World - Africa Updated: November 15, 2023

Ten African countries with the lowest GDP projection for 2023

By Rasheed Olajide Awoniyi
November 15, 2023

GDP estimates are critical in establishing the economic goals and policies of governments across the world.

These estimates are especially important for African countries since they give insight into the continent's overall development trajectory, growth potential, and economic standard. 

As Africa navigates its economic landscape, using insights from GDP estimates will be important in shaping a sustainable and inclusive future.

In its October World Economic Output (WEO) report, the International Monetary Fund detailed each country's real GDP (annual percentage change).

The first half of 2023 had stronger growth and employment than predicted by the WEO in April.


Although the worldwide average prognosis has mostly remained unchanged from the July 2023 WEO Update, many nations have varying growth and inflation projections.

To understand this better, we will take a look at ten African countries with the lowest GDP project for the year 2023: 

10. Morocco

GDP Projection: 2.4%

Morocco's economy has seen a severe slowdown as a result of both internal and external shocks, including the drought and rising commodity prices. 


Between 2021 and 2022, real GDP growth fell from 7.9 per cent to an expected 1.2 per cent. 

Supply-driven inflationary pressures were set off by these shocks, and they have since expanded, driving core inflation to 8.5 per cent in February 2023 and disproportionately impacting lower-class consumers. 

The government has implemented price controls, untargeted subsidies, and a gradual tightening of the money supply as anti-inflationary measures. 

The state finances are under a lot of strain as a result of this policy package. 

The budget deficit was able to be reduced from 5.5% of GDP to 5.1% of GDP due to the dynamic nature of tax and non-tax receipts, and the debt-to-GDP ratio only slightly increased in 2022 (from 68.9 to 69.4).



9. Lesotho

GDP Projection: 2.1%

South Africa, a far bigger neighbour, encircles the small, mountainous landlocked nation of Lesotho. 

Around two million people are living there, and in 2022, the GDP per person will be $999.7. Lesotho falls under the lower middle-income category of nations. 

With 1,400 metres above sea level as its lowest point, it is essentially a highland region. The country became independent in October 1966 after being a British protectorate. 

A 120-member National Assembly and a 33-member Senate oversee the constitutional monarchy of Lesotho, which is headed by a King as Head of State.

In 2022, the rate of inflation was 8.3%, as opposed to 6% in 2021. 

After peaking at 9.8% in July 2022, inflation has subsequently moderated to 4.5% in July 2023 as a result of rising gasoline and food costs. 

Due mostly to lower export growth and increased imports of capital goods and services related to the continuing Lesotho Highlands Water Project development, the current account deficit increased from 1.4% of GDP in 2021 to 2.4% in 2022.


8. Malawi

GDP Projection: 1.7%

The population of Malawi reached 20.41 million in 2022, growing at a pace of 2.6% per year.

Malawi has made substantial structural and economic reforms to support economic growth, although the nation is still among the world's poorest. 

With over 80% of the workforce employed in agriculture, the sector is highly dependent on it and is susceptible to shocks from the outside world, especially those related to the climate.

The government unveiled the Malawi 2063 Vision in January 2021, to commercialise agriculture, industrialising the country, and urbanising the nation to make Malawi a prosperous, independent, upper-middle-income nation. 

The Country Partnership Framework (CPF) FY21–FY25 of the World Bank is anchored by the first ten-year implementation plan.


7. Angola

GDP Projection: 1.3%

The demand for oil across the world has largely determined Angola's economic performance, resulting in unstable development and high rates of inequality and poverty. 

Over the last five years, reforms have enhanced public sector governance and macroeconomic management. 

A more flexible exchange rate system, the independence of the central bank, prudent monetary policy, and fiscal austerity have all improved macroeconomic stability. 

More private sector involvement in the economy is now permitted by law, which improves the stability of the financial system.

Growth speeded up to 3% in 2022 from 1.2% in 2021, driven by growth in non-oil industries and a small increase in oil output. 

Increased oil prices supported stronger domestic demand and led to a 7% increase in private spending by enabling fiscal expansion, particularly in public investments, and the appreciation of the national currency.


6. Tunisia

GDP Projection: 1.3%

After 2011, Tunisia's economy began to slow down, leading to a lost decade of prosperity that was made worse by the COVID-19 epidemic that struck in 2020. 

Between 2011 and 2019, the GDP grew at an average rate of 1.7 per cent. Reduced trade orientation, poor investment, little innovation, and overregulation of economic activities all contributed to a notable slowdown in productivity growth.

Tunisia's welfare state became more and more necessary to fulfil the desires of its people for improved living conditions as growth and employment results declined. 

Following the revolution, the economy struggled to provide enough job possibilities, especially for university graduates and the prime working-age population, and job creation slowed significantly. 

The state attempted to make up for this by creating public jobs and providing significant subsidies to producers and consumers, but it has not yet addressed the structural imbalances that are preventing the economy from growing. 


5. Ghana

GDP Projection: 1.2%

Ghana borders Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, and Togo. It is located on the Atlantic Ocean. 

About 29.6 million people call it home as of 2018. Under a multi-party system, it has made significant progress towards democracy over the last 20 years, and the public now has more faith in its independent judiciary. 

When it comes to press and speech freedom, Ghana often places among the top three African nations.

Due to pre-existing imbalances and outside shocks, Ghana's economy experienced a full-blown macroeconomic catastrophe in 2022. 

Concerns about debt sustainability were made worse by large funding demands and tightened finance requirements, which cut off Ghana from the global market. 

High inflation was the result of large capital outflows, monetary policy tightening in advanced countries, and strong pressure on the currency rate due to monetary financing of the budget deficit.

4. Central Republic of Africa

GDP Projection: 1.0%

The Central African Republic, a landlocked nation spanning 623,000 km2, is a sparsely populated country located in the centre of Africa. 

Despite possessing an abundance of natural resources (there are 470 mineral occurrences in the country, with oil, gold, and diamonds having the most promise), it is among the world's poorest and most vulnerable nations. 

The Central African Republic has been beset by crises for more than 20 years. 

The Central African Republic, with a population of around 6,100,000, is ranked lowest in terms of development and human capital indexes (188th out of 191 nations in 2022). 

Its infrastructure is appallingly poor, its residents have limited access to basic services, its institutions are weak, gender-based violence (GBV) is pervasive, and the social fabric has been undermined. 


3. South Africa

GDP Projection: 0.9%

For numerous years, South Africa's progress has been hampered by electricity supply difficulties. 

Rolling planned power outages (load-shedding) began in 2007 and have grown dramatically, reaching over 9 hours every day in 2022. 

This major power outage has hampered economic activity and raised running expenses for enterprises, many of whom rely on expensive diesel generators. 

It has also had an impact on other infrastructure, such as water, information technology, and service delivery (health and education). 

Despite new changes and investments being examined, load-shedding is anticipated to persist for at least another two years.

The COVID-19 epidemic and weak structural growth have made socioeconomic problems worse. 

While employment has not increased, South Africa's GDP has returned to pre-pandemic levels. There were still around 74,000 fewer jobs by the end of the second quarter of 2023 than there were at the end of 2019, with women and young people continuing to be more negatively impacted. 


2. Sao Tomé and Principe

GDP Projection: 0.5%

The Republic of Sao Tome and Principe (STP) is an archipelago 350 kilometres off Africa's west coast in the Gulf of Guinea, consisting of six districts and the Autonomous Region of Principe (Regio Autónoma do Principe). 

It is a Portuguese-speaking nation with a population of roughly 300,000 people (2022). 

It is a small island state with a frail economy that is extremely exposed to external shocks. It is classified as lower-middle-income.

1. Equatorial Guinea

GDP Projection: -6.2%

Equatorial Guinea (EQG) is a country in the upper medium income bracket. It is made up of a mainland, Rio Muni, and tiny islands such as Bioko (home to the capital Malabo), Annobon, Corisco, Elobey, and others. 

In 2021, its population is expected to be 1.6 million people. Cameroon borders the nation on the north, Gabon on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea on the west. 

It has fertile land and mineral resources such as gold, uranium, diamond, columbite-tantalite, and gas and oil, which were discovered in the 1990s.

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Rasheed Olajide Awoniyi

Rasheed is a Prolific Content Writer who also has a niche in all Genres of Literature, Academic Pape...

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