There are two methods of measuring the wealth of a country. The two approaches indicate how poor or rich the residents of the country are. That is the living standards of the inhabitants. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the most popular measure used. GDP represents the value of all goods and services produced within the boundary of a country. That doesn’t take consider any income from outside the country. And that is the difference between GDP and GNI. To compare the economy of two countries, Gross National Product (GNP) applies. Per capita income is the average income earned by a resident of a particular country in a year. You arrive at per capita by dividing the total revenue by the population of that country.
Different countries record varying levels of the economy. This is because of the variations in the economy of the nations. Factors like Illiteracy, unemployment, and poor environmental background determine the economy of a country. The following is the list of the poorest countries in the world in the year 2017. The list starts with the least poor country to the most impoverished.
Madagascar is an island and a home of biodiversity located in the Indian Ocean. It is off the coast of South Africa. It is the fourth-largest island in the world. On this island, you will find 90% of the flora and fauna of the earth. The unique wildlife and ecosystem have attracted high populations to the island. That may be the reason behind the continued rise in the population of this country. The island is about 592,800 square kilometers. Annual Tropical cyclones are one of the main challenges faced here. The Cyclones lead to the destruction of the infrastructure and other valuables. Each year, many residents of Madagascar’s’ go homeless as a result of these storms. The losses arising from the storms have hit $250 million. The increase in the population puts strains on the resources available. This deforestation is a common phenomenon.
The main economic activities in Madagascar are the growing of rice, coffee, silk and palm oil. These products are also exported. The country is dependent on agriculture. The chief products are tea, cotton, and dairy. This country has experienced political strife, coups, and poor governance for long. As a result, the country’s economy and the living standards suffered. Furthermore, the living standards are on a downward trend. More than 70% of the residents live below the poverty line. According to IMF Madagascar’s per-capita GDP (PPP) was an approximated $1,500 in 2015. That ranks it at the 10th lowest economy in the world
The Ebola epidemic of 2014 hit this country hard and its economy. That added salt to many years of the political instability of a long time. That had a significant effect on the growth of the economy of this country. Thus, Guinea is one of the poorest nations in the world. It has a per-capita GDP (PPP) of less than US $1,400 as estimated in 2015. Guinea was a stable country during the 90s. Mining and agricultural industries were blossoming. The economy of the country is dependent on farming and fishing. Since farming is subsistence, the farmers do not have access to new farming technologies. Moreover, investors have ditched the country since the Ebola outbreak. That is why it features among the poorest nations.
It’s interesting enough that Ethiopia appears on this list. History shows that Ethiopia has been a relatively wealthy country. But that is not the case today. Things have changed, and the country is now on the list of the poorest countries in the world. The per capita GDP (PPI) is now $1380 according to IMF. Regardless, the future of this nation is bright. The undergoing political reforms will favor the country a great deal. With the changes in the political arena, they will realize economic growth and stability. Ethiopia has a population of about 74 million, which works to its disadvantage. Again, they depend on donor funding. The economy depends on the agricultural sector to a great extent, which is so unstable.
Mozambique has enjoyed a constant economic growth for the last one decade or so. The government developed some macroeconomic reforms to bring the economy back to normal. The changes together with the political stability have favored growth. And the trend could get strengthened by the promising extracting industry. The mining industries deal in extraction and smelting of Aluminum and titanium. Inflation levels went down in the 90s though they shot back to double-digits.
Furthermore, the country’s many years’ debts got cleared through forgiveness. Also, IMF had ranked it as one of the indebted countries. IMF rescheduled the debt. Despite that, the growth in the rural areas has not improved. People still live in poverty. A majority of the people here live below the poverty line. Not to mention the primary activity is subsistence farming. The GP of the country depends on the agricultural sector. IMF estimated the Per-capita GDP (PPP) in Mozambique in 2015 to be just less than $1,210.
This is a country found in the African continent. It borders Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. It covers approximately 117,600 square kilometers. Eritrea has a promising mining sector. But, the country suffers the consequences of UN sanctions. The main reason for the sanctions is the repressive government. Besides, the economy of the Eritrea depends on the mining of Gold and Silver. They also export cement. Residents have been fleeing the country due to the oppression in their country. Hence, they flee to the neighboring countries as refugees. Besides, those who live here are in abject poverty. But, there is a flicker of hope. The nation may move from the list of the poorest countries. The life expectancy has improved from 39 to 59 years. Moreover, they have made education to children between the ages of 7 and 13 compulsory. The per-capita GDP (PPP) in 2015 according to IMF was US $1,200.
Niger is one of the landlocked countries in Africa. It shares a border with five countries. It is one of the 3rd world countries, as it has a population of 12.5 million. The country’s extractive industries have contributed to economic growth in the recent years. Furthermore, it has natural resources such as gold, uranium, and oil. Also, the residents engage in agriculture. But, the Sahara Desert covers a large percentage of the land area. Thus, the country faces drought and famine. Hence, hunger is a recurrent thing among the residents of Niger. The desert limits the activities that the residents can engage in. Political instability is profound too.
Institutional fragility and overdependence on donor funding are the main problems of the country. Here, under-development has affected all the sectors of the economy. In 2015, the Per-capita GDP (PPP) of Niger was $1,070. Moreover, it is among the world’s poorest states in the world. Besides, Niger is among the most underdeveloped nations across several categories in the world. The literacy rates remain low. Child mortality rates still high compared to other African countries. The country has made notable progress in reducing infant mortality, and enhancing education. But, the development category of poverty remains rather stagnant. That has kept the GDP low making the country among the poorest in the world.
Burundi is a landlocked country located in Africa. The country is still struggling to flee from the chains of political strife. A military coup occurred in the year 2015 that resulted in bloodshed. As a result, a lot of people become refugees. Political instability has threatened any economic and institutional progress in this country. The country also is also plagued by rampant corruption in the government. Thus, poverty and low levels of development characterize Burundi. Illiteracy levels are high in this country. The HIV/AID epidemic has denied the population peace and their potential.
According to IMF, the per-capita income (PPP) of Burundi was US $951 in 2015. Famine and food shortage are a common occurrence. The children in Burundi have to grapple with malnutrition. A global hunger index conducted in the year 2013 showed Burundi as the hungriest nation. Poverty levels stand at 80% of the whole population. The economy of Burundi mainly depends on agriculture. The main cash crop and the export commodity is coffee. It forms 93% of the total exports from this country.
Liberia is in West Africa. The country sits on a land of about 111, 369 square kilometers. The effects of the twenty-year-old civil war in Liberia are still felt to date. As a result, there was extensive damage to property. There were many lives lost. Also, a lot of time went into the war, which could have gone to productivity. Thus, the economy has remained so to be fragile. Despite that, the trend might change. They have realized some growth in the recent in the past months. In Liberia, there is widespread poverty. Illiteracy levels are pretty high. Corruption is the other vice that has threatened the development of this nation.
The per capita GDP income in 2015 was approximately US $935. The country depends on agriculture as the major driver of its economy. Even so, agriculture is subsistence, and they apply old technology. Productivity is, thus, low. Foreign investment, export of iron ore, rubber and timber are drivers of its economy. More than 80% of the residents live below the poverty line. The literacy level of Liberia is just above 60%. Education at the primary level is free and compulsory. Liberia is among the West African countries affected by the deadly Ebola virus two years back. This affected the economy of the country. The foreign investors were also scared of investing there. Without foreign investment, a country can realize no development.
It is an African landlocked country located in South Africa. The country has a population of about 16 million. An estimated 85% of that population lives in the rural areas. It covers an area of about 118, 000 square kilometers. The country is among the most populated countries in Africa. Malawi’s economy has noted some improvements in the recent years. The government has brought some reforms in the education and health sector. Still, financial services have improved. But the continued high inflation has been its undoing. Also, the country has an overreliance on donor funding. That hinders or slows down the development. An economy that relies a lot on aid cannot have sustained economic growth.
In 2000, the International Monetary Fund cut its funding for Malawi. They cited massive corruption by the government. In the year 2013, news had it that the president sold the presidential jet to feed the poor. In spite of that, it became a scandal and Norway, Britain and EU cut aid worth 150 million for the country. Malawi has had to deal with HIV/AIDs pandemic. Also, they have to grapple with a poor a non-functional education system. Floods that occur in the country are also some of the biggest problems that the country faces. The Per-capita GDP (PPP) of Malawi in 2015 was at $820. The agricultural sector determines the GDP of this country. Poverty levels here are also high. There is high mortality rate among the children. The life expectancy is also low.
The Democratic Republic of Congo
This is the Africa’s second largest country with over 2.35 square kilometers of land. It has a population of about 77 million. The Democratic Republic has had a conflict for a long time. That has hindered political, institutional and economic development. The long-running political instability has cost the country economy development. This country has run away militias who have put the country into chaos for decades. The common man cannot access the vast resources that this country has. Corruption in the government and fight for power characterizes the leadership of DRC. Besides, there was high inflation and depreciation of their currencies in 1994. This had a great impact on the country.
Per-capita income in 2015 according to IMF was a low of US $750. The country has vast natural resources. They include gold, large arable lands, and a good climate. 80 million of its vast land is arable. Despite that, the residents here live in poverty. Nonetheless, the extractive industry is promising. The economy may grow. The illiteracy levels in the country are high. Unemployment rates are high whereas the living standards are low.
The Central African Republic
The CAR is the world’s least developed nation. It is a landlocked state found in the Central Africa. The country has a population of about 4.5 million people. It covers about 620,000 square kilometers in land size. The country has experienced many years of violence. Political strife and corruption have threatened to tear the country apart. This has resulted in massive poverty among the residents. In the year 2013, over 1000 people got killed. Close to one million people forced to flee their homes. According to the United Nations, over 2.2 million people in dire need of assistance.
Agriculture is the backbone of the country GDP. Central African Republican population has a life expectancy of about 43 years. Of the total population, 13.5% face the risk of HIV/AIDs pandemic. In 2015, IMF estimated the per capita income (PPP) of CAR to be among the lowest at $640. The poverty rate stands at 62%. Mining and export of diamond are the main economic activities of this country.
While the above list makes one empathize with the residents of the said nations, there is still hope. At least, most of the governments have shown the political will to change the state of the affairs. Political instability is the primary cause of poor economy. Also, ethnic strife hinders any economic growth. Those with political influence have a significant role to play. They should do whatever it takes to save the population from jaws of poverty. Corruption needs eradication by all means. That remains the only way of ensuring that the countries per capita income improve.