As cliché as it may be, many believe that money makes the world go round. Upon second thought, this notion really doesn’t seem to be too farfetched at all. In general, some of the most powerful people in the world tend to be the richest ones, and some of the richest people in the world tend to become some of the most powerful.
Whether an accurate unit of measurement or not, a multitude of people around the world will end up defining their success through the money they’ve made throughout their lives. If not anything else, money is an easy unit of measurement to work with because it’s probably the only directly quantifiable measure of success there is.
Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Poorest Countries in the World.
Although this remains a list of the world’s poorest nations, some of the nations on this list are actually making progress in securing economic stability for themselves. Madagascar, unfortunately, is not one of these countries. Over the last 20 years, the standard of living within this island country has declined significantly.
With a population of more than 20 million people, Madagascar has a GDP per capita of $463.00, with about 70 percent of the nation’s people living under the poverty line. Once again reliant primarily on agriculture, the vulnerability of the industry, lack of potent farming land, and the growing population only make their economic situation worse and worse over time.
The Second Liberian Civil war was a conflict within Liberia that lasted from 1999 all the way through 2003. A quick look at history will show that wars generally don’t leave involved nations economically intact as a result. Liberia is no exception to this.
Having just been subject to a 14-year-long political conflict that not only ravaged lands but also needed to make use of some of Liberia’s already finite resources, the nation was left economically crumbled by the civil war. It is also of no benefit that Liberia is, once again, primarily reliant on agriculture to drive its economy.
The GDP per capita of the war-torn nation stands at $454.30, and in 2010, it was estimated that more than 80 percent of the nation’s people were living less with less than $1.25 per day. With low yields due to old farming technologies, as well as having overall poor infrastructure, Libera only marks the halfway point down this list of the poorest countries in the world.
Holding a population of 16 million while also being one of the smallest African nations doesn’t set you up for accumulation or distribution of wealth. Arguably the most underdeveloped nation in the world, Malawi suffers greatly in essentially all categories available.
Access to education, the general standard of healthcare, infrastructure, and quality of living conditions are all limited or substandard. Because the nation is unable to develop in general, they’re for all intents and purposes stuck with trying to drive their economy using only the most primitive levels of agriculture.
With common weather variations, as well as injuries and fatalities facilitated by poor health care, Malawi’s world’s lowest GDP per capita of $226.50 doesn’t seem like it will be rising too significantly any time soon.
Aside from being one of the world’s poorest, Niger stands as one of the world’s most underdeveloped nations across several categories. Although it continues to make developments in reducing infant mortality, and enhancing education, the development category of poverty has unfortunately remained rather stagnant, keeping the nation’s GDP per capita at $415.40.
Niger’s economy is driven by two main forces: the extraction of valuable natural resources available within the nation (including gold, uranium, and even oil), and small-scale agriculture. Unfortunately, both of these economic sources can easily be devastated by random shifts in climate and weather, and thus Niger has struggled in developing themselves economically.
Mozambique has plenty of arable land and water. Not only that, but it has plenty of energy and mineral resources. Despite that, it’s one of the poorest countries in the world, with the majority of the population living well below the poverty line. As it is, there are several reasons for this including corruption, severe climate conditions, and political instability.
In 2020, a French company secured nearly $16 billion in funding for a natural gas facility in the area. Many had hoped that the project would mark the start of a new beginning for the former Portuguese colony, but the project was ultimately suspended indefinitely after an escalation of violent attacks in the region.
5. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Directly juxtaposing the previous entry in the list, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Africa’s second-largest country, holding a staggering population of roughly 77 million people.
A large population isn’t always a good thing, however, as (especially in poorer nations) this just means there is less money to go around. What is even more intriguing about this case, however, is the fact that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is actually very rich in valuable natural resources.
Similarly, the land expands over 2.35 million square kilometers, much of which is forests, although it also holds a great expanse of farmable lands and waters. In spite of all of these things, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been subject to a very unstable, corrupt political system that has been holding back the potential of the nation’s wealth drastically. As a result of this, with a GDP per capita of $484.20, a large portion of the nation’s people remain unemployed, and their lack of money thus results in their living within greatly inadequate living conditions.
4. The Central African Republic
Like Liberia, the Central African Republic has in the past been the victim of war and
significant political instability. The landlocked central African nation also supports very, very poor infrastructure, thus limiting the efficiency of the distribution of the nation’s resources.
Furthermore, this nation also shares similarities with most other African nations in that its economy is mostly directed by agriculture, although an estimated 45 percent of the Central African Republic’s export revenues are from diamonds.
However, because of the poor infrastructure and governance that the nation has to deal with, only about 4 percent of the actual arable land that the nation holds is actually used. As a result, the majority of the working population that works within the industry suffers immensely, holding the nation to a GDP per capita of $333.20.
Decades of droughts and floods coupled with massive levels of unemployment, especially among young people, have made Somalia one of the world’s poorest nations. According to UNDP statistics, the country has a poverty rate of 73%.
Their GDP was projected to grow over 3% in 2020, but it was ultimately interrupted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the World Bank states that the country could have a brighter future. For one thing, the Somali government has pledged its commitment to charting a course toward better growth and resilience.
2. South Sudan
South Sudan is the youngest country in the world. Once part of Sudan, they had separated to form a separate nation in 2011. Just two years later, however, a conflict broke out after the president accused his former deputy of staging a coup. As a result, nearly 400,000 people were killed.
What’s interesting, is that the country also ranks third in oil reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa. Rising security-related costs and falling commodity prices, however, have hammered the economy. Violence has also continued to ravage the land-locked state. In fact, it often prevents farmers from harvesting or planting crops.
Having suffered from recurring violence and political disputes, it is no surprise that Burundi ranks as the second poorest nation in the world, even though the country is working tirelessly to rebuild itself. Aside from the estimated 300,000 civilian casualties resulting in a 67 percent poverty rate, the violent political rivalries were also detrimental to Burundi’s agricultural development.
Even now, the nation ravaged by war holds very little farmable land, and any land that may be used for small-scale farming is still fragile due to the vulnerability to shifting climates and weather conditions. With the population growing rapidly, food prices rising, and a GDP per capita of $267.10, Burundi places as the second poorest country in the world.