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Which Is the Poorest Country in Africa? (10 Poorest African Countries)

In February 2017, Global Finance Magazine published the ranking of the world’s poorest countries according to data collected by the International Monetary Fund.

African countries populated the list. While Africa has much to offer, the sad truth remains that many countries do not produce enough to feed its people.

10. Madagascar

GDP per capita: $1,504 (£1,226)

Madagascar Poverty

The Republic of Madagascar has a long history of political instability with protests and military coups that have destroyed infrastructure and stalled the growth of the country’s economy. Today, this history makes it the 10th poorest country in Africa.

The main contributors to the GDP are its agriculture sector which makes up 29% of the GDP and the manufacturing industry that makes up 15% of the GDP.

Sixty-nine percent of the country’s population live below the national poverty line. Children in Madagascar suffer from malnutrition and there is little to no access to basic health care.

9. Eritrea

GDP per capita: $1,321 (£1,077)

Eritrea Poverty

In 2011, the World Bank identified Eritrea’s economy as one of the fastest growing economy in the world.

Even though the economy continues to grow, there is still widespread poverty in Eritrea. The agriculture sector employs approximately 80% of the population.

However, periods of drought and wars have impacted production thus making Eritrea the 9th poorest country in Africa.

Over 50% of its population live below the poverty line. The government is working to improve health care but the poor are still susceptible to Malaria and Tuberculosis.

8. Guinea

GDP per capita: $1,271 (£1,036)

Guinea poverty

Being one of the largest producers of bauxite and rich in diamond and gold deposits, one would think that Guinea do not belong on this list.

However, widespread corruption and failure to develop infrastructure make Guinea one of the poorest African nations.

An Ebola outbreak in 2014 put strain on the already limited health care system. Children are malnourished and maternal and child mortality rates are high.

There is also a high incidence of HIV/AIDS among the population and a large percentage of the population have no access to education.

7. Mozambique

GDP per capita: $1,228 (£1,001)

Poverty in Mozambique

In 2007, the IMF and World Bank praised Mozambique for the rapid increase in its GDP. The economy continues to grow but the harsh truth remains that Mozambique is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in Africa and the world.

The civil war that lasted 1977 to 1992 hindered the development of the country. The agriculture sector provided jobs for the displaced and the unskilled but with only 7% of the country’s land arable, production is extremely low.

Malnutrition among Mozambican children continues to rise and limited access to health care makes the country’s life expectancy among the lowest in the world.

6. Malawi

GDP per capita: $1,139 (£929)

Malawi poverty

Malawi, ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, is not so warm for the 54% of its population that live below the poverty line on less than $1 a day. In 2009, a 23% decline in investments impacted Malawi’s ability to finance its imports.

The economy received another setback in 2015 when floods destroyed crops, infrastructure, took lives and displaced thousands of people.

Employing 80% of the population, the agriculture sector is the largest employer and it contributes 35% of the GDP. The impoverished population is unable to access proper education and healthcare. HIV/AIDS is prevalent in the country and takes a significant chunk out of the government’s expenditure.

With a low GDP per capita and an even lower ranking on the HDI, Malawi is one of the poorest and least-developed African nations.

5. Niger

GDP per capita: $1,113 (£907)

Niger Poverty

The economy of Niger has a lot going against it. The Sahara Desert covers 80% of the country’s land space and the remaining portion faces desertification. Even though the country has large deposits of uranium, a decrease in the price on the world market led to a decrease in exportation revenues.

A GDP per capita of $1,113 makes it the 5th poorest country in Africa. The economy relies on its underdeveloped agriculture sector and mining sector. Droughts and political instability are the causes of low production yields and low revenues.

With no reliable sectors to finance the budget, foreign donors contribute over 50% of the government’s budget.

4. Liberia

GDP per capita: $882 (£719)

Liberia

Blacks from the United States and America and the Caribbean found the Republic of Liberia. In 1847, Liberians declared their independence from the US, but was not recognized as independent until 1862, all without any revolts or war.

In 1980, a military coup that would bring deaths, years of instability and economic stagflation began.

The civil war ended in 2003 with a peace agreement in 2003. In 2010, the economy received another blow when the deadly Ebola virus swept through the country. With 85% of the population living on less than $1 a day, Liberia is one of the poorest countries in Africa.

3. Democratic Republic of Congo

GDP per capita: $444 (£337)

Democratic Republic of Congo Poverty

DRC’s citizens should be adorned in diamonds and living in luxury but instead they are among the poorest in the world.

The DRC is rich in natural resources having some of the largest deposits of coltan, cobalt, diamond and copper.

Widespread corruption, exploitation and political instability make it one of the poorest nations in the world.

When the prices of its minerals dropped on the world market, the economy received a harsh blow and in 2010 the DRC achieved the status of being one of the poorest nations in Africa.

2. Central African Republic

GDP per capita: $382 (£290)

Central African Republic

The Central African Republic is another nation rich in natural resources but whose population live on less than a $1 a day. The country has large uranium reserves, gold, diamond, cobalt and large quantities of fertile land.

But despite all its riches, the country is among the least developed countries in the world and the poorest in Africa.

Diamond is the country’s largest export however millions of revenue slips through the economy annually as a result of smuggling. The country is plagued by lack of infrastructure, education and health care.

The life expectancy is very low and in 2010 CAR had the 4th highest maternal mortality rate. Female genital mutilation is still commonplace and HIV/AID is prevalent in the country.

1. Burundi

GDP per capita: $285 (£216)

Burundi Flag

Burundi has a long history of civil wars and ethnic cleansing. The resulting instability has in turn crippled the economy of Burundi.

Burundians have no access to proper health care and education. These conditions make Burundi one of the poorest countries and the second least happy nation in the world.

The people try to survive by planting cash crops such as coffee and tea for export.

Coffee and tea are the country’s largest export making up 90% of the country’s export revenue. The agriculture system is severely underdeveloped but it accounts for up to 50% of the country’s GDP.

A staggering 80% of the population live in poverty and 57% of children under the age  of five suffer from chronic nutrition. The country is currently going through another civil war that began in 2015.

What to Read Next: Leading Causes of Death in Africa – Top 10

Written by Toni-Ann

Toni-Ann is currently a university student who dabbles in Economics during
the day and unleashes her creative writing skills during the night. Her
dream is to see the seven wonders of the world. But due to the
unavailability of several resources, she travels through the pages of the
books she consumes on a daily basis.

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