The Worst Economies in the World

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10. Burkina Faso
> GCI score (1-7): 3.21
> GDP per capita: $1,578 (12th lowest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 33.3% (46th lowest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 4.4% (12th lowest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Access to financing

Burkina Faso is a factor-driven economy, the first stage of development, which means it competes based primarily on unskilled labor and natural resources. Burkina Faso is a large cotton producer, and its economy is highly dependent on both cotton and gold. The small sub-Saharan nation is also quite poor, with a GDP of just $1,578 per capita. Only about two-thirds of school-aged children were enrolled in primary school in 2012, and life expectancy was among the lowest worldwide at just 56 years as of last year, both much lower than in most countries. Poor infrastructure has also likely impeded development. Road quality and the country’s electricity supply were rated nearly the worst. A turbulent history of military coups and frequent droughts have also likely hindered the nation’s development.

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9. Timor-Leste
> GCI score (1-7): 3.17
> GDP per capita: $22,808 (41st highest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: N/A
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 1.1% (the lowest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Access to financing

Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor, is one of the world’s least competitive countries. After many decades of often-violent colonial rule from neighboring Indonesia and other countries, Timor-Leste achieved independence only in 2002. The country’s independence is widely regarded as one of the United Nations’ most successful projects. However, the young nation’s economy is still in its earliest phases. While economic output is strong compared to other uncompetitive nations, exports accounted for just 1% of GDP, the lowest proportion worldwide. Technology is also extremely sparse. Just 1.1% of the population had access to the Internet last year, and for every 200 people there was less than one broadband subscription, both among the lowest rates in the world.

8. Haiti
> GCI score (1-7): 3.14
> GDP per capita: $1,362 (8th lowest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 21.3% (20th lowest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 10.6% (22nd lowest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Inadequate supply of infrastructure

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. According to the Haitian government, more than 300,000 people were killed during a 2010 earthquake, although this figure is highly disputed. Country residents are split between the relatively poor Creole-speaking majority, and the relatively well-off French-speaking minority. Inadequate infrastructure is the nation’s most problematic factor for doing business, according to local businesspeople surveyed, followed by corruption and inadequate access to financing.