The world economy is not divided evenly. We have come up with a list of the poorest counties of the world. The ranking below were published in Wikipedia from International Monetary Fund’s 2011 gross domestic product per capita (GDP per capita) report. It showed the countries with the lowest purchasing power parity (PPP). If you a history follower you will be aware that since 1970, there has been encouraging news emerging from developing countries. According to the UN’s 2010 Human Development Report, life expectancy in developing countries has increased from 59 years in 1970 to 70 years in 2010. School enrollment climbed from 55% to 70% of all primary and secondary school-age children. Also, in the last forty years, per capita GDP doubled to more than ten thousand U.S. dollars. Poor countries are trying to catch up with the wealthier countries, but not all are able to make the same amount of progress. A few countries in Sub-Sahara Africa, for instance have little or no progress, largely due to the HIV epidemic and civil wars.
The list goes as:
1. Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo
GDP Per Capita: $348 (As of 2011)
Do not confuse in with the Republic of Congo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has become the poorest country in the world as of 2010. Democratic Republic of the Congo was known as Zaire till 1997. Congo is the largest country in the world that has French as its official language. The population of D.R Congo is calculated to be about six million, a figure larger than the population of France (71 million people in D.R Congo vs 65 million in France). It was the Second Congo War in 1998 that devastated the country. This war involved at least 7 foreign armies is still considered as the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II. By 2008 the Second Congo War and its aftermath had already killed 5.4 million people.
GDP Per Capita: $456 (As of 2011)
Liberia is one of the few countries in Africa that have not been colonized by Europe. Liberia was instead founded and colonized by freed slaves from America. These slaves made up the elite of the country and they established a government in close resemblance to the United States of America. But 1980 the president of Liberia was overthrown and a period of instability and civil war prevailed. Hundreds of thousands were killed and in 2003 a peace treaty deal was formed which led to the democratic elections in 2005. Today, Liberia at present is recovering from the lasting effects of the civil war and related economic dislocation. Today about 85% of the total population lives below $1 a day.
GDP Per Capita: $487 (As of 2011)
The government of Zimbabwe could release its largest bank note 100 trillion dollar bill issued on January 2009. It’s not just the economic problems that the people of Zimbabwe have to fight against. Their life expectancy is the lowest in the world – 37 years for men and just 34 for women. The major reason for the early deaths is that 20.1% of the population suffers with HIV and AIDS. The health issues aren’t seeing any improvement presently.
GDP Per Capita: $615 (As of 2011)
Burundi is famous in the history for its tribal and civil wars. Burundi has never experienced peace. It is because of the everlasting civil wars it the fourth poorest country in the world. Another reason for poverty is its landlocked geography, poor legal system, lack of economic freedom, lack of access to education, and the proliferation of HIV and AIDS. Approximately 80% of Burundians live in poverty and according to the World Food Programme 57% of children less than 5 years suffer from chronic malnutrition; 93% of Burundi’s exports revenues come from selling coffee.
GDP Per Capita: $735 (As of 2011)
Eritrea was deeply affected by the Italian colonizers of the 19th century. Eritrea’s advantage of controlling the sea route through the Suez Canal made the Italians to colonized it just a year after the opening of the canal in 1869 and same reason the British conquered it in 1941. The present Eritrea’s economic conditions have not improved and real gross domestic product growth averaged 1.2 percent between 2005 and 2008. However in 2009 GDP growth was estimated at 2.0 percent.
6. Central African Republic
GDP Per Capita: $768 (As of 2011)
In spite of the rich mineral resources like uranium, crude oil, gold, diamonds, lumber, hydropower and its arable land, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Diamonds constitute the most important export of the Central Africans Republic, accounting for 40–55% of export revenues. The 2010 UNDP Human Development Report ranks CAR near the bottom of its Human Development Index (159th out of 162 countries) and unlikely to meet its MDG goals. The huge proportion of Central Africans lives on $1 a day and has decreased slightly to 62% but it still needs to be half of that in order to reach the 2015 goal.
GDP Per Capita: $771 (As of 2011)
80% of its land at Niger is covered by the giant desert of Sahara. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Parity Purchasing Power (PPP) terms as of 2011 is seen to be one of the lowest in Africa. Niger’s poverty is exacerbated by political instability, extreme vulnerability to exogenous shocks and inequality which affects girls, women and children disproportionately. In January 2000, Niger’s newly elected government inherited serious financial and economic problems including a virtually empty treasury and was qualified for enhanced debt relief under the International Monetary Fund program for Highly Indebted Poor Countries.
8. Sierra Leone
GDP Per Capita: $849 (As of 2011)
Sierra Leone is a West African country with English as its official language. It has been relying on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base and home to the third largest natural harbor in the world. Shipping from all over the globe berth at Freetown’s famous Queen Elizabeth II Quay. It is among the top diamond producing nations in the world and mineral exports remain the main foreign currency earner and also finds a place among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite. It is the major producer of gold. Despite this natural wealth, 70% of its people live in poverty.
GDP Per Capita: $860 (As of 2011)
Malawi is one of the lowest per capita income earner in the world with 53% (2004) living under the poverty line. In December 2000, the IMF stopped aid disbursements due to corruption concerns, and many individual donors followed suit, resulting in an almost 80% drop in Malawi’s development budget. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. In December 2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. In Malawi, agriculture accounts for 35% of GDP, industry for 19% and services for the remaining 46 Malawi has also lost some of its ability to pay for imports due to a general shortage of foreign exchange, as investment fell 23% in 2009.
GDP Per Capita: $899 (As of 2011)
Togo is a small, sub-Saharan economy suffering from anemic economic growth. It depends heavily on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for a significant share of the labor force. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton generate about 40% of export earnings with cotton being the most important cash crop. Togo is considered to be the world’s largest producers of phosphate. Approximately one half of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
GDP Per Capita: $934 (As of 2011)
Madagascar is famous for its tourism, agriculture and the extractive industries. Approximately 69% of the population lives below the national poverty line earning one dollar per day. The agriculture sector constituted 29% of Malagasy GDP in 2011, while manufacturing formed 15% of GDP. Tourism dropped more than 50% in 2009 compared with the previous year. Investors are wary of entering in the uncertain investment environment.
GDP Per Capita: $956 (As of 2011)
Afghanistan is the only poorest country in the world that doesn’t need any introduction. It has been exploited time and again because of decades of war. Due to nearly complete lack of foreign investment, the nation’s GDP per capita stands at $956. Its unemployment rate is 35% and 42 % of the population live on less than $1 a day. Tribal warfare and internecine feuding has been one of their chief occupations since time immemorial. Afghanistan has never lost any war. It can be seen that they might be one of the poorest but they know how to fight. Instead of a traditional army they simply resist with small counter attacks that eventually tire out the enemy.
GDP Per Capita: $1,083 (As of 2011)
Guinea is famous for diamonds, gold and other metals. The country has great potential for hydroelectric power too. Bauxite and alumina are currently the only major exports. Guinea’s poorly developed infrastructure and rampant corruption continue to act as obstacles to large-scale investment projects. Agriculture employs 80% of the nation’s labor force. Under French rule and at the beginning of independence, Guinea was a major exporter of bananas, pineapples, coffee, peanuts, and palm oil. It was from independence until the presidential election of 2010, Guinea was governed by a number of autocratic rulers. Well, they contributed a lot into making Guinea one of the poorest countries in the world.
GDP Per Capita: $1,085 (As of 2011)
Mozambique is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world. 75% of the population engages in small-scale agriculture, which still suffers from inadequate infrastructure, commercial networks, and investment. The minimum legal salary is around US$60 per month.
GDP Per Capita: $ 1,093 (As of 2011)
Ethiopia has been suffering from poverty, and poor sanitation. In the capital city of Addis Ababa, 55% of the population lives in the slums. Despite its fast growth in recent years, GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world and the economy faces a number of serious structural problems. Its economy is agro based which accounts for 41% of GDP and 85% of total employment. However the agricultural productivity remains low as it suffers from poor cultivation practices and frequent drought.
GDP Per Capita: $1,128 (As of 2011)
Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. Around 50% of the population is living below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day. Its natural resources include gold, uranium, livestock, and salt. Mali remains dependent on foreign aid. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger River and about 65% of its land area is desert or semi desert. Mali experienced economic growth of about 5% per year between 1996-2010. The government in 2011 completed an IMF extended credit facility program that has helped the economy grow, diversify and attract foreign investment.
GDP Per Capita: $1,144 (As of 2011)
Guinea-Bissau depends mainly on farming and fishing. But trafficking in narcotics is probably the most lucrative trade here. With 60% of the population living below the poverty line, drug traffickers based in Latin America use Guinea-Bissau, along with several neighboring West African nations, as a transshipment point to Europe for cocaine. The government and the military have tried their best to stop this business but have failed every time.
GDP Per Capita: $ 1,232 (As of 2011)
Comoros is made up of three islands with rapidly increasing population and a few natural resources. As of 2008 about 50% of the population is seen to be living below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
GDP Per Capita: $1,235 (As of 2011)
Haiti is a free market economy with the advantages of low labor costs and tariff-free access to the US for many of its exports. Poverty, corruption, and poor access to education for much of the population are among Haiti’s most serious disadvantages. Haiti’s economy suffered a severe setback in January 2010 when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed much of its capital city, Port-au-Prince, and neighboring areas. Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty, the earthquake inflicted $7.8 billion in damages. Seven out of ten Haitians live on less than US$2 a day, according to the International Red Cross.
GDP Per Capita: $1,317 (As of 2011)
Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world with 37.7 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day. Uganda has natural resources including fertile soils, regular rainfall, small deposits of copper, gold, and other minerals. Oil has been recently discovered. It made enormous progress in reducing the countrywide poverty incidence from 56 percent of the population in 1992 to 31 per cent in 2005. However, poverty remains deep-rooted in the country’s rural areas – a home to more than 85 per cent of Ugandans.
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