Even though studying the world’s richest nations might be attractive and inspiring, it’s equally crucial to be aware of the nations at the opposite end of the wealth range.
One of the main strategies used by organizations like the United Nations to raise the general standard of living for the residents of impoverished countries is aiding those nations’ economies.
Natural resources, educational systems, political stability, and national debt are just a few of the many aspects that go into determining a country’s wealth.
The majority of the world’s poorest nations, though not all of them, are also among the least developed, commonly referred to as third-world countries or, less politely, as undeveloped countries.
In this article, we are carefully looking out at the 20 poorest countries in the world as of 2023.
1. Central African Republic
GDP: $2.321 billion
The Central African Republic has the world’s lowest GNI per capita at $663, despite being rich in resources such as gold, diamonds, and oil.
The country has experienced economic setbacks due to ongoing violence since gaining independence from France in 1960, including a series of coups and religious conflicts between the Muslim minority and the Christian majority that began in 2012.
While over half of the population resides in rural areas, more than 90% of urban residents live in slums. Furthermore, the Central African Republic is the sole country for which data is available indicating that over 61.8% of citizens suffer from malnourishment.
The country also has one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates and one of the lowest average life expectancies, at just 52.9 years.
GDP: $3.436 billion
Burundi is the second poorest nation in both Africa and the entire globe, with a GNI per capita of only $686.
A terrible 12-year civil war that was started in 1994 due to tensions between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority has marred the nation’s modern history.
The public sector in Burundi is currently one of the world’s most corrupt. A nation with a low level of development, Burundi is also.
Less than 10% of people in the country have access to electricity, while more than 87% of the population lives in rural areas.
The nation’s maternal mortality rate of 712 deaths per 100,000 live births is among the highest in the world, despite the fact that almost all pregnant women in the country receive prenatal medical treatment.
3. Democratic Republic of the Congo
GDP: $48.994 billion
The Democratic Republic of Congo possesses abundant natural resources, including valuable minerals like copper, diamonds, and gold.
Unfortunately, instead of being a source of economic prosperity, control over these resources has contributed to a civil war that has resulted in the loss of up to 6 million lives.
Moreover, the country’s infrastructure is inadequate, with only 17% of the population having access to electricity and no fixed telephone lines.
This, coupled with pervasive corruption in the public sector, makes conducting business in the country a challenging undertaking.
Like many other impoverished nations, DR Congo’s health outcomes are subpar, with one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates and an average life expectancy of just 60 years.
GDP: 14.92 billion USD
Only four nations—including Niger—have a GNI per citizen that is less than $1,000. Niger has experienced political unrest and coups since achieving independence from France in 1960.
Just 16% of the population has access to electricity in one of the least developed countries in the world.
More than 80% of people in Niger live in rural areas, and the vast majority of those who do reside in cities do so in slums. More than three out of four people in the nation live on less than $3.20 a day, indicating that poverty is pervasive.
Nonetheless, Niger is a resource-rich country, and oil exploration and gold mining are propelling economic growth. The economy of Niger expanded at a respectably quick 4.9% rate in 2017.
GDP: 12.63 billion USD
An additional country on this list, Mozambique, shares a border with Malawi, an East African country. With a startling 70.3% of its people surviving on less than $1.90 a day, it is one of the world’s poorest nations.
Agriculture and subsistence farming, which employ 71.9% of all workers, are the economy’s main drivers.
With almost one in ten people aged 15 to 49 having HIV, Malawi is battling, like its surrounding countries, to stop the spread of the disease.
The sickness has claimed the parents of more than a million children in the nation, according to the BBC.
GDP: $3.509 billion
A brutal civil war that raged in Liberia during the 1990s and early 2000s claimed the lives of a quarter of a million people and forced thousands of others to flee their homes.
Liberia was created in part by freed American slaves. During this time, the economy of the nation was all but destroyed.
Less than 20% of inhabitants have access to electricity, and about 39% of people are malnourished, which has led to little economic progress and terrible quality of life for the population.
Due to the government’s low investment in education and ranking as one of the most corrupt in the world, there is a high rate of illiteracy.
Despite this, Liberia has a wealth of natural resources, and its exports of gold are boosting the country’s economy. 19% of the nation’s $1.0 billion in exports in 2017 were made up of gold.
GDP: $15.78 billion
In 1975, Mozambique, a republic located in the Indian Ocean in southern Africa and a former Portuguese colony, gained her independence.
As with many other former colonial nations, Mozambique encountered significant challenges in the early years of its independence, including a civil war that lasted from 1976 to 1992.
Despite the discovery of natural gas in 2011, which boosted the economy, development has been slow, partly due to the civil war lasting over 15 years. Shockingly, 62.4% of the population, or roughly 82%, survive on less than $3.20 per day.
The country is also experiencing a public health crisis, with 12.5% of people between the ages of 15 and 49 being HIV positive.
GDP: 14.47 billion
East of the African continent in the Indian Ocean is the island nation of Madagascar.
Since gaining its independence from France in 1960, the former colony has struggled with political unrest and military takeovers.
Even though the county has a sizable tourism economy, more than two-thirds of all jobs are in agriculture, which is the area’s primary industry.
Several people’s living situations in the nation serve as an example of the difficulties that come with poverty.
Almost 77% of the country’s urban population resides in slums, and 43% of citizens are underweight. Madagascar’s birth expectancy is only 66.3 years, which is just six years less than the world average.
9. Sierra Leone
GDP: $4.042 billion
Natural resources abound in Sierra Leone, which is in West Africa. Regrettably, these resources served as the fuel for a terrible civil war that raged until 2002 and destroyed many of the nation’s institutions.
Nowadays, it is believed that Sierra Leone’s public sector is more corrupt than that of the majority of other nations.
Given that about one-fourth of the population is malnourished, the effects of slow economic development are clear. Sierra Leone has the world’s highest maternal mortality rate of 1,360 deaths per 100,000 live births.
Additionally, the country was among the most severely impacted by the 2014 Ebola outbreak. At 52.2 years, the average life expectancy at birth in Sierra Leone is the lowest in the world.
10. The Gambia
GDP: 2.038 billion
The Gambia is socially and politically more stable than most of the other nations on this list and most of the West African nations.
Despite this, it is one of the world’s poorest nations, with a GNI per capita of less than $1,500.
Wood, Brazil nuts, and cashews made up 80% of The Gambia’s exports in 2017, despite the country’s dearth of natural resources and reliance on agriculture.
More than one-third of The Gambia’s urban population lives in slums, while less than half of the country’s population has access to electricity.
11. Solomon Islands
GDP: 1.631 billion
The Solomon Islands are one of the few countries on this list that are not situated in Africa. They are a group of islands in the South Pacific. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the nation went through a period of civil strife that almost brought it to ruin.
A multinational peacekeeping team with Australia as its leader was stationed in the nation from 2003 to 2017 and worked to broker a ceasefire between warring factions.
The economy of the nation is mostly reliant on agriculture, which employs 61% of the workforce. Less than 50% of people living in the Solomon Islands have access to electricity, which is comparable to many other developing nations.
GDP: $2.065 billion
One of the newest nations in the world, Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia in 1993. A decade-long battle with Ethiopia that was resolved in 2018 is partly to blame for the nation’s high level of militarization.
A severe drought has also hampered the country’s economic growth; 63% of jobs are in agriculture, which is another hindrance to the economy.
The democratic constitution that Eritrea enacted in 1997 was never put into effect. Now a one-party state, it is regarded as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
Just about 14 persons per 100 have cell phone subscriptions, and less than half of the population has access to electricity. It is even less common to have fixed phone lines or a broadband subscription.
GDP: $1 Billion
One of the world’s most corrupt nations is Guinea-Bissau, a country in West Africa. Drug trafficking and illicit logging have replaced weak public-sector organizations.
As farming accounts for more than two-thirds of all employment in the nation, agriculture dominates the legal economy.
The majority of the nation’s exports, or nearly 80% of the overall export value in 2017, were cashews.
Just 15% of the population has access to power now, and 26% of people are undernourished.
One of the few nations in the world with an average life expectancy at birth under 60 years is Guinea-Bissau.
GDP: $8.41 billion
The political climate in Togo, a country in West Africa, has stabilized after experiencing periods of political unrest since obtaining independence from France in 1960.
Togo’s government has substantially invested in infrastructure that would assist draw in investment and promote development, and this has resulted in the country’s economy growing faster in 2017—by 4.4%—than the 3.2% global average.
Even yet, it’s still one of the most underdeveloped nations in the world.
On less than $1.90 a day, about half of Togo’s population lives in slums, and around half of the urban population.
About 12 years less than the average for the world, the country’s life expectancy is only 60.5 years.
15. Burkina Faso
GDP: $19.74 billion
Despite having large gold deposits, the landlocked nation of Burkina Faso is among the world’s poorest.
Since winning independence from the French about 60 years ago, the nation has frequently experienced political unrest and violence, which makes genuine progress all but impossible.
At the moment, more than 75% of people survive on less than $3.20 a day.
Economic progress is currently hampered by a number of social and physical barriers.
For instance, in Burkina Faso, less than 20% of people have access to electricity, and only around one-third of adults, there are literate.
GDP: $14.79 billion
Due to persistent conflict and warfare in Afghanistan, any significant progress in economic development has been extremely challenging in recent decades.
The country was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979, leading to a ten-year war that resulted in over a million casualties.
The United States has maintained a military presence in the country since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and despite NATO ending its combat mission in 2014, insurgent groups still pose a threat to the country’s stability.
As a result, Afghanistan’s current government is widely regarded as one of the most corrupt in the world. The country heavily relies on foreign aid, and its citizens frequently face shortages of basic necessities such as clean water and electricity.
GDP: $40.53 billion
Uganda gained independence from Great Britain in 1962, but from 1971 to 1979, it was governed brutally by Idi Amin.
Because Amin ordered the expulsion of all Asians during that time, the nation’s economy nearly collapsed.
Also, it’s estimated that Amin’s rule resulted in the deaths of 300,000 Ugandans.
The landlocked African nation has had rebellions led by the Lord’s Resistance Army and a military takeover in recent decades.
Nowadays, Uganda’s broad economic development is hindered in part by the country’s inadequate infrastructure.
Electricity is only available to around 25% of the population, and while there are more than 58 cell phone subscriptions for every 100 citizens, fixed telephone lines and broadband are essentially nonexistent.
GDP: 20.94 billion
Since Haiti is not in Africa, it stands out from the other nations on the list. It is located on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Despite winning independence from France in the 19th century, the nation was still obligated to pay off former French slave owners’ reparations until 1947 and was still obligated to pay its previous colonial ruler its debt.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, political unrest, and other natural disasters have all recently wreaked havoc on the nation. Haiti’s economy, like that of many other underdeveloped countries, is mostly dependent on agriculture, which employs about 50% of the country’s workers.
With a malnourished population of about 46% and an average life expectancy of only 63.6 years, the effects of poverty are clearly seen in Haiti.
GDP: $111.3 billion
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, and because it was never colonized, it has not experienced the difficulties that many of the other nations on this list did when they first gained independence.
Nonetheless, early 1990s civil unrest and droughts have hampered progress, and the nation’s infrastructure is inadequate.
There are only about 38 cell phone subscriptions per 100 persons, and less than half of the population has access to electricity.
Even fewer people have a landline or broadband service.
Sixty-two percent of Ethiopians and more than one in four live on $3.20 or less each day.
GDP: $11.78 billion
Chad is one of the world’s poorest nations despite having an abundance of precious resources like gold and oil.
The slow pace of growth has been a result of tensions between Christians and Muslims in the north. Economic progress and investment are both harmed by government corruption.
Transparency International places Chad among the most corrupt nations in the world based on the results of more than a dozen surveys on opinions of corruption in the public sector.
Chad’s population must deal with severe social and economic hardships. The landlocked nation in north-central Africa has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, at just 53.2, almost as low as any other nation.