Top 10 of the poorest countries in the world are found in Africa. Three of them are within the Sahel, five of them are landlocked, putting them at a considerable disadvantage relative to those with access to maritime trade.
Political instability, violence & corruption has been the cause that has hampered the development of this countries.
Corrupt governments can make what could be a very rich nation into a poor one. And so does a history of exploitative colonization, weak rule of law, war and social unrest, severe climate conditions or hostile, aggressive neighbors.
Africa Facts Zone Presents the top poorest countries in the world.
Here’s a list of the poorest countries in the world.
Liberia (GNI per capita: $710)
With a GNI per capita of just $710, Liberia is the among the poorest countries in the world as of 2020.
Founded partly by freed U.S. slaves, Liberia’s economy was all but destroyed in the 1990s and early 2000s by a civil war that left a quarter of a million dead and thousands more displaced.
The Liberian economy also heavily depends on foreign aid. Limited economic development in the country has lead to a low standard of living. Less than 20% of the population has access to electricity, and about 39% are undernourished. The government, which ranks among the most corrupt in the world, spends relatively little on education as a share of GDP, and illiteracy is widespread.
To add to the difficulties, this country of just 4.7 million struggled to recover from the decline in commodity prices and the major Ebola epidemic that hit West Africa in 2014.
The Central African Republic (GNI per capita: $730)
Blessed in gold, oil, uranium and diamonds, the Central African Republic is a very wealthy country inhabited by very poor people. With a GNI per capita of just $730, CAR is the among the poorest countries in the world as of 2020.
The economy of Central African Republic is largely dependent on the export of diamonds, which brings in between 40-55% of the country’s export revenues. it is estimated that up to a half of those diamonds are sold on the black market, denying the government of tax revenue.
Despite having wealth of resources like gold, diamonds, and oil, violence has hindered economic development since the country gained independence from France in 1960. After a string of coups in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, religious violence between the Muslim minority and Christian majority has plagued the nation since 2012.
Slightly more than half of the CAR population lives in rural areas, but of those who live in cities, more than 90% live in slums. CAR is the only country with available data where over half of all citizens – 61.8% – are undernourished. The country also has the third highest infant mortality rate in the world and one of the lowest average life expectancies, at just 52.9 years.
Burundi (GNI per capita: $770)
Located in the Great Lakes region of Africa, Burundi has a history checkered with ethnic strife and military coups that have consistently derailed its long-term prospects for development. With a GNI per capita of just $770, Burundi is the among the poorest countries in the world as of 2020.
According to IMF data, well over 80% of the country’s population lives under the poverty line. Political unrest has once again rocked the country throughout 2015, despite the progress made over the past few years.
Burundi is also one of the least developed countries in the world. Over 87% of the population lives in rural areas, and fewer than 10% of people in the country have access to electricity. Though nearly all pregnant women in the country receive prenatal medical care, the country’s maternal mortality rate of 712 deaths per 100,000 live births is among the highest in the world.
There has also been a fall in the production of coffee, the country’s main export. According to the latest UNDP Burundi survey, 82.1% of the population lives on $1.25 a day or less and 90% of the Burundian population rely on agriculture. As a result, the population is exceedingly vulnerable to price fluctuations, export restrictions, and food scarcity.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (GNI per capita: $870)
Since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, the Congo has suffered decades of rapacious dictatorship, political instability and constant violence. With a GNI per capita of just $870, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the fourth poorest country & among the poorest countries in the world as of 2020.
There is perhaps no other country with an economic system more dysfunctional than that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Only about 17% of the population has access to electricity, and there are no fixed telephone lines. This, in addition to rampant public sector corruption, makes conducting business in the country difficult. As in many poor countries, health outcomes are lagging in the DR Congo. The country has one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates, and the average life expectancy is just 60 years.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country rich in resources like valuable minerals, like copper, diamonds, and gold. Rather than being an economic boon, however, control over these resources has helped fuel a civil war that lead to the deaths of 6 million people.
With 80 million hectares of arable land and over a thousand minerals and valuable metals under its surface, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has the potential to become one of the richest African nations and a driver of growth for the entire continent according to the World Bank. Political instability and endemic corruption continue to frustrate that potential.
Niger (GNI per capita: $990)
Niger is the largest country in West Africa, most of its territory is covered by the Sahara Desert, limiting the economic activities the country’s populace can engage in, which makes it one of the poorest countries in the world.
Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Niger has been marred by coups and political instability. As one of the least developed nations in the world, just 16% of the population has access to electricity. Over 80% of Niger’s population lives in rural areas, and of those who live in urban areas, the vast majority live in slums.
The country is completely landlocked and very resource poor. Poverty is widespread in the country as more than three in every four residents live on less than $3.20 a day. Even the 20% of the country not covered by the desert experiences periodic draughts, climate change is amplifying the effects of the combined threats of desertification of arable land and salinization of drinking water.
With 80% of its this landlocked territory covered by the Sahara desert and a rapidly growing population largely dependent upon small scale agriculture, Niger is under threat from desertification and climate change. Food insecurity is high, as are disease and mortality rates, and the army’s recurrent clashes with jihadist group and Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate Boko Haram have displaced thousands of people. One of the main driver of the economy—the extraction of valuable natural resources such as gold and uranium—has also suffered from volatility and low commodity prices.
Malawi (GNI per capita: $1,180)
One of Africa’s smallest nations, Malawi is an East African nation & one of the poorest countries in the world. With a population of 16 million people who live on less than $1.90 a day, 85% of the people depend on subsistence farming, which makes the country’s economy very fragile and dependent on foreign aid.
Poorer countries are typically heavily dependent on agriculture and subsistence farming, and in Malawi, farming accounts for 71.9% of total employment.
Like other countries in the region, Malawi is struggling to contain the spread of HIV. Currently, about one in every 10 residents between the ages of 15 and 49 are HIV positive, and, according to the BBC, more than a million children living in the country have been orphaned by the disease.
Malawi has made strides in improving economic growth and implementing crucial structural reforms.
In 2013 President Joyce Banda sold the presidential jet and a fleet of 60 luxury cars to feed the poor and grow crops to fight malnutrition. Only to be embroiled in a financial scandal involving looting, theft and corruption within the government, that went public the next month.
Also, its per capita GDP, which went from about $975 in 2010 to $1,200 in 2018, is now projected to reach $1,580 by 2024. This improved outlook has been overseen by a stable and democratic government which has received considerable financial support from both the IMF and the World Bank. Nevertheless, poverty is still widespread, and the nation’s economy—largely dependent upon rain-fed crops—remains vulnerable to weather-related shocks. As a result, while living standards in urban areas are generally improving, food insecurity in rural areas is extremely high.
Mozambique (GNI per capita: $1,200)
Mozambique, a country on the Indian Ocean in southern Africa, became an independent nation in 1975. Like many former colonial territories, Mozambique struggled in its early years of independence, enduring a civil war that lasted from 1976 to 1992.
Corruption is said to be a massive problem in the country, which hinders the economic success of individual citizens. A staggering 62.4% of the population lives on $1.90 or less a day, and nearly 82% live on $3.20 a day. The country is also dealing with a public health crisis, as 12.5% of the population between the ages of 15 and 49 are HIV positive.
Mozambique has plenty of arable land and water, but unfortunately, due to the lack of access to equipment, many agricultural workers are unable to yield as much as is necessary in order to make a profit.
The country’s economy got a boost in 2011 with the discovery of natural gas offshore field which could add an estimated $40 billion to its economy by 2035, development is still lagging due in part to the over decade-and-a-half of civil war which it one of the poorest countries in the world.
Sierra Leone (GNI per capita: $1,480)
Sierra Leone is a resource-rich country in West Africa. It endured a devastating civil war that was fueled by diamonds and valuable minerals trade. Though the war ended in 2002, it destroyed many of the country’s institutions, and the effects are still being felt. Today, Sierra Leone’s public sector is perceived to be more corrupt than most other countries.
The problems associated with the lack of economic development are evident. About a quarter of the country’s population is undernourished, and Sierra Leone’s maternal mortality rate of 1,360 deaths per 100,000 live births is the worst in the world. The country was also among the hardest hit by the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and at 52.2 years, average life expectancy at birth in Sierra Leone is the worst in the world.
Madagascar (GNI per capita: $1,510)
Madagascar is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean east of the African continent. The former French colony has been independent since 1960, grappling with political violence and coups in the last several decades. While the county has a substantial tourism industry, it is heavily dependent on agriculture, with farming accounting for more than two-thirds of total employment.
Madagascar is unique as being among the only island nations in this list of countries with substantially low levels of economic activity. The economy is largely dependent on agriculture, with chief products being rice, tea, cotton, and dairy. Madagascar has had a bad history of political strife and coups, issues which have had devastating effects on its economic productivity.
Living conditions for many in the country demonstrate the hardships associated with poverty. Over 77% of the country’s urban population lives in slums, and about 43% of residents are undernourished. Life expectancy at birth in Madagascar is just 66.3 years, about six years shy of the global average.
Here are the top poorest countries all over the world as of june 2020, Africa facts Zone will update this post according to the new trends happening across the world.