Richest Provinces In South Africa (2023)

South Africa is the most attractive country in Sub-Saharan Africa, and one of the most prosperous on the Continent. Information about the richest provinces in South Africa is therefore useful to people who are considering leaving their home countries in order to set up businesses in South Africa and also to native south Africans thinking about leaving their hometowns and starting life afresh, in a new area.

Whether you are foreign national thinking of moving your business to South Africa or a young South African who wants to know the best places where he can live and work comfortably, without too much strain on his finances, we have got you covered.

In this article, we want to highlight the richest provinces in South Africa, as well as economic factors and other interesting things surrounding them. Without further ado, please join us to discover the wealthiest provinces in South Africa.

Richest Provinces in South Africa

  • 1. Gauteng

          GDP per capita:$9,681USD.

Gauteng is the richest province in South Africa, and that is perhaps the reason why it is the most populous in the country. Gauteng is surprisingly also the smallest province of South Africa by land area, but somehow, there seems to be space for everybody as more people pour into the province with hopes of making it big.

Gauteng has an area of 18,176 square km and has a population of 12,272,263 people, making a GDP per capita of $9,681USD. The province is highly urbanized with big buildings and shopping centers scattered across the landscape. Johannesburg and Pretoria are cities in Gauteng, and other important areas are Vanderbijlpark and Midrand. 

 The economy of Gauteng is supported by retail commerce, financial services companies, media and marketing organizations, fashion and clothing establishments, and many overseas companies that have their offices in this province. Furthermore, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which is Africa’s largest stock exchange is also located here.

  • 2. Western Cape

GDP per capita: $8,694 USD.

Western Cape is the second richest province in South Africa, with a GDP per capita of $8,694 USD. Western Cape is quite large; it has an area of 129,449 square km and 5,822,734 people call it home. The most important city in this province is Cape Town, which is the provincial capital. This is where nearly two-thirds of the people of the province live.

Western Cape is one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, and this is expected to attract even more people to the province. 

The economy of Western Cape is supported by the real estate sector, as well as the financial services, and other businesses. The fashion industry is also big here, as is the TV production, marketing, retail commerce, advertising, etc. 

  • 3. Northern Cape

GDP per capita: $6,688USD

The Northern Cape is the province in the Northern Tip of the country. It is the largest province in the area by area but somehow happens to be the smallest by population. The province has an area of 372,889 square km and a population of 1,145,861 people. Large parts of this province have a semi-arid to arid climate and fall into the Kalahari Desert.

The city of Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape. Kimberly has the highest population in the province.

The economy of the Northern Cape is supported by mining and agriculture. These two sectors are the most important as they account for 57% of all the employment in the province. Mining for diamonds around Kimberley is a highly profitable business, while Agriculture is predominantly about vineyards, and raising Sheep.

  • 4. North West

GDP per capita: $6,677USD

The North West lies to the top left area of South Africa and the fourth richest province in South Africa. The province is fairly large with an area of 104,882 square km and has a population of 3,509,953 who call it their home. Klerksdorp is the largest city, and the capital is Mahikeng.

The economy of North West Province is supported by mining which is the biggest economic activity and generates over 50% of the GDP of the province. The province is rich in Gold, platinum, uranium, and diamonds. There is also a lot of agriculture in the area; cattle ranches and sheep farms occupy large parts to the north and west of the province. Farmers also cultivate cotton, orange, lemon, tobacco, sunflowers, and so on.

  • 5. Mpumalanga

GDP per capita: $6,251USD.

Mpumalanga is located in the eastern part of South Africa. Nelspruit is the capital of this province. The province is average in size; it has an area of 76,495 square km and 4,039,939 calls this their home. 

The economy of Mpumalanga is supported by Mining and Agriculture. Mining for gold, silica, magnetite, platinum, and cobalt is a profitable economic activity in Mpumalanga. The Coal mines in Mpumalanga provide 83% of the coal production in South Africa. As for agriculture, crops like soybeans, sugarcane, sunflower seed, coffee, tea, citrus fruits, cotton, are cultivated here, while there is some Forestry practiced here as well.

  • 6. Free State

GDP per capita: $6,213 USD.

Free State province is located in the heart of the country, and is quite large in size; the province has an area of 129,825 square km and a population of about 2,745,590. Free State is often called the Granary of South Africa. 

The economy of the Free State is supported by mining and agriculture. The Free State is South Africa’s pioneering region in biofuel production. Free State produces the bulk of the maize consumed in the country and is also one of the top producers of maize in the world. 

  • 7. KwaZulu-Natal

GDP per capita:$4,767 USD

KwaZulu-Natal is located in the southeastern part of South Africa. The province has an extensive coastline flushing into the Indian Ocean. The province is fairly large with an area of 94,361 square km, and a population of 10,267,300 people. The biggest city in Kwazulu-Natal is Durban.

The economy of Kwazulu Natal is supported by sugar refining, agriculture wine production, and mining. Crops like corn, cotton, bananas, sorghum, support the economy, as does paper, rubber, oil refineries, tanneries, and so on.

  • 8. Limpopo

GDP per capita: $4,259 USD.

Limpopo is South Africa’s northernmost province and eighth wealthiest in SA. Limpopo has a land area of 125,754 and a population of about 5,400,000 people. The capital of this province is Polokwane. 

The economy of Limpopo is supported by Mining, agriculture, and tourism. Crops like cotton, peanuts, maize, litchis, mangoes, nuts, tea, coffee, are grown in the province, while the platinum, iron, coking cold, diamonds, emeralds, etc are mined in the province. 

  • 9. Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape is located on the right-hand side of the South African map. The province has an area of 168,966 square km and a population of 6,562,053. With a GDP per capita of $3,651 USD, Eastern Cape can be regarded as the poorest province in the country.

The economy is supported by Agriculture; there is a lot of Sheep farming in the region. Fruits, coffee, tea, olives, are also cultivated here.



The South African economy is heavily tied to gold production. However, the service industry is catching up with many small-scale businesses, offering many different personalized services. However, we must not overlook agriculture; that is one sector that continues to contribute to the richest province in South Africa.