Africa is the most impoverished continent in the world and despite being rich in natural resources, the continent has continued to lag behind in terms of development. Economies of many African countries have failed to take off majorly due to common problems including corruption, civil wars, political unrest, lack of medical and education facilities, among others.
Here is the list of Africa’s poorest countries based on their GDP per capita
1. South Sudan – $400
The world’s youngest nation is ranked as the poorest country on the African nation with per capita income of just $400 per year. South Sudan only became independent in 2011 and has a population of about 11 million. Its economy is understandably underdeveloped having existed for less than a decade. The country’s infrastructure is also one of the least developed in the world. The political instability in the country since independence has seriously hampered any progress in economic development
2.Central African Republic (CAR) – $681
Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in Africa with its population of over 5 million surviving on the per capita income of only $681. Some of the major factors hindering CAR’s development include its landlocked geography, long history of civil wars, corruption, backward agricultural methods, among others.
3. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – $785
DRC in Central Africa is the second-largest country on the continent by land with a population of over 80 million people. Although the country is one of the most endowed on the continent in terms of mineral resources, its long history of political instability has hindered any progress in economic development.
Other factors like the high rates of corruption, poor infrastructure and long years of colonial and commercial exploitation have weakened DRC’s economy further. Exportation of raw minerals especially to China remains as the country’s major avenue for foreign exchange.
4. Burundi – $808
Burundi is another landlocked country in central east Africa with a population of 11.5 million people. Unlike many other African countries, Burundi is a resource-poor country with a highly underdeveloped manufacturing sector. Agriculture employs about 90 percent of the people in the country although the sector accounts for only 30 percent the country’s GDP. Coffee and tea are the country’s primary exports.
Some of the major factors hindering Burundi’s economic progress include the landlocked geography, lack of economic freedom, low literacy rates, poor legal system and high rates of HIV/AIDS. Others include high rates of corruption, weak infrastructure, food scarcity, poor health facilities, among others.
5. Niger – $1,153
Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa with a population of about 17.5 million. Majority of Niger’s land area (about 80%) is covered by the Sahara Desert and the non-desert areas are face frequent periods of drought and increasing desertification.
The country’s economy is mainly based on subsistence with a few exports mainly of raw agricultural items and uranium ore. Niger’s major barriers to economic development include its landlocked status, poor health infrastructure, high fertility rates, lack of education, overpopulation and the desert terrain.
6. Malawi – $1,172
Malawi is a landlocked country located in southeast Africa with a population of about 17 million. The country is among the most impoverished in the world majorly relying on agriculture which contributes over 90% of the export revenue. Malawi had previously depended heavily on the financial aid from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
However, the funders were discouraged by the high rates of corruption in the country and suspended the aid. The major factors responsible for Malawi’s levels of per capita income include its landlocked geography, high rates of HIV/AIDS, and poor literacy rates. Others are corruption, poor health and hygiene, and low production.
7. Mozambique – $1,266
Mozambique in the southeast Africa is another African country with one of the lowest per capita income with a population of about 25 million. The financial aid from international organisations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund has helped to boost the country’s economic growth. Mozambique has a minimum legal salary of around $60 per month but the country’s major problems include chronic child malnutrition, poor literacy rates, poor infrastructure, among others.
8. Madagascar – $1,554
The island nation of Madagascar is located off the coast of southeast Africa. The country is a biodiversity hotspot rich in unique flora and fauna though remaining as one of the poorest countries in Africa. About 69% of Madagascar’s population lives below the poverty line threshold of $1 a day. Some of the major challenges facing economic development in Madagascar include corruption, poor infrastructure, low literacy levels, poor health facilities, among others.
9. Togo – $1,612
Togo is a West African country with a population of about 8 million. The low per capita income of below $2000 makes Togo one of the poorest countries on the African continent. Majority of the population live in rural Togo in high levels of poverty. The major reasons behind Togo’s high levels of poverty include corruption, low access to education, poor health system and high rates of child labor.
10. Sierra Leone – $1,791
Sierra Leone is another West African country facing high levels of poverty. Many factors contribute to this problem although the brutal civil war the country faced between 1991 and 2002 left its economy highly ravaged. Other causes of widespread poverty in the country include internal corruption, lack of accessibility to education and lack of civil liberties.