 0.579

fastest developing African countries

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Accra, Ghana

  • Life expectancy at birth: 61.4 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 11.5 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 7.0 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 4.2%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $3,852
  • HDI value: 0.579
  • Population: 26.4 million

Ghana has a population of about 27 million people with a life expectancy age of around 61 years. About 95% of children in Ghana are getting a quality education. Unemployment is also low at 4.2%.

Ghana has a Human development index score of 0.579, and it ranks as the sixteenth most developed country in Africa.

15. Zambia – 0.586

lusaka zambia development

Lusaka, Zambia

  • Life expectancy at birth: 60.1 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 13.5 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 6.6 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 7.8%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $3,734
  • HDI value: 0.586
  • Population: 15 million

Zambia has a population of around fifteen million, and life expectancy is age 60. Education is a compulsory equal right for every child in the Zambian society. In 2016, education sector in Zambia was allocated 17.2% of the national budget, which is lower than the global recommendation of 20%.

According to the Human development index, Zambia is the fifteenth most developed country in Africa.

14. Equatorial Guinea – 0.587

malabo equatorial guinea

Malabo Harbor, Equatorial Guinea

  • Life expectancy at birth: 57.6 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 9 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 5.5 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): n.a.
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $21,056
  • HDI value: 0.587
  • Population: 0.8 million

Equatorial Guinea is one of the largest producers of oil in Africa, and it has a population of just eight hundred thousand. Equatorial Guinea is regarded as the richest country in Africa because it has the highest GDP per capita income. Education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 14. However, Life expectancy is around 58 years.

According to the Human Development Index, Equatorial Guinea is the fourteenth most developed country in Africa.

13. Congo – 0.591

developed countries in africa

  • Life expectancy at birth: 62.3 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 11.1 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 6.1 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): n.a.
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $6,011.7
  • HDI value: 0.591
  • Population: 4.6 million

The Republic of Congo has a population of about 4.6 million people. Education is compulsory for children of age 0-16. However, there has been a decline in the quality of Education in recent years. Life expectancy is around 62 years, and the standard of living is not high.

According to the Human development index, Republic of Congo is ranked thirteenth on the list of developed countries in Africa.

12. Namibia – 0.628

Windhoek-Namibia

Windhoek, Namibia

  • Life expectancy at birth: 64.8 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 11.3 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 6.2 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 29.6%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $9417.8
  • HDI value: 0.628
  • Population: 2.3 million

Namibia gains most of its income from mining of uranium and diamonds. The Educational system provides for children from primary to secondary schools. Life expectancy in Namibia is age 65, and the standard of living is much less than the global average.

Namibia is the twelfth most developed African country.

11. Morocco – 0.628

Marrakech-Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco

  • Life expectancy at birth: 74 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 11.6 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 4.4 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 9.2 years
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $6850.1
  • HDI value: 0.628
  • Population: 33.5 Million

The majority of Morocco’s income from mining, tourism, manufacturing, construction, textiles, Agriculture, and telecoms. Education is compulsory, and it is free up to primary school level. The life expectancy is 72 and 74 years for male and female citizens respectively.

According to the Human development index, Morocco is the eleventh most developed country in Africa.

10. Cabo Verde – 0.646

most developed African countries

Ponta do Sol, Cape Verde

  • Life expectancy at birth: 73.3 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 13.5 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 4.7 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 10.7%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $6,094.2
  • HDI value: 0.646
  • Population: 0.5 million

With a bumbling economy with little mineral resources, Cape Verde economy boosts of income from tourism, export of fish, human services, wine.production and Salt export. Education is free up to age 16, and the educational system is ranked 2nd in Africa. The life expectancy is 71 and 79 years for male and female respectively.

Cabo Verde is the 10th most developed country in Africa.

9. South Africa – 0.666

south Africa, medium develped country

Cape Town, South Africa

  • Life expectancy at birth: 57.4 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 13.6 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 9.9 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 24.7%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $12,122.3
  • HDI value: 0.666
  • Population: 53.1 million

South Africa has the second largest economy in Africa, and it runs one of the most diversified economies in Africa. A 2016 report commissioned by the US government found that South Africa has the lowest life expectancy age in the world. However, education in South Africa is excellent, and the standard of living is equally high. According to the human development index, South Africa is the ninth most developed African country.

According to the human development index, South Africa is the ninth most developed African country.

8. Gabon – 0.684

Gabon, most developed sub-Saharan African country

  • Life expectancy at birth: 64.4 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 12.5 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 7.8 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 20.4%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $16,366.9
  • HDI value: 0.684
  • Population: 1.7 million

Oil exploration and exportation mainly dominate the economy in Gabon. Education is free and compulsory from age 6 to 16, life expectancy is around 64.4 years, and GNI per capita is $16,366.9.

Gabon one of the most developed nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and the eight most developed country in Africa.

7. Egypt – 0.690

Egypt

Egypt

  • Life expectancy at birth: 71.1 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 13.5 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 6.6 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 13.2%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $10,512.4
  • HDI value: 0.690
  • Population: 83.4 million

Egypt is renowned for its Tourism and Oil industry, and it is the seventh most developed country in Africa.

The life expectancy is 71 years; the average income is impressive for a country with such a high population and the expected years of education is 13.5 years.

6. Botswana – 0.698

Gaborone-Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana

  • Life expectancy at birth: 64.5 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 12.5 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 8.9 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 17.9%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $16,646.2
  • HDI value: 0.698
  • Population: 2 million

A once impoverished nation, Botswana rose up from it shadows developing into a prosperous economy from mining, cattle rearing, tourism. The educational system boasts of a ten-year free basic education scheme. The life expectancy in Botswana is estimated to be 64.5 years due to HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Botswana is ranked the sixth most developed African nation.

5. Tunisia – 0.721

Tunisia

Tunisia

  • Life expectancy at birth: 74.8 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 14.6 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 6.8 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 17.6 %
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $10,404.5
  • HDI value: 0.721
  • Population: 11.1 million

An export-oriented country involving Agriculture, mining, manufacturing, petroleum products and tourism. It produces clothes, footwear’s, car parts and automated machinery. Education is mandatory up to age 16, and its expected years of schooling is around the same level as the United States.

The Life expectancy is estimated at 75 years while the average annual income of residents is around ten thousand dollars. Tunisia has a high unemployment rate estimated at 18%. However, it is one of the few African countries with a high human development score.

It is the fifth most developed African country by the Human Development Index.

4. Libya – 0.724

Tripoli-Libya

Tripoli, Libya

  • Life expectancy at birth: 71.6 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 14 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 7.3 years
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $14,910.9
  • HDI value: 0.724
  • Population: 6.3 million

Libya has the largest oil reserve in Africa, and according to the human development index, Libya is one of the few African countries in the high human development category.

Education is Libya is compulsory from basic to secondary level. Life expectancy is around 72 years, and the average income of residents is around the global average.

Although, Post-Gaddafi Libya is at war with internal and external forces and the Human Development Index does not capture the current reality in Libya.

3. Algeria – 0.736

Algeris, Algeria

Algiers, Algeria

  • Life expectancy at birth: 74.8 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 14 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 7.6 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 9.8%
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $13,054.3
  • HDI value: 0.736
  • Population: 39.9 million

Algeria is ranked the third most developed country in Africa by the Human development index.

Life expectancy in Algeria is estimated to be around 75 years, one of the highest in Africa. Education is free at all levels, and the country has one if the highest literacy rate in Africa.

The Algerian Economy is largely based on Hydrocarbons exports, and although unemployment is almost at double digits, the government has continued to support its citizens through a robust social program which it might have to cut because of declining oil prices.

2. Seychelles – 0.772

  • Life expectancy at birth: 73.1 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 13.4 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 9.4 years
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $23,300.3 years
  • HDI value: 0.772
  • Population, total (millions): 0.1 million people

Seychelles is a beautiful African country on an island in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa. The country has a population of around 200,000 and citizens have an average income of twenty-three thousand dollars per year and a life expectancy age of 73 years.

According to UNESCO, Seychelles has a primary school completion rate of 94%; the second highest in Africa behind Mauritius. The age of 16 is the minimum school leaving age and education is free through the secondary level until the age of 18.

Agriculture and tourism hugely dominate Seychelles economy, and it is one of the richest countries in Africa. Regarding development, Seychelles has a high human development index of 0.772 which makes it the second most developed country in Africa.

1. Mauritius – 0.777

most developed country in Africa

Port, Louis

  • Life expectancy at birth: 74.4 years
  • Expected years of schooling: 15.6 years
  • Mean years of schooling: 8.5 years
  • Total unemployment rate (% of labor force): 7.6 %
  • GNI per capita (2011 PPP$): $17,469.8
  • HDI value: 0.777
  • Population, total (millions): 1.2 million

Mauritius has a small population of just over a million people and a high income per citizen of around $17,469.8 per year. The unemployment rate is about 7.6%, and life expectancy age is 74 years.

Education in Mauritius is free up to tertiary levels, the minimum school leaving age in Mauritius is 16 years, and the government of Mauritius provides free transport for all students. Mauritius has one of the best educational systems in Africa, ranking highly on almost all relevant metrics.

Mauritius has a Human Development Index score of 0.777, the highest in any country in Africa which puts it in the High Human Development category. Mauritius is one of the most developed countries in Africa.

Most Developed Countries In Africa

RankCountryHDI
1Mauritius0.777
2Seychelles0.772
3Algeria0.736
4Libya0.724
5Tunisia0.721
6Botswana0.698
7Egypt0.690
8Gabon0.684
9South Africa 0.666
10Cabo Verde0.646
11Morocco0.628
12Namibia0.628
13Congo0.591
14Equatorial Guinea0.587
15Zambia0.586
16Ghana0.579
17Sao Tome and Principe0.555