The Worst Economies in the World

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10. Myanmar
> GCI score: 3.23
> GDP per capita: $835 (20th lowest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 47.5% (63rd highest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 1.1% (2nd lowest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Access to financing and police instability

Myanmar ranks as the 10th least competitive nation in the world despite the progress it has achieved since 2011, when the decades-long military rule ended. Since then, the once-isolated country has opened up to the outside world. Myanmar’s economy still remains behind much of the world, lacking many of the basic requirements for economic competitiveness. The nation has an inefficient legal framework, a lack of transparency in government policy making and an extremely low quality of infrastructure — all major issues limiting its competitiveness. The availability of modern technology is also highly limited, with barely 1% of the population using the Internet.

9. Burkina Faso
> GCI score: 3.21
> GDP per capita: $603 (10th lowest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 27.7% (35th lowest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 3.7% (11th lowest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Access to financing

Burkina Faso, located in Western Africa, has one of the worst health care and basic education systems in the world. Malaria, a disease mostly eradicated in developed countries, is a major problem in Burkina Faso, with nearly a third of the residents suffering from the disease. Similarly, the country has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the world at 81.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. The nation’s enrollment rate of students in primary school is also among the lowest in the world. Also indicative of the nation’s weak economy are its poor infrastructure and low scores for higher education and training.

Also Read: States Where the Most People Go Hungry

8. Mauritania
> GCI score: 3.19
> GDP per capita: $1,157 (26th lowest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 79.7% (21st highest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 5.4% (18th lowest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Access to financing

Mauritania was rated as one of the worst nations for higher education and training, which are necessary to develop a skilled and competitive workforce. In addition to a poor educational system, the nation also has some of the lowest secondary and tertiary enrollment rates in the world. The nation received poor ratings for its inability to attract talent or to properly match-up pay to productivity, among other factors. However, Mauritania’s worst problem may be the still prevalent system of slavery, which was only legally abolished in 1981 and officially criminalized in 2007. As recently as 2012, between 10% to 20% of the population, or as many as 680,000 people, were still enslaved, according to a CNN report on Mauritania.

7. Angola
> GCI score: 3.15
> GDP per capita: $5,873 (71st lowest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 29.3% (39th lowest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 16.9% (39th lowest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Corruption

Angola spent more than a quarter century dealing with a bitter civil war that resulted in as many a 1.5 million deaths. Since the end of the civil war in 2002, the nation has become a major producer of oil and has been a member of OPEC since 2006. However, the country still lacks some of the key elements needed to promote competitiveness, including strong auditing mandates and corporate checks-and-balances. The nation also was ranked as having the lowest quality of infrastructure of any nation, with one of the lowest quality of electricity supply and relatively few mobile telephone subscribers, at 48.6 per 100 residents.

6. Haiti
> GCI score: 3.11
> GDP per capita: $759 (17th lowest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 15.4% (17th lowest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 10.9% (25th lowest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Access to financing

In 2010, Haiti was rocked by an earthquake that is estimated to have killed more than 300,000 people. The nation was hardly well-off before the earthquake — it was already exceptionally poor and among the least developed nations in the world. Today, access to even basic requirements of a functional economy are limited. Haiti’s ports and roads are among the worst-rated in the world, while its electricity supply and telephone lines are also limited. Additionally, only one nation, Venezuela, rated worse for protecting property rights. Haiti also received poor scores for its limited judicial independence and for the limited trust in politicians, who are believed to be more likely to ask for bribes or misuse public funds than their counterparts in most other countries.