As fascinating and aspirational as studying the world’s richest countries can be, it’s also critical to be aware of the countries on the other end of the wealth curve. One of the primary methods used by organizations such as the United Nations to improve the overall quality of life for the citizens of poorer countries is to assist them in improving their financial status.
Africa is the poorest continent on the planet, according to the World Population Review. Economic insecurity, political instability, civil conflicts, terrorist activity, corruption, and, of course, natural calamities increase these countries’ challenges.
Before we get into the top 5 poorest countries in Africa, it’s vital to go over the metrics that were used to choose them. According to the World Bank ranking system, to determine a country’s wealth, two metrics are typically used. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and the Gross National Income (GNI).
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita evaluates the total value of a country’s goods and services divided by the number of people who live there while the gross national income (GNI) per capita goes a step further by including any foreign income a country may have received during the period under review.
Now that we’ve established these facts, let’s look at Africa’s poorest countries in terms of GDP per capita and GNI per capita. This is not a topic that I find entertaining to address. However, it is a problem that has to be raised more frequently so that our leaders see the need to find a long-term solution.
Top 5 Poorest Countries in Africa 2022
5. Sierra Leone (GNI- $490)
Sierra Leone is a resource-rich West African country. It was torn apart by a civil war fueled by the trade in diamonds and precious minerals. Despite the fact that the war ended in 2002, many of the country’s institutions were destroyed, and the consequences are still being felt. Sierra Leone’s public sector is now considered more corrupt than that of most other countries.
Sierra Leone ranked 181 out of 189 countries in the 2019 Human Development Index, indicating that the country has not progressed significantly. The country is still impoverished. According to the United Nations Development Programme, nearly 60% of Sierra Leone’s population lives in poverty.
Government corruption, lack of a well-established education system, lack of civil rights, and poor infrastructure, according to experts, are four major reasons contributing to Sierra Leone’s extreme poverty. Poverty is difficult to overcome due to these factors. High transportation expenses are a barrier to trade and limit economic progress due to the lack of developed infrastructure like roads and electricity.
4. Madagascar – (GNI – $480)
Madagascar is an island in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa. It is known for its distinct animals, biodiversity, abundance of natural resources, and natural environment as an island. The Malagasy economy is based on the cultivation of coffee, vanilla, cloves, and paddy rice, among other crops. Despite abundant natural resources and a thriving tourism economy, Madagascar remains one of the poorest countries in the world, relying significantly on international aid.
The majority of Madagascar’s population lives in absolute poverty. Currently, 75% of Madagascar’s population lives on less than $1.90 per day. This means that three-quarters of Madagascar’s population of 25.6 million people live below the World Bank’s international poverty level.
Children in Madagascar are forced into child labor due to extreme poverty. Approximately 5.7 million children, or roughly half of the population under the age of 18, work in some capacity. Instead of going to school.
According to a World Bank report, Madagascar’s natural environment is vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change. This has had a severe impact on the country, with up to three cyclones occurring each year. By 2020, Madagascar’s socio-economic situation had deteriorated due to several natural disasters such as drought in the south and floods in the north, as well as disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, dengue fever, measles, and malaria spreading rapidly across the island.
3. Mozambique – (GNI – $460)
Despite the fact that Mozambique has achieved significant progress in eliminating poverty, more than 80% of the population still lives on less than two dollars per day. International humanitarian groups continue to aid Mozambique in the fight against poverty, with the goal of ending hunger, improving water and sanitation, and increasing education and health care.
Poverty issues in Mozambique date back to the 1976-1992 civil war, which destroyed infrastructure, displaced six million people, and resulted in up to one million deaths.
Floods and droughts, as well as extreme climate conditions, impede the country’s development. Severe flooding and droughts affect availability of safe drinking water as well as agriculture’s ability to grow and sustain food.
“94 percent of females in Mozambique enroll in primary school, more than half drop out by the fifth grade, just 11 percent continue on to secondary school, and only one percent continue on to college,” according to a 2017 USAID study. As a result, the literacy rate in Mozambique is only 47%. Women have a lower literacy rate than men. As a result, women are more likely than men to fall into poverty.
According to UNAIDS, Mozambique has the eighth highest HIV prevalence in the world and the third highest number of HIV-positive children. As of 2015, 1.5 million people had contracted AIDS, with 39,000 deaths related to the disease.
Poverty in Mozambique is caused by a variety of factors, including systematic corruption, which may explain how the country ended up in its current situation of high debt and low economic growth.
2. Somalia – (GNI – $310)
According to UNDP statistics, Somalia has a poverty rate of 73%. 70% of the country’s population is under the age of 30, and this young population faces a variety of social, economic, and political challenges. Youth unemployment rate in Somalia is at 67%, one of the highest in the world.
Somalia is one of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of decades of civil war and political fragmentation. Almost seven out of ten Somalis are impoverished.
Access to education is limited, which threatens to stifle human capital development and economic growth. In Somalia, cultural preferences dictate that children begin school later, and nearly 27 percent of primary school students are older than 13 years old. Access to schools is hampered by distance: schools are at least 30 minutes’ walk away for one out of every three Somali households.
For nearly 30 years, Somalia has been wracked by internal conflicts, which have been worsened by food insecurity, periodic droughts, and occasional floods. Conflicts have resulted in citizens being displaced on a regular basis and an unprecedented lack of access to health care. Somalia is widely seen as a failed state due to a lack of a permanent central government.
Multiple issues have led to widespread young unemployment, exacerbating an already poor situation. At the start of 2020, the country’s GDP was expected to grow by 3%. However the coronavirus pandemic, followed by an unparalleled locust invasion, quickly put an end to that.
1. Burundi (GNI-$270)
Burundi was immersed in a devastating civil war from 1993 to 2006, which claimed the lives of over 300,000 people and left the country in wreckage. Burundi is still attempting to get back on its feet sixteen years after the war officially ended.
Burundi is a landlocked country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector, making it difficult to survive and relying largely on foreign aid. Burundi is the poorest country in Africa and the world, with a GNI per capita of only $$270.
Burundians are forced to live with a high poverty rate, poor education, a weak legal system, a bad transportation network, overburdened utilities, low administrative capability, and government corruption.
Burundi has some of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in Africa, with 16,000 infant deaths per year.
The majority of Burundians rely on subsistence farming, with the majority living on less than $1.25 per day.