To know which are the poorest countries in the world, the indicator that can provide the best dimension of this reality, the Gross Domestic Product per capita. This indicator shows the average income available for each person living in a given country over a year.
The figure is obtained from the gross domestic product per capita. It is the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year, converted to market exchange rates to current US dollars, divided by the population for that same year.
The figures presented here do not take into account the differences in the cost of living in different countries. The results vary greatly from year to year depending on fluctuations in the exchange rates of the country’s currency.
Precisely those fluctuations change the classification of a country from one year to another. nevertheless, these changes, little affect the level of life of its population. The following list is made with the data of 2017 of the International Monetary Fund on the Gross Domestic Product per capita of each of the countries of the world.
1- South Sudan: $ 221 per year per person
Despite its poverty, the country has significant mineral resources. It is especially rich in oil, and as a result of the outcome of the 2005 peace agreement it also participates in the benefits of these.
According to a World Bank study with the oil revenues that accumulate in the autonomous government, it would be enough to reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of the population of southern Sudan.
2- Malawi. $ 326 per year per person
Malawi is among the least developed countries in the world. Malawi’s economy is very dependent on agriculture, on which it depends more than 30% of its GDP. 90% of its exports come from the primary sector and more than 80% of the total exported is tobacco.
As a result, Malawi has a large percentage of the rural population, 85%, which makes it one of the least urbanized countries in the world. The Government of Malawi depends to a large extent on foreign aid, which in 2008 was reduced due to suspicions of corruption.
3- Burundi $ 343 per year per person
Burundi is a landlocked country and poor in natural resources. Its economy is predominantly agrarian. In fact, this sector accounts for more than 50% of the Gross Domestic Product of the country and employs more than 90% of the active population.
Within this activity, 90% corresponds to subsistence agriculture, which positions it as one of the least developed countries on the planet. Approximately 80% of Burundi’s population lives in poverty.
A situation that is rooted in the lack of resources of the country, but also in legal uncertainty, lack of economic freedom and lack of education.
Health problems are also added, such as the prevalence of AIDS among its population. Thus, 56.8% of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition.
4- Central African Republic. $ 399 per year per person
The Central African Republic has a very precious natural resource: diamonds. Between 40 and 50% of exports from this country are estimated to come from this precious and sought-after mineral.
But that natural wealth does not revert in its population. It is estimated that approximately half of diamond exports occur in hiding. Thus, most of the population is engaged in agriculture.
In 2012, the most recent armed conflict in the Central African Republic was unleashed. it is about the confrontation between the government forces and the Seleka armed group. This confrontation has affected a quarter of the country’s population.
Although in 2015 a peace agreement was signed between the different parties to the conflict, the fighting continues to claim lives. Thousands of innocents take refuge in neighboring countries or in other areas such as Bangui, the capital of the country.
5 – Madagascar $ 412 per year per person
About 69% of the population of Madagascar lives below the poverty line of the country, situated at one dollar a day. The agrarian sector constitutes 29% of the Malagasy GDP, while manufacturing constitutes 15%.
Other sources of growth in the country are tourism or extractive industry. 50% of the population suffers chronic malnutrition in Madagascar (the fourth highest rate in the world).
The climate is one of the causes of the difficulties that Madagascar is dragging. The island has been affected by the El Niño phenomenon with great droughts. Added to this are extreme poverty and political corruption.
6- Mozambique $ 417 per year per person
Mozambique has great natural resources. The economy of the country is very based on agriculture, but the industry is growing, like the tourism sector.
Since 2001, Mozambique’s annual GDP growth has been among the highest in the world. However, the country remains one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries on the planet. It has a low level of GDP per capita, human development, strong inequality and low life expectancy.
7- Niger. $ 420 per year per person
Niger is the fourth producer of uranium on the planet. Despite this, its economy focuses on subsistence agriculture. Desertification is one of the serious threats to Niger, which is located in the strip known as the Sahel, the transition zone between the Sahara desert to the north and the Sudanese savanna to the south. This area has a great influence of jihadist terrorism.
But the biggest threat to Niger is hunger. It is a country besieged by famines that has recently experienced numerous humanitarian emergencies caused by hunger. The majority of the population in the country lives below the poverty line.
8- Democratic Republic of the Congo. $ 466 per year per person
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the richest countries in natural resources. The Congo has 70% of the world’s coltan, a third of the world cobalt, more than 30% of the diamond reserves and a tenth of the copper.
And despite this, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. This is due to a long history of colonization that was coupled with a dismemberment of the country in groups confronting each other.
Violence has been widely protagonist and the minerals in conflict are predominant today, with a population exploited by the mafias dedicated to extraction. In addition, the minerals that are not in conflict are plundered by multinational groups thanks to agreements with the Government.
9- Liberia. $ 474 per year per person
Liberia is one of the poorest countries on the planet, with an extremely underdeveloped economy. The situation is largely due to the First Civil War of Liberia, which took place between 1989 and 1996.
The civil war destroyed much of Liberia’s economy, especially the infrastructure surrounding Monrovia. It also caused a brain drain and the decapitalization of the country.
The war meant the overthrow of the American-Liberian minority that ruled the country. Some returned during 1997, but many did not return.
Liberia is a well-stocked country of natural resources. Water, mineral resources and forests abound. In addition, it has a favorable climate for agriculture.
But it is poor in human capital, infrastructure and stability. This makes it, as with many other African neighbors, one of the poorest countries in the world.
In fact, Liberia has a profile that is repeated a lot in the economies of sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of the population depends on subsistence agriculture. Exports are dominated by commodities such as rubber and iron ore. Local manufacturing is mainly foreign owned.
10- Gambia. $ 488 per year per person
The Gambia, on the other hand, does not have significant natural resources and has a limited agrarian base. About 75% of its population depends on subsistence crops and livestock. It is a country very dependent on foreign aid.
Only 40% of its population over 15 years of age is capable of reading and writing. The Gambia, which is the smallest country in Africa, has a rate of 0.038 doctors per thousand inhabitants. Practically there are no doctors in The Gambia.
The Gambia is the fruit of colonial whims and fights between European metropolises. In fact, its geography, surrounded by Senegal, does not make sense. It was cut on the map around the Gambia River and its origin is in the slave trade. Gambia was first Portuguese settlement and later British colony.
The country has experienced some political stability since its independence in 1965. But it has paid a high price, in the form of a military dictatorship, following the 1994 coup d’état led by Yahya Jammed. Since then, he has always been in power.