The Twenty Poorest Nations In The World

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10. Republic Of Malawi

*Population: 15.4 million

*GDP (ppp): $11.3 billion

*$GDP Per Capita: $884

Although there have been slight improvements since the 2005 election of President Mutharika, high levels of poverty, HIV/Aids and corruption continue to burden Malawi, one of the world’s most densely populated and least developed countries.  In addition, the overuse of agricultural land – the nation’s primary natural resource – has contributed to over half of the Malawian population living below the poverty line. There are plans for exploiting the country’s uranium reserves.

9. Togolese Republic (Togo)

*Population: 6.2 million

*GDP (ppp): $5.3 billion

*$GDP Per Capita: $826

Experiencing ongoing political unrest since gaining independence from France in 1960, Togo is considered to be one of the world’s poorest countries.  Led by the universally condemned President Faure Gnassingbe, son of the corrupt political leader Gnassingbe Eyadema, Togo has only recently begun to rebuild its relationship with the international community after years of human rights violations.  With help from the World Bank and the IMF, Togo’s government has plans to work to improve economic growth through increased privatization, government transparency, and support from foreign donors.

8. Republic Of Sierra Leone

*Population: 5.2 million

*GDP (ppp): $4.3 billion

*$GDP Per Capita: $759

Although rich in minerals and agricultural resources, Sierra Leone suffered a ten-year war, which ended in 2002.  Poverty and unemployment remain great hurdles for the recovering nation. The export of diamonds, often called “blood diamonds,” benefits only a small minority of the country. For much of the general population, peace and prosperity seem unattainable.

7. Central African Republic

*Population: 4.8 million

*GDP (ppp): $3.2 billion

*$GDP Per Capita: $745

A site of constant political turmoil, the CAR has undergone three decades of bumbling military dictatorships , a decade of unruly civilian government, and an unstable transitional government established by a military coup.  All of  this has happened since gaining independence from France in 1960.  There is great potential for economic growth within CAR’s timber and diamond industries, however years of corruption and political instability have undermined this progress.

6. Republic Of Niger

*Population: 15.9 million

*GDP (ppp): $10.1 billion

*$GDP Per Capita: $719

Featuring an arid climate which suffers from drought cycles and desertification, Niger suffers from a stifled economy that is consistently undercut by price fluctuations in uranium, the country’s primary export.  These facts, in addition to Niger’s prolonged history of post-independence military rule, keep the nation as one of the poorest in the world, devastated by disease and corruption.

5. State Of Eritrea

*Population: 5.8 million

*GDP (ppp): $3.7 billion

*$GDP Per Capita: $679

Having only gained its independence from Ethiopia 17 years ago, Eritrea has faced many problems. Problems that arise from its position as a small, underdeveloped country that continues to experience military conflict since its sovereignty.  The country’s single party government, run by the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, maintains total control over the economy through military force and the expansion of government-owned businesses.

4. Republic Of Liberia

*Population: 3.7 million

*GDP (ppp): $1.4 billion

*$GDP Per Capita: $424

As a result of years of civil war and a cycle of incompetent government administrations, Liberia has suffered extensive economic hardships since a 1980 military coup led by Samuel Doe.  Fortunately, an abundance of water, timber, and mineral resources offer a chance for salvation for to the nation’s war-ravaged infrastructure.

3. Republic Of Burundi

*Population: 9.8 million

*GDP (ppp): $3 billion

*$GDP Per Capita: $400

Having recently emerged from a civil war between the Hutu and Tutsi factions, Burundi’s economy faces many challenges.  It is landlocked, lacking in resources, largely uneducated (only one in two children attend school), and one in every fifteen adults has HIV/Aids.  Although recent political stability has proven beneficial, poverty remains extremely prominent.

2) Republic Of Zimbabwe

*Population: 11.6 million

*GDP (ppp): $332 MILLION (note: whoa!)

*$GDP Per Capita: $354

One of, if not the poorest nation in the world, Zimbabwe’s economy has suffered from war with the Democratic Republic of Congo and hyperinflation as a result of the overprinting of currency. A violent land redistribution campaign has scared away most potential foreign investors.

1) Democratic Republic of Congo

*Population: 70.9 million

*GDP (ppp): $20.6 billion

*$GDP Per Capita: $332

Although rich with economic resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered from war and corruption since its independence in 1960.  Once the second most industrialized country in Africa, it now has in the lowest GDP per capita in the world.  Lack of infrastructure and the flight of businesses reflect the effects of what has been termed as Africa’s “world war,” where an estimated three million lives were lost.

- Douglas A. McIntyre, Charles B. Stockdale, and Michael B. Sauter

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