Trading Over The County Line

A long, long time ago, Tim Worstall suggested putting together a map of England showing a comparison of the English county economy to African country economies, showing just how small some African economies are and therefore the slight strangeness of insisting in trade barriers between African countries when we would laugh off the idea of a trade barrier between Norfolk and Suffolk.

I finally got round to doing it, with results below. I have split England into regions for aesthetic reasons and because there is a fair amount of overlap between counties and their nearest African economy – most counties seem to fall into the $20-$40 Billion GVA bracket so, for instance, a number of counties resemble Equatorial Guinea in economic size.
The East: The smallest number of counties, all with fairly medium economies. I grew up in Suffolk and its likeness to Mauritius is uncanny…


The Southwest: Smaller economies in the southwest, though Bristol, for its size, is fairly strong…


The Southeast: The economic powerhouse of the UK with some fairly meaty economies in Kent, Hampshire and Surrey. The Isle of Wight, the smallest of the county economies, shows economic solidarity with its island counterpart, the Seychelles. I have included London here which dwarfs all other areas of the UK obviously. I have paired it with Nigeria, though South Africa and Egypt are also comparable in size…


The Midlands: With the exception of the West Midlands, mostly small to medium size economies. And as you ask, why yes, that is a bayoneted AK-47 on the flag of Mozambique…


The North: Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire are the big boys here, paired with the entire countries of Kenya and Tanzania, respectively. The empty moorlands of Northumberland pull in about as much as the ‘Bread Basket of Africa’, Zimbabwe…


Happy to take suggestions for improvements. There are a number of smaller African economies not represented at the county level of England. Perhaps a second version will look at what cities, towns (or villages) are equal to these small African countries.

Workings: I took the English county GVA data from here and converted to $B, and the African country GDP data from here. They are from different years but comparable. The African flags are from here, and the England county map is from here

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