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30 Poorest Countries in Africa
In this article, we will be taking a look at the 30 poorest countries in Africa. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 10 poorest countries in Africa.
Despite advancements in recent years which have led to a major decrease in poverty globally, Africa has not seen the same levels of success. Even though in terms of infections rates and mortality, the Covid-19 pandemic didn’t impact Africa as significantly as it did Europe or the U.S., the already fragile economy of the region took a major hit, and according to the Institute for Security Studies, over 30 million Africans fell into extreme poverty.
Even before the destruction wrought by the pandemic on the economy, around 34%, or nearly 450 million Africans, were living below the poverty line which was nine times greater than the global average.
This is why a significant majority of the poorest countries in the world are African, as developments achieved globally haven’t translated to the continent. Interestingly, in 1981, the extreme poverty rate in Africa was 43.1% which was in line with the global average of 42.8%. 34 years later, economic advancements and development reduced the global rate to around 6%, while Africa’s rate only declined to 35.5%, nearly 7 times higher than the global average. Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and even China had similar poverty levels to Africa in the 80s, but while living standards in those countries increased drastically, the same cannot be said for Africa, and especially the poorest countries in Africa. On the other hand, some of the most expensive countries in Africa have made strides in improving the standards of living.
There are several reasons for why Africa is struggling to reduce poverty, perhaps the biggest of which is that its resources are spent more on barely being able to provide basic necessities, let alone spend more on things such as improving infrastructure or improving the standard of living. Meanwhile, bad governance and corruptions are huge impediments to the continent’s development too, which in turn puts off investors from considering investing in countries with huge growth potential because of the risks assumed.
This is why the economies of some of these countries are much smaller than even the market cap of some of the most valuable South African and Nigerian companies in the world, two of the biggest African economies.
Further, as Africa’s population continues to grow at a high rate, the per capita income continues to decrease even as the economy grows.
High income-inequality, a common phenomenon in most lower income countries, is another reason why poverty is high in African nations even as whatever wealth there is, is concentrated among a few individuals.
Despite these setbacks, Africa as whole demonstrates great potential in the future, and an incredible opportunity for investors. If this development is successful, some of these countries may soon become some of the most advanced countries in Africa.
While the richest countries in Africa already have healthy economies and hence, modest growth rates, the potential for major growth in the poorest countries in Africa is still there, as shown by the 5 year GDP growth rates of most of these countries.
To determine the poorest countries in Africa, we ascertained both their GDP per capita and their total GDP with information from the World Bank, assigning 60% weightage to the former and 40% weightage to the latter. So, let’s now take a look at the countries which might represent a bitter present but a potentially amazing future, starting with:
Total GDP per capita of the country: $2,214
While its GDP per capita isn’t bad for an African nation, a lot still needs to be done to improve the standard of living in a country whose economy is mainly dependent on agriculture and subsistence hunting.
- Democratic Republic of Congo
Total GDP per capita of the country: $584
Poverty is widespread in all provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which despite being the second largest country in Africa and sitting on resources potentially worth billions of dollars, has not been able to improve the economy.
- Burkina Faso
Total GDP per capita of the country: $918
Burkina Faso is a Sahelian country and while its economy is mostly agricultural based, gold exports from the country are rising providing a much needed boost to a country where around 40% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $764
Sudan’s lack of natural resources have hindered its economy while the government has been unable to pivot the economy to other areas such as finance and tech.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $1,174
Disparities between rural and urban areas, not to mention corruptions at elite levels, has seen Guinea being classified among the poorest countries in Africa.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $918
A harsh and unpredictable climate has resulted in food insecurity in Mali, while conflict and droughts have played their part in weakening the nation’s eocnomy.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $4,215
Eswatini is a small landlocked country, which has faced significantly rising prices due to the Russian-Ukraine war, exacerbating an already tenuous situation driven by a prevalence of HIV and unemployment.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $13,307
Seychelle is one of the most beautiful economies in Africa, though the disadvantage of this is that the country’s economy is highly dependent on tourism, and was impacted massively by the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this, it still has the highest GDP capita of any African country.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $3,364
Djibouti has one of the highest GDP per capita of any country in our list of the poorest countries in Africa, but it still needs to improve much more, though its economy is held back by a lack of resources.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $4,729
While Mauritania has many major resources, corruption has prevented the nation from capitalizing on it, which has also prevented investment in the country from Arab and European countries.
- South Sudan
Total GDP per capita of the country: $1,120
Even though South Sudan has been independent for over a decade now, economic stagnation and instability have plagued the country since.
- Cabo Verde
Total GDP per capita of the country: $3,446
Cabo Verde does not have many natural resources which would otherwise have provided a welcome boost to its economy. In addition, severe droughts in the last century killed around 200,000 people while many left the nation, because of which the country’s economic growth has been stunted since.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $595
Total GDP of the country (in billions): $15
More than 10 million people in Niger are living in poverty, which accounts for more than 40% of its population, hence establishing it as one of the poorest countries in Africa.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $643
Total GDP of the country (in billions): $13
Even though Malawi has implement major structural and economic reforms, its economy is still more than 80% of the population is employed in the agricultural industry and is quite vulnerable to external shocks.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $500
Total GDP of the country (in billions): $16
According the World Bank, Mozambique needs to develop a new growth model to counter its low productivity agricultural industry and dependence on large extractive projects.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $992
Total GDP of the country (in billions): $8
Political instability, external debts and fluctuations in commodity prices, which impact Togo’s economy, ensure that it is still among the poorest countries in Africa.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $515
Total GDP of the country (in billions): $15
While the natural beauty of the country makes it a popular destination, this has not equated to economic success with more than 70% of the population surviving in poverty.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $834
Total GDP of the country (in billions): $11
Even though Rwanda did incredibly well to recover from the Rwandan genocide in 1994, a large part of its economy is based on agriculture because of which its wealth situation has not improved.
Total GDP per capita of the country: $696
Total GDP of the country (in billions): $12
A harsh climate thanks to its geographical location has ensured that Chad’s economy remains undeveloped with over half its population living below the poverty line.
- Sao Tome and Principe
Total GDP per capita of the country: $2,449
Total GDP of the country (in billions): $1
While traditionally, Sao Tome and Principe’s economy has been based on cocoa, investment in its oil industry is leading to a transformation of its economy and has the 17th best GDP per capita in the continent.
Disclosure: None. 30 poorest countries in Africa is originally published at Insider Monkey.
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