The earth has sufficient money and resources to meet the needs of the whole human population. Despite this, people in the world’s poorest countries, Burundi, South Sudan, and Somalia, continue to live in abject poverty. How can we determine how poor or wealthy one country is in comparison to another? The standard indicator is the GDP per capita. Whereas, purchasing power parity (PPP) can better estimate an individual’s purchasing power in a given country. PPP estimates purchasing power by accounting for differences in living costs and inflation rates.
Here is a list of the poorest countries in the world.
Madagascar is the world’s fourth-biggest island, located 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. The burgeoning tourism business has not been able to raise the country out of poverty, despite its incredible nature. Because the bulk of the population still relies on agriculture for a living. The country’s economy is particularly vulnerable to natural calamities.
For the longest time, Africa’s oldest republic has also been one of the poorest. While the country has been peaceful and stable since the civil war ended in 2003. The country’s governments have failed to fully address severe systemic problems and structural obstacles. The country of around 5 million people has been struck hard by the drop in commodity prices and the devastating Ebola epidemic that hit West Africa in 2014.
Malawi, one of Africa’s smallest countries, has achieved significant progress in recent years. Especially in terms of economic growth and structural reforms. Despite this, poverty is widespread. Also, the country’s economy, which is mostly reliant on rain-fed crops, is subject to weather-related shocks. As a result, while urban living standards are increasing, food insecurity in rural areas is at an all-time high.
Desertification and climate change cause problems for Night. The Sahara Desert covers 80% of its landlocked area and a rapidly rising population reliant on small-scale agriculture. Food shortages are widespread, as are sickness and mortality rates. The army’s frequent conflicts with Boko Haram, a jihadist group and an affiliate of the Islamic State (ISIS), have uprooted thousands of civilians. Volatility and low commodity prices have harmed one of the economy’s primary drivers: the mining of important natural resources such as gold and uranium.
Nonetheless, West Africa’s largest nation appears to have entered a new political and economic transition period. Niger has been plagued by military coups. It is happening since its independence from France in 1960. Mahamadou Issoufo won the presidential elections in 2011. The implementation of a new investment code, greater loan availability, and faster water access have contributed to an increase in FDI.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Congo has endured decades of ruthless dictatorship, political instability, and incessant warfare since obtaining independence from Belgium in 1960. Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, the son of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, was chosen as the country’s next president in 2019.
A lot of reinforcements and changes await him. Joseph Kabila (his controversial predecessor) is credited for bringing a stop to the “Great African War”. A battle that cost up to 6 million lives, either as a direct result of fighting or as a result of disease and starvation, after succeeding his killed father in 2001. He did nothing. However, to better the lives of those who survived the war: more than 60% of the country’s 92 million inhabitants still live on less than two dollars per day. On the contrary, a recent disclosure of financial documents reveals how, while in office, he embezzled $138 million in public monies. He did it through a private bank. Meanwhile, almost 60% of the 92 million people in the country live on less than two dollars every day.
Somalis are growing pessimistic after three decades of suffering. Internal bloodshed and strife, repeated droughts and floods followed by food insecurity and displacement are the main factors. Along with lack of access to health care with the rapid spread of communicable illnesses, and unemployment among young people. This 16-million-strong country in the Horn of Africa never seems to get a break. The combined effects of the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented locust infestation, and exacerbated floods are massive. It led the economy to decline by 1.5 per cent in 2020, disrupting a predicted GDP growth of nearly 3%. “Rapid urbanisation, increased use of digital technologies, planned investments in sectors such as energy, sports, education, and health can boost economic growth and job creation,” according to the World Bank. A shaky recovery is already starting, and the administration has committed to establishing a path toward greater resilience and prosperity.
It is the world’s newest country. On 9th July 2011, South Sudan was founded. Happened six years after an accord ended Africa’s longest-running civil war with Sudan. However, the conflict has continued to wreak havoc on this landlocked country of 11 million people. A new conflict erupted in 2013. It happened when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, rebel leader Riek Machar, of attempting a coup. The region is home to roughly 60 indigenous ethnic groups. 400,000 people have been murdered, and 4 million have been internally displaced or fled to neighbouring countries.
South Sudan might be a wealthy country as Oil accounts for nearly all of its exports. However, dropping commodity prices and an increase in security-related costs led to the downfall of the country’s economy. Outside of the oil industry, traditional agriculture employs the bulk of the population. but violence frequently prohibits farmers from planting or harvesting crops. Thus, South Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Burundi is a small country. The nation is ravaged by Hutu-Tutsi ethnic conflict and civil violence. It has the terrible distinction of being the poorest country on the planet. Food scarcity is a serious concern. With almost 90 per cent of its approximately 12 million residents reliant on subsistence agriculture. Food insecurity in Sub-Saharan African countries is roughly twice as high as the global average. Water and sanitation services are still inefficient. Also, only about 5% of the population has access to electricity. Needless to say, the epidemic has worsened all of these issues. All of this makes Burundi one of the poorest countries in the world.
How did things get to this point, despite the fact that the civil war officially ended 15 years ago? Extreme poverty is caused by a variety of factors, including a lack of infrastructure, pervasive corruption, and security concerns. In 2005, Pierre Nkurunziza, a charismatic former Hutu rebel who became president, was able to unite the country behind him. He began the process of reconstructing the economy. However, in 2015, he announced that he would run for a third term. The opposition claimed was illegal under the constitution—reignited old feuds. The fighting killed hundreds of people.
Disease, war, violence and extreme weather patterns such as drought are all present in the countries on the list. Countries get stuck in the poverty cycle because of such problems. What determines which countries are the poorest in the world isn’t as simple as counting dollars and cents. Overall, while the poorest countries’ living standards remain relatively low, the economic potential for future growth exists.