Why is Africa far ahead of India economically, although Africa is also still poor?



Prathamesh Kulkarni, studied at High School Students

Because natural resources



Let’s see. Equatorial Guinea had a GDP per capita of $15,401[1] in 2009. It is the richest country in Africa per capita income wise. That makes it richer per capita than Brazil, and , Mysia, and comparable to Poland. However, Equatorial Guinea ranks 138th on the Human Development Index[2] , even below India, despite it’s per capita income being nearly 14 times India’s. The country is quite poor and has a large number of people the below poverty line. Around 60% of the population live below the poverty line[3] compared to 22% in India[4] .

How? Equatorial Guinea is a Kleptocracy, with one of the highest Gini coefficients in the world, which means high income inequality. How are Nigeria, and Libya, and Algeria, and Egypt major oil exporting countries[5] any different? Kleptocracy is the most common in underdeveloped countries that are dependent on natural resources.

Natural resources push up their GDP per capita because it is mathematical, but the way money is put into use matters too. That being said, the premise of the question is correct.India is home to world’s largest poor population.





Darryn Seymour, Proudly British South African.

First of all Africa is a continent not a country you cannot compare an entire continent to one country that’s like me saying why is Brazil so far behind North America or why is more developed than the Middle East for example, it’s a horrific comparison cause you are treating Africa as one country which it isn’t as it is a combination of different countries as it is a continent. It would be better to say why is the economy of South Asia less developed than Africa as you are comparing two regions with different countries or better why is Asia less economically developed than Africa or why is African country more economically more developed than India.

Secondly while parts of Africa are poor not all regions in the continent is poor you cannot just,” Africa still poor,” cause you are generalizing a entire continent which is dangerous as that spreads ignorance. Also same for the Indians there are poor and rich areas there and you cannot generalize a entire country either as like with generalizing Africa it’s very dangerous.

Thirdly if Africa contains wealthy countries like Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia and you are comparing that to one country do you honestly think the country will compare well. No of course not it’s unequal.





Niraj Kumar, MBBS from Medicine (2024)

The data you have collected seems to be wrong.

I added up the GDP from all African countries and in 2015 they had a total GDP of 2.261 trillion, and a total population of 1.2 billion, so Africa has an average GDP per capita of 1884 dollars.

Economy of Africa

However, India has a GDP of 2.288 trillion, as of 2016, and a population of 1.25 billion, so while there is a lower GDP per capita, India as a whole is still wealthier than the continent of Africa.

Africa and India both have enormous economic pential, and this is yet to be utilised in both sides, however, India is doing better than Africa as a whole as it has less co ption, fewer wars, and also has better healthcare and education. This can be shown by the fact that the death rate for African countries is around 16 on average, whereas it is only 8 for India.







Laxon Ku

  1. Indian population size, there are about 1.277 billion people in India and growing this means per capita is the GDP divided the population.
  2. Production of low value goods, India is a leading supplier of steel, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, jewellery and petroleum products. However, these products are very ch compared to Europeans goods making their gross output less valuable.
  3. Cor ion, some of India's institutions are marred with a lot mismanagement, nepotism and bribery. This leads to waste of resources which are lost through transactions and professionals being left out.
  4. Former British colony, if you study the economies of Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and India you 'll find similar trend within their rank. They face issues that Britain underwent during the agrarian revo tion. These problems including land tenure sy ems and governance were inherited during the colonial times. They have in turn crippled operations especially in construction projects and large scale agriculture.
  5. Pakistan, this India neighbor keeps the country on their toes. Pakistan and India have been rivals for quit a while leading to poor security and less inbound investments.
  6. Culture, Indian culture has very strong family values(very commendable) and re gious beliefs where material wealth is not highly prioritized.
  7. Outbound investments, some of India's best minds and investors are based in Europe, Africa and the US, as opposed to investing in their home country they go where business is optimal.









Robert Reski, Writer for economics newspaper

Well Laxon provided a very good answer, but left out some things...

Africa is a collection of many different economies where as India is a united market and economy!

With GDP per capita at 700$per capita something in  Congo, and 33000$/capita in Equatorial Guineay!

India has1500$/capita...

Just lum all of them together provides a very limited picture, some countries are rich in oil and resources or devolved where as others are unustable and with little productive pential.







Veturi Ravi Prakash

Because of poverty is more in Africa and no proper development.

India is better because now the country is develo faster than ever. Actually if the British people did not attack India, then India would be the richest country in the world. Even more than USA. Colonialism is the main problem in both Africa and India (mostly in Africa). Actually India is far far better than Africa because of the great people’s inventions of studies in BC’s and industries in 1800’s. Actually the Kohinoor diamond is costlier than any other diamond in the world.The British took off it. It was found in the 13th century in a state in India called Andhra Pradesh.India was the greatest diamond producer in the world in that time.Then the other Empires came and loed all the things.Colonialism is really a major problem, but India is changing now.If the british did not come to India, India would have nearly 20.0 trillion USD $ (approx.), richer than USA.

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S Rajesh, International Business

I guess the question is about African Countries bettering India . GDP/Capita is the ratio of GDP(PP) to population of the country. Hence you see populous countries like India, , Russia, Phillies much down the rank, the only exception being USA .

GDP/Capita is not essentially the best indicator of economic development as it doesn't consider the means through which GDP is achieved. In fact , the Human Development Index (HDI) alongwith GDP may be a better indicator for accessing development of a nation.




Subhash Sharma, Consultant at Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (2016-present)

Africa is a heterogeneous mix of varying economies. The countries are rich in minerals, greenery, wildlife, diamonds... and what not. But the development is rock bottom. Foreign visitors are in abundance for enjoying and exploiting the local pential.

It is not the correct assessment that the African continent is ahead of India, in any field, whatever it is.




Konduru Sarma, works at ITC Electronic

Africa is a continent, not a country. Trade among the countries in Africa should be offset before comparing GDP with India, as double counting may be involved



Deepak Kumar, works at Wipro

First thing that comes to my mind is - Africa is a continent, India is a country! Cannot compare two things, in fact we should be proud that India’s GDP is equivalent of a continent! :)



Shammy Singel

Africa is a continent, India is a country. Simple!

Compare Asia with Africa or any other African country with India.




Sanchita Suman, quite familiar with anatomy of my home planet Earth!!

Africa? Are you trying to compare India to a continent?

Please be specific about your question!!




Shubham Sharma, Indian by thought, life long learner

No. India is more developed than Africa



Animesh Banerjee

India is behind because India is a country whereas Africa is a continent. So comparing a country with a continent is baseless.

Now if we compare the GDP between two continents then

We can clearly see that GDP of Africa both in terms of nominal and ppp is far less when compare to Asia.





Quora User

I don't know from where you got the data but as of recent estimates economy of India is 5th largest by GDP(nominal) surpassing UK as of 2018, and 3rd largest by GDP(PPP).

Let me give you a brief comparison:-


INDIA- $2.654 trillion.

AFRICA- $2.1 trillion.


INDIA- $10.339 trillion.

AFRICA- $6 trillion.

3)GDP per Capita(nominal)

INDIA- $1989

AFRICA- $1809

4) Population


AFRICA- 1,225,080,510


INDIA- 3,287,263 km2

AFRICA- 30,370,000 km2

6)Largest city.












非洲- 1809美元

















Both India and Africa are good in their own way but Africa is a continent and not country with wider area and natural resources. India has less resources but it is working on manufacturing goods like pharmaceuticals, automobiles etc.

South Africa is also achieving technology via its army, I heard recently they manufactured their own attack helicopter.

Both countries have space agencies which are eventually good and both are members of BRICS.

Besides this in 2015, India pledged a aid of 600 million dollars to Africa for development. And after bhutan, Africa receives highest aid from India.






Francis Korkor, M.A. Archaeology, Dip Human Resources Management

Africa is not far ahead of India economically, to me the two regions are very similar economically.

For Africa, people think Africa is so poor due to misinformation from the media, inadequate personal analysis of economic data on Africa, and also the fact that such people are intellectually lazy, so they just repeate what they hear without any critical analysis.

Now let me start by stating that Africa is going to surprise a lot of people in a few years. Currently Africa is being tipped as the global economic growth engine of the coming decades. Its vast natural wealth and favourable demographic profile are expected to turn the continent as a whole into a growth engine that is expected to run faster than any of the world’s current economic powerhouses, including , Brazil and India.

Many investors will miss out because they are going to stick to their outdated beliefs about Africa, until the whole situation unfold as a surprise before their eyes.

By doing a good analysis of economic indicators, Africa’s economic situation is very similar to that of India today. No one thinks India is so poor, yet everybody thinks Africa is very poor.

  1. Now India’s current population of about 1.33 billion is very comparable to Africa’s current population of 1.25 billion
  2. India’s GDP for 2017 was $2.5 trillion
  3. Africa’s GDP for 2017 was $2 trillion
  4. India’s GDP per capita was $1900
  5. Africa’s GDP per capita was $1824






  1. 印度目前的人口约13.3亿,与非洲目前的12.5亿人口相当
  2. 2017年印度GDP为2.5万亿美元
  3. 2017年非洲GDP为2万亿美元
  4. 印度的人均GDP是1900美元
  5. 非洲的人均GDP为1824美元

Adjusted for purchasing power parity (ppp), the two regions might even be equal.

The only significant difference is that India is one country, where as Africa is made up of 54 countries.

So people who are always thinking Africa is dirt poor are not doing good Analysis.

Also the many countries in African are growing very fast economically. Things are not static in Africa as the media wants you to believe. The sub-Saharan African region has posted some of the highest growth rates in the world recently. Eg. Ethiopia 8.5%, Côté D’Voire 7.6%, Senegal 6.8%.

This pace of growth will ensure that most African countries will be “middle income” by 2025. The projected GDP of Africa in 2050 is $29 trillion, placing it in the same range as India’s projected 2050 GDP of $33 .

Please ne that India’s projected GDP of $33 trillion will place it between number 1 to number 3 rank of countries with the highest GDP in the world by 2050. What people fail to understand is that Africa will be in the same range as India, since we will have similar population numbers.

The only reason why we will not feature on top of the ranking is because Africa is a continent with many countries. In terms of wellbeing however, the African population will be at the same level with India, since ranking per se doesn’t mean much.

Constantly on the news, I hear the media praising India’s projected GDP for 2050, but they are always quite on Africa’s projected GDP, although both India and Africa will have similar population numbers, similar GDP’s, and similar per capita income by 2050. Africa may even surpass India since Africa’s land size is 9 times that of India (therefore more oil and natural resources in Africa than in India).









Take ne that the African continent went through “hell” with Europeans coming in and disrupting their ways of life through the sl ve trade and attempted colonialism. That disruption means local industries and local technology were disrupted. Without the disruption, many of the African communities would have developed sustainable industries and technologies at par with other areas of the world. Once the Africans rid themselves of the colonial invaders ( which took a chunk of valuable time and was not an easy feat to accomplish), they had to learn new ways of doing things, in the western way because all their local industries got disrupted during the colonial times.

That not withstanding, if you have been to Africa recently, you will see that many countries in the continent is fast develo.

Let not lose sight of the fact that, the African continent is 30.37 million km². So therefore Africa is:

Three times (x 3) the size of the USA

Three times (x 3) the size of all Europe (which includes Russia).

Three times (x 3) the size of the

And Nine times (x 9) the size of India








People who compare such a large continent to small countries like USA//India, should know that if Africa were to be only one third of its size, it would had developed just as fast as the other areas.

Despite the large and vast size of the continent, the Africans have managed to spread all over the continent (54 countries), in the process surviving from the most remest jungles in the rain forest of the Congo to the harshest deserts of the Chad.

Many foreigners are ignorant of the fact that just like every other continent, there are: Rich & Middle class families in Africa.

Africans who are actually richer & have better lives than most foreigners.

Also when talking about the contribution of various regions of the world to world development, people erroneously choose recent contributors to development over past contributors. That is so wrong. Good academics should be looking at the whole timeline from about 10,000 BCE till now. If they do good analysis and not just pick and choose a timeline favourable to their argument, they will see the contribution of Africa as a whole, and sub-Sahara Africa in particular.






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