5 Richest African Countries Where People Struggle to Survive
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Insight & Analysis - July 10, 2023

5 Richest African Countries Where People Struggle to Survive

Africa is a continent with a lot of nations that flourish in abundant resources and economic prosperity. Despite their abundant resources, some of them face significant challenges that make survival an everyday battle for their people. 

In this article, we shed light on the five richest African countries that, despite their wealth, grapple with socio-economic hardships that affect the lives of their citizens. 

By exploring the complex dynamics between affluence and survival, we aim to uncover the lesser-known realities and shed light on the urgent issues these countries face amidst their economic prosperity.


Nigeria is the richest country in Africa by GDP, but it also has one of the highest poverty rates in the world. According to the 2018/19 national monetary poverty line, 40.1% of Nigerians live below the national poverty line. 

Most Nigerians struggle to survive because of the uneven distribution of resources in the country. It is no longer news that a small portion of the Nigerian population controls a large portion of the wealth. 

One must also not forget to mention the high rate of unemployment and insecurity that has forced millions of Nigerians to relocate to greener pastures.


In terms of GDP, PPP(Purchasing Power Parity), Egypt is a leading economic force on the African continent and ranks as the second richest country in Africa. The African country’s economic openness program attracted international investment that helped the country attain record-high annual growth rates of 7$.

Despite this seismic boom, about 40% of Egyptians live below the poverty line. The cause is not farfetched from what is obtainable in Nigeria. Egypt notably has a rapidly growing population that puts pressure on available resources and infrastructure.

The income distribution is also heavily skewed as there is a significant gap between the rich and the poor. Her social welfare system also faces challenges in effectively reaching those in need. 

South Africa

Known as the most industrialised and technologically sophisticated nation on the African continent, South Africa is also one of the richest African countries. The country has a two-speed economy with one sector on par with industrialised nations and another in severe need of basic infrastructure.

Despite this, reports say around 18.2 million people in South Africa lived in extreme poverty. The next question will probably be why. So, here is your answer. Most South Africans struggle to survive because the wealthiest 1% of the South African population owns 70.9% of the country’s total wealth, while the poorest 60% hold just 7%.


Algeria comes next on the list because of the strong position it occupies as one of Africa’s primary oil and gas producers. It demonstrated its financial prowess by cancelling $902 million in debts in 2013. 

Algeria’s financial prowess has not been able to save the people from their financial struggles. This has been largely attributed to their lack of democracy, political conflicts and government spending over the years.


Morocco derives its wealth from its three primary export industries, the automobile industry, agricultural, agri-food sector and phosphates. Its tourism sector which accounts for 7% of the country’s GDP, contributes significantly to Morocco’s status as one of the richest countries in Africa.

However, just like in other African countries, unequal distribution of wealth makes most of its citizens struggle for survival. Reports say that the son of a top Moroccan executive is far more likely to belong to the same socioeconomic class as his father than the son of a labourer.

This means that the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few people while others are left in abject poverty.

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