Since 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.
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’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
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
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
According to the Human Development Index, Equatorial Guinea is the fourteenth most developed country in Africa.
13. Congo – 0.591
- 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
Namibia is the twelfth most developed African country.
11. Morocco – 0.628
According to the Human development index, Morocco is the eleventh most developed country in Africa.
10. Cabo Verde – 0.646
Cabo Verde is the 10th most developed country in Africa.
9. South Africa – 0.666
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
- 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
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
Botswana is ranked the sixth most developed African nation.
5. Tunisia – 0.721
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
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
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
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
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.