Top 10 Biggest Markets In Africa 2024

AtlanticRide Team

This Article was Reviewed by The Chief Editor, Godfrey

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Addis Mercato, Novare Lekki, and Two Rivers Mall are some of the biggest markets in Africa.

Africa is a continent rich in history, culture, and natural resources and has witnessed remarkable growth and transformation over the years. 

As the continent continues to urbanize and develop, the role of local markets has become increasingly significant in shaping its economic landscape. 

Markets across Africa have evolved into thriving hubs of commerce, providing essential goods and services, fostering entrepreneurship, and boosting local economies. So far, 2024 has seen the economies around Africa thrive significantly. 

In this article, we will embark on a captivating journey through the top ten(10) biggest markets in Africa for 2024, shedding light on their distinguishing features, offerings, and contributions to their respective cities and nations. 

READ ALSO: Investing in International Markets with Index Funds and ETFs

Join us as we uncover the thriving heartbeats of commerce that continue to propel Africa’s growth and development.

The Top 10 Biggest Markets in Africa 2024

Here are Africa’s top 10 biggest markets ranked from bottom to top. Stay with us as we reveal who took the number-one spot.

10. Addis Mercato – Ethiopia

Addis Mercato - Ethiopia is one of the  Biggest Markets In Africa 2024

Addis Mercato is a vast open-air marketplace in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. As one of the biggest markets in Africa, Merkato spans several square kilometers and employs an estimated 13,000 people across 7,100 business entities. 

The market is a significant economic hub for the country and is an essential part of Ethiopia’s cultural identity. Merkato offers diverse goods and services, including agricultural products, textiles, clothing, electronics, and traditional crafts. 

One of the primary commodities traded in the market is coffee, which is a vital export for Ethiopia. 

The history of Merkato can be traced back to the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in the 1930s. Initially, the market was established near St. George Church, where the current City Hall stands. However, the Italian occupiers relocated the market to its present location in the Addia Ketema sub-city. 

The original name, Merkato Indigino, translates to “market of the indigenous,” reflecting the market’s roots as a gathering place for local traders. 

Over the years, Merkato has evolved into a sprawling complex with numerous stores, shopping centers, and stalls. Today, it stands as a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of Ethiopian merchants and serves as a crucial driving force behind the country’s trade and industry.

9. Gateway Theatre – South Africa

Gateway Theatre - South Africa

The Gateway Theatre of Shopping, often called Gateway, is an iconic shopping and entertainment destination in uMhlanga, just north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. 

Known as one of the largest malls in the Southern Hemisphere, Gateway offers an unparalleled retail experience that caters to a wide range of tastes and interests.

Opened in 2001, Gateway has since evolved into a premier shopping destination, boasting over 380 stores, 70 eateries, and various entertainment options. The mall’s unique design, distinct architecture, and spacious layout create an inviting atmosphere for shoppers and visitors alike.

Gateway’s retail offerings include a mix of local South African brands and well-known international labels, ensuring there’s something for everyone. 

In addition to its diverse shopping options, the mall features a range of entertainment facilities, such as a movie theater, an arcade, a skate park, and a theater for live performances.

As a central hub for uMhlanga’s social scene, Gateway frequently hosts events, competitions, and promotions to enhance the visitor experience. With ample parking and a convenient location near the N2 highway, the mall is easily accessible for local residents and tourists.

8. Novare Lekki – Nigeria

Novare Lekki - Nigeria

Novare Lekki is a premier shopping and entertainment destination in the Lekki area of Lagos, Nigeria. As the flagship project of Novare Real Estate Nigeria Limited, the mall has become an iconic retail hub and one of the biggest markets in Africa, offering visitors a diverse range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Opened in 2016, Novare Lekki boasts 22,000 square meters of retail space spread across three floors. The mall houses over 100 local and international brands, including fashion stores, electronics shops, supermarkets, and health and beauty outlets. 

In addition to its retail offerings, Novare Lekki features a wide variety of food and beverage options, from fast food chains to gourmet restaurants, catering to different tastes and preferences.

One of the standout features of Novare Lekki is its commitment to providing an exceptional visitor experience. The mall’s modern design and spacious layout create an inviting and comfortable environment for shoppers and visitors alike. 

The facility also offers ample parking, ensuring convenience for those driving to the mall.

7. West Hills Mall – Ghana

Novare Lekki - Nigeria

West Hills Mall, located in the rapidly developing area of Weija, Ghana, is a prime shopping and leisure destination in the West African nation. Opened in 2014, the mall covers an impressive 27,000 square meters of retail space and offers a blend of local and international brands for its visitors.

Anchored by two major department stores, Shoprite and Edgars, West Hills Mall boasts over 60 line shops, a five-screen cinema, and many dining options. These include local and international restaurants, fast-food chains, and cafes, providing shoppers with a diverse array of culinary experiences.

West Hills Mall’s strategic location near the Accra-Cape Coast Highway makes it easily accessible for both residents and tourists. The mall’s state-of-the-art facilities and modern architecture create a comfortable and inviting environment for shoppers, contributing to its popularity as a premier retail destination in Ghana.

Owned by Delico Property Development Limited and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), West Hills Mall represents a significant investment in Ghana’s retail sector and is crucial in supporting the country’s economy. 

6. Khan El Khalili – Egypt

Khan El Khalili - Egypt

Khan El Khalili is a world-renowned market in the heart of Cairo, Egypt. This historic bazaar has been a trade center since the 14th century and is a significant cultural and economic hub in Egypt. Named after one of its caravanserais, Khan El Khalili has evolved into a shopping district, attracting locals and tourists.

Walking through the winding alleys of Khan El Khalili, you will discover a treasure trove of Egyptian culture. 

The market is filled with local artisans and vendors selling a wide variety of traditional crafts, textiles, spices, perfumes, jewelry, and souvenirs. The air is filled with the enticing aromas of exotic spices and the sounds of merchants inviting customers to explore their wares.

Khan El Khalili’s rich history is evident in its architecture, with buildings showcasing traditional Islamic designs and ornate details. The market’s location in the historic center of Cairo adds to its charm, as it is surrounded by other notable sites such as the Saladin Citadel and the Al-Azhar Mosque.

In addition to being a popular shopping destination, Khan El Khalili is also one of the biggest markets in Africa and serves as a social gathering place for locals. 

The market’s cafes and restaurants offer a taste of authentic Egyptian cuisine, providing a welcome respite for weary shoppers. Visitors can also enjoy traditional performances and cultural events within the market, further immersing themselves in Egyptian culture.

5. Karatina Open Market – Kenya

Karatina Open Market - Kenya

Karatina Open Market, located in the heart of Karatina town in Nyeri County, Kenya, is a bustling hub of commerce and a vital economic lifeline for the region. 

Known as one of the largest open-air markets in East Africa, it attracts thousands of traders and customers from across the country, fostering a vibrant atmosphere of exchange and community spirit.

The market traces its origins back to the pre-colonial era when local communities gathered under a large Muratina tree to trade goods. Over the years, it has evolved into a sprawling, modern marketplace, covering an area of approximately 7,500 square meters and accommodating up to 3,000 traders. 

The Karatina Municipal Council has played a crucial role in the market’s development, spearheading modernization efforts, such as introducing stalls and cold storage facilities to preserve perishable goods.

Karatina Open Market offers a diverse array of products, including fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals, traditional handicrafts, clothing, and household items. 

The market’s traders, many of whom are farmers from the surrounding agricultural areas, rely on the market to sell their produce and wares, generating income and supporting their families.

As Karatina Open Market continues to thrive, it not only bolsters the local economy but also contributes to the cultural fabric of the region. 

4. Fes Medina Food Market – Morocco

Fes Medina Food Market - Morocco

Fes Medina Food Market, also known as the R’cif Market, is an integral part of the vibrant and bustling Fes Medina in Morocco. Located in the heart of R’cif Square, this market offers a unique sensory experience that captures the essence of Moroccan culture and cuisine.

As the area’s primary food market, the Fes Medina Food Market is the ideal place to shop for fresh local products, including a diverse selection of fruits, vegetables, spices, meats, and fish. The market’s numerous stalls showcase the colorful and aromatic ingredients essential to Moroccan cuisine, reflecting the region’s rich culinary heritage.

A stroll through the market allows visitors to interact with local vendors, witness the lively exchange of goods, and sample authentic Moroccan street food. The sights, sounds, and aromas of the market create an unforgettable experience that immerses visitors in the daily life of the locals.

The market’s location within the ancient walls of Fes Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, adds to its charm and historical significance. The narrow streets and alleyways surrounding the market are lined with traditional shops, workshops, and historical landmarks, offering a glimpse into the area’s past and present.

Beyond its role as a hub for local commerce, the Fes Medina Food Market also serves as a vital source of ingredients for traditional Moroccan beauty products. Shoppers can find items such as Moroccan clay (El Ghassoul) used in body scrubs and other natural beauty treatments.

3. Kejetia Market – Ghana

Kejetia Market - Ghana

Kejetia Market, also known as Kumasi Central Market, is an open-air marketplace in Kumasi, the capital city of the Ashanti Region in Ghana. As the largest single market in West Africa, Kejetia Market is a vibrant hub of commercial activity and a vital economic center for the region.

Established in the early 20th century, Kejetia Market has grown exponentially, housing over 10,000 stalls and vendors offering diverse goods and services. Visitors can find everything from fresh produce, spices, and textiles to electronics, handicrafts, and traditional Ghanaian artifacts. 

The atmosphere at Kejetia Market is a true reflection of Ghanaian culture, with friendly vendors, colorful displays, and the sounds of local dialects filling the air.

A visit to Kejetia Market offers a unique and authentic glimpse into the heart of Ghanaian commerce and culture. As a vital economic and social hub for Kumasi and the Ashanti Region, the market’s significance and vibrancy remain unwavering.

2. Two Rivers Mall – Kenya

Two Rivers Mall - Kenya

Two Rivers Mall, located in Nairobi, Kenya, is a premier shopping and lifestyle destination that has quickly risen to become one of the biggest markets in Africa. 

Opened in 2017, this state-of-the-art complex spans an impressive 67,000 square meters and offers a unique blend of retail, entertainment, and leisure experiences.

Anchored by renowned international brands such as Carrefour and LC Waikiki, Two Rivers Mall boasts over 200 stores that cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences. 

Shoppers can explore many products and services, including fashion, electronics, home appliances, beauty, etc.

In addition to its extensive retail offerings, Two Rivers Mall is also known for its world-class entertainment facilities. The mall is home to a cutting-edge cinema complex featuring the largest cinema screen in East and Central Africa. 

Other attractions include a family entertainment center, a trampoline park, and “The Eye of Kenya,” a 60-meter-tall Ferris wheel that offers breathtaking views of the city.

1. Main Market Onitsha – Nigeria

Main Market Onitsha - Nigeria

And finally the number one on the list of biggest markets in Africa is Main Market Onitsha, situated in Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. It is widely recognized as the largest market in Africa based on geographical size and volume of goods. 

This expansive market serves as a significant economic hub for the region, with its origins dating back to the early 17th century when adventurers from Benin established it.

Main Market Onitsha offers diverse products, including clothing, electronics, food, footwear, and more. Its strategic location attracts wholesale traders from neighboring states such as Delta, Edo, Ondo, Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Benue, and Taraba, as well as international vendors from Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Cameroon, and the Benin Republic.

The market operates from 8 am to 6 pm, and it’s not uncommon for trading to continue well into the evening, particularly on busy days. This constant buzz of activity reflects the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates the market and contributes to its continued growth and success.

Despite facing challenges such as overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure, Onitsha Main Market remains a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of its traders. The market’s enduring popularity highlights its importance as a key contributor to Nigeria’s economy and a symbol of the country’s dynamic commercial landscape.

Conclusion

The African continent is home to a diverse range of markets that reflect the dynamism of its economies and the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. These marketplaces contribute significantly to their respective countries’ growth and development.

The top ten biggest markets in Africa will continue to evolve and expand, presenting numerous opportunities for businesses and investors. 

The African Development Bank Group’s prediction that Africa will account for eleven of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024 highlights the immense potential and resilience of the continent’s markets. 

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About the Chief Editor

Godfrey Ogbo, the Chief Editor and CEO of AtlanticRide, merges his environmental management expertise with extensive business experience, including in real estate. With a master's degree and a knack for engaging writing, he adeptly covers complex growth and business topics. His analytical approach and business insights enrich the blog, making it a go-to source for readers seeking thoughtful and informed content.

1 thought on “Top 10 Biggest Markets In Africa 2024”

  1. It’s impressive to see the top 10 biggest markets in Africa for 2024, highlighting the continent’s economic diversity and growth. Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt continue to lead with their large populations and varied economies, while rising stars like Kenya and Ethiopia are making significant strides in technology and manufacturing. The role of natural resources in Angola and Algeria, alongside Morocco and Ghana’s investments in renewable energy, showcases Africa’s evolving economic landscape. These markets are becoming increasingly significant globally, driving growth and opportunities across the region. Kudos to all driving these advancements!

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