Top 10 Poorest Countries in Africa

Flag of Liberia

Africa is developing fast but there are less than just a handful of countries that are making a global impact whose economy is actually growing. Some African countries are still regarded among the poorest countries in the world today. A large number of citizens in most countries in the largest populous black continent still live in abject poverty with only a few people being able to afford to live above the poverty line. Political insecurity and war has made some of these nations difficult to live in. The classification below is based on International Monetary Fund’s gross domestic product per capita (GDP per capita) which is a measure of purchasing power in the international market. This article highlights some of the poorest countries in Africa and some background information about them, here goes the list:

Top Ten Poorest African Countries

10. TOGO

Flag of Togo - 10 Poorest countries in Africa

GDP Per Capita of Togo Stands at about: $899

Togo is a small West African country with a population of 6.7 million people but it’s still regarded as one of the poorest countries in Africa. Unlike some other nations that have developed to have stronger military and economic power, this West African country suffers from very lean economic growth and approximately one half of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.Agriculture is the major source of income which also provides jobs for the major part of the population. Natural raw materials like Cocoa, coffee, and cotton seed contribute up to 40% of all earnings from exportation. Among all these, cotton is the largest contributing cash crop. Togo is also rich in natural minerals and is among the largest producers of phosphate in the world. See Also: 10 Richest Countries in Africa

 9. Malawi

Flag of Malawi

GDP Per Capita of Malawi Stands at about: $860

Malawi is a country in the South East Africa which has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world. More than half of the citizens live below the poverty line. Like many other African countries, Malawi also suffers from gross corruption and mismanagement of public funds. The IMF in 2000, withdrew financial aid to the country and a lot of other individual donors followed accordingly and this led to a huge depreciation by up to 80% in Malawi’s development budget. Malawi was heavily indebted to the extent that In 2006, it was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. About a year later, the United States Government granted Malawi an eligibility status to receive financial aid within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. Agriculture is one of the major sources of income accounting for 35% of GDP, industry accounts for 19% and services for the remaining 46%.


Flag of Sierra Leone - Africa's poorest countries

GDP Per Capita: $849

Sierra Leone is an English speaking west African country which greatly relies on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base and mineral exports remain the main foreign currency earner and also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, and a major producer of gold. The country also boasts of the third largest natural harbor in the world where shipping from all over the globe berth at Freetown’s famous Queen Elizabeth II Quay.  Sierra Leone is one of the largest producers of diamond. The very costly compound generates billions of dollars for the country but despite this natural wealth, 70% of its people live in poverty.

Bonus: Top 10 Most Dangerous African Countries On List


Flag of Niger

GDP Per Capita: $771 

Niger is a country just north of Nigeria and has more than 80% of its land is covered by Sahara desert. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Parity Purchasing Power (PPP) of Niger Republic is about US$771. This represents one of the lowest in Africa. The country suffers violence, political instability, crime and the bane of corruption. There is gross inequality which affects girls, women and children disproportionately. Coming into office in In January 2000, the newly elected government inherited some serious financial and economic problems, the climax including an apparently empty national treasury. The International Monetary Fund decided to intervene with its program for organized for Highly Indebted Poor Countries and Niger was qualified for enhanced debt relief.


Flag of Central African Republic - Poorest African countries

GDP Per Capita: $768

Central African Republic is a country that has been unstable since her independence. The country is rich in mineral resources but despite the abundance of natural endowment which includes; crude oil, gold, diamonds, uranium reserves in Bakouma, lumber, hydropower  and its very arable land, The country still remains one of the poverty savaged countries in the world. The country exports diamonds which constitute the major export commodity. It accounts for 40–55% of export revenues. The 2011 UNDP Human Development Report keeps the country close to the bottom of its Human Development Index and very unlikely to meet its MDG goals. More than half of the citizens living on less than $1 a day stands at a staggering figure of 62%.


Flag of Eritrea

GDP Per Capita: $735 

Affected by the Italian colonizers of the 19th century.  Eritrea’s advantage of controlling the sea route through the Suez Canal made the italians to colonized it just a year after the opening of the canal in 1869 and same reason the British conquered it in 1941.  Ethiopia’s annexation of Eritrea as a province sparked a 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991 with Eritrean rebels defeating the government forces. The present Eritrea’s economy has been growing at a millipede speed, conditions have not improved.


Flag of Burundi

GDP Per Capita: $615

Burundi is well known for the civil and tribal wars that has been ongoing. The country has never really had any peaceful time and these prolonged wars have a negative toll on the economy of Burundi hence it is one of the poorest countries in Africa. Apart from wars, health issues like HIV/AIDS, corruption and nepotism are dragging the country down to extreme poverty. Burundi is a country where approximately 80% of its citizens live in abject poverty and this has led to proliferation of chronic diseases and malnutrition.


Flag of Zimbabwe

GDP Per Capita: $487

Zimbabwe has been on the news for her frequent economic crises, instability and gross inflation. In 2009, the government of Zimbabwe released its largest bank note of 100 trillion dollar bill. Not only is Zimbabwe one of the poorest countries in Africa, it also has the lowest life expectancy is in the entire world standing at 37 years for men and just 34 for women. The endemicity of HIV/AIDS also pose a great threat to economic development and life expectancy. Recent figures stand at about 20.1% of Zimbabweans testing positive to HIV/AIDS, Zimbabwe is ranking last at number 184 according to 2013 statistics of the World’s richest and poorest countries


Flag of Liberia

GDP Per Capita: $456

Liberia, one of the unique nations in Africa that was not colonized by Europe rather it was colonized by freed slaves from America. These slaves established a government that closely matches that of the United States of America. Currently, about 85% of the population live below $1. The period of war and political instability was among the major contributors to the poor state of economy in Liberia.


Democratic Republic of Congo Flag

GDP Per Capita: $348

If you have been waiting for the number one poorest nation in Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo has got all that it takes. DRC is the largest country in the world that has French as an official language with a population of about DRC being more than the population of France. With the second Congo War beginning in 1998 Economic development is far from DRC. The DRC war has involved at least 7 foreign armies in what would be regarded as the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II – by 2008, the Second Congo War and its aftermath had taken about 5.4 million people.

References / Sources:

The International Monetary Fund The IMF World Economic Outlook Database 2013

The World Bank: Homepage

The World Bank: Data Catalog World Bank: Definition of Gross domestic product and Gross national product 

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Definition of Gross  domestic product