Special Report

25 Poorest Countries in the World

Source: Thinkstock

15. Burkina Faso
> GNI per capita: $640
> 2016 GDP: $12.1 billion
> Population: 18.6 million
> Life expectancy: 59.8 years at birth

Burkina Faso, which means “the land of honest men,” has one the least corrupt governments among the poorest countries in the world, according to Transparency International. Recurring droughts and military coups have hindered development in the landlocked West African country, which relies on agriculture for 32.6% of its GDP. Despite recent economic hardship, Burkina Faso experienced a growth of nearly 6% of its annual GDP in 2016 — more than double global economic growth. Accounting for 73% of Burkina Faso’s exports, Gold dominates the country’s $3.5 billion export industry.

Source: Thinkstock

14. Guinea-Bissau
> GNI per capita: $620
> 2016 GDP: $1.1 billion
> Population: 1.8 million
> Life expectancy: 57.0 years at birth

Guinea-Bissau has several high hurdles to clear before it can achieve lasting economic prosperity. For example, less than half of the country’s 15 and older population could read as of 2014. Additionally, life expectancy in Guinea-Bissau is only 57 years at birth — well below the global average of nearly 72 years.

Like many of the world’s poorest countries, Guinea-Bissau’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and natural resources. Coconuts, Brazil nuts, and cashews accounted for 84% of the the country’s exports in 2015. Additionally, agriculture accounted for 43.7% of the country’s economic output in 2013.

Source: Thinkstock

13. Afghanistan
> GNI per capita: $580
> 2016 GDP: $19.5 billion
> Population: 34.7 million
> Life expectancy: 63.3 years at birth

Like many of the world’s poorest countries, Afghanistan has been mired in conflict on and off for decades. Today, the country is grappling with increasing Taliban activity and ranks among the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International.

Joblessness is a considerable problem in Afghanistan. Some 8.6% of the country’s labor force are out of a job compared to a 5.8% global unemployment rate. Economically dependent on agriculture, grapes and vegetable saps represent the top commodity for export in the country, making up 20% and 18% of total exports, respectively. Agriculture as a whole accounts for 21.9% of economic activity in the country.

Source: Thinkstock

12. Togo
> GNI per capita: $540
> 2016 GDP: $4.4 billion
> Population: 7.6 million
> Life expectancy: 59.9 years at birth

With a GNI of only $540 per capita, Togo is heavily dependent on foreign aid. As is often the case in poor nations, agriculture is the primary economic engine in Togo. About 41% of Togo’s GDP is generated through farming.

Inadequate education systems present a major obstacle to economic development in Togo, as only 63.7% of the country’s 15 and over population are literate. Togo is among a minority of countries in which average life expectancy at birth is less than 60 years.

Source: Thinkstock

11. Sierra Leone
> GNI per capita: $490
> 2016 GDP: $3.7 billion
> Population: 7.4 million
> Life expectancy: 51.4 years at birth

Economic growth in Sierra Leone has been stymied by a devastating civil war that ended only 15 years ago. The West African nation is one of only 11 countries in which the average citizen lives on less than $500 per year. People who are struggling financially are more likely to be unhealthy, and life expectancy in Sierra Leone is nearly the lowest in the world, at only about 51 years at birth.

Today, corruption, a poorly educated workforce, and access to financing are all major impediments for the country’s economic development, according to the World Economic Forum. The country ranks among the most corrupt in the world by Transparency International, and fewer than a third of residents 15 and older are literate.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.