Top 20 Poorest Countries In Africa 2020 {GDP per Capita}

A detailed list of the current top 20 poorest countries in Africa. How often do you ask Which country is the poorest in Africa? Africa is one of the richest continents in the world in terms of land-soil, favorable weather, and many more, but has rich as the continent is, its totally different story to most countries as Africa serve has to site for some of the poorest countries in the world. NaijaQuest takes a look at the poorest countries in Africa in terms of GDP per capita.

With regard to many years of disasters, political instability, cruel leadership, poor decision-making, and frequent embezzlement of public funds, many African countries have been plagued by poor economic standards.

To determine the poorest African countries, we can adopt the same economic model used in determining the richest African countries. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the Top 20 Poorest Countries in Africa By GDP Per Capita (PPP).

Top 20 Poorest Countries In Africa By GDP per Capita 2020

 S/N  African Poorest Countries  GDP Per Capita (PPP) 2020
 1.  Burundi  $724
 2.  The Democratic Republic Of Congo  $873
 3.  Eritrea  $1,103
 4.  Niger  $1,152
 5.  Malawi  $1,292
 6.  Mozambique  $1,372
 7.  Liberia  $1,428
 8.  South Sudan  $1,715
 9.  Sierra Leone  $1,765
 10.  Madagascar  $1,776
 11.  Togo  $1,913
 12.  Guinea-Bissau  $2,113
 13.  Burkina Faso  $2,181
 14.  Mali  $2,569
 15.  Guinea  $2,574
 16.  Chad  $2,603
 17.  Rwanda  $2,642
 18.  Ethiopia  $2,702
 19.  Uganda  $2,753
 20.  Zimbabwe  $2,778

Details Of The Poorest African Countries

1. Burundi

    • GDP Per Capita: $724

The economy of Burundi is majorly dependent on the agriculture sector which contributes 70% and 54% of the country’s labour force and GDP respectively. Sadly, Burundi’s economy remains crippled due to disastrous reasons among which are less developed manufacturing sector,  recurring soil erosion, inadequate resources, and the incidence of civil war. With the view of overcoming future financial issues, Burundi concentrates on self-sufficiency but in addition to this, the government is seeking other nations for assistance. As it stands, the GDP per capita of Burundi is estimated at $724. 

2. The Central African Republic CAR

    • GDP per capita: $864

The Central African Republic is one of the African nations that have experienced long years of disaster associated with war. As a result of long-standing political instability, the Central African Republic has achieved no degree of economic growth. The country’s diamond and timber potentials are great opportunities for increasing national revenue but sadly, the incidence of corruption has trivialized them and reduced their value. Since it attained independence, CAR (Central African Republic) has experienced a series of civil disasters, making it one of the African countries without any trace of stability.

President Francois Bozize made efforts to restore stability to the country and considerable progress was achieved within 4 years – 2008 to 2012. However, the Seleka rebel group threw Bozize out of power in 2013, putting an end to the considerable progress he had achieved. On the basis of GDP per capita, CAR has a total of $864, making it not just one of the poorest countries in Africa but also among the least developed African countries. 

3. DR Congo

    • GDP capita: $873

Officially the Democratic Republic of Congo, among the top 20 poorest countries in Africa, DR Congo generates the lion share of its revenue from its most vibrant sectors which include forestry, agriculture, and hunting. Besides, it maintains a significant oil sector that yields petroleum for exportation and domestic needs. However, the country is plagued by unemployment due to extreme manpower and budget crisis. Though DR Congo experiences severe economic drawbacks, the incumbent administration is working hard to ensure electricity is generated from natural gas through the use of modern technology. With the GDP capita of $475.2, DR Congo sits in the ninth position among Africa’s poorest countries. 

4. Eritrea

    • GDP per capita: $1,103

Eritrea is endowed with mineral potentials and this is why the exportation of minerals (including marble, granite, gold, and copper) contributes immensely to its revenue basis. At the same time, workers’ remittances from foreign sources contribute more than 27% of Eritrea’s GDP. Despite a number of setbacks involving inadequate income generation, Eritrea is yet considered one of the fast-growing economies in Africa. Currently, the Eritrean government is working towards improving domestic employment as a basis for discouraging apparent foreign dominance. With the GDP per capita of $1,103, Eritrea is regarded as Africa’s twelfth poorest country. 

5. Niger

    • GDP per capita: $1,152

Niger is a West-African country with substantial mineral endowments and an active agriculture sector. The economy is further strengthened by foreign exports and a substantial volume of domestic production. Despite its high-level of domestic production, Niger fails to achieve standardized economic growth because most of its exports go to other less-developed African countries. With a view to stabilizing the economy, the Nigerien government has implemented flexible privatization policies. Currently, Niger is estimated with the GDP per capita of $1,152. 

6. Malawi

    • GDP per capita: $1,292

Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa, The people of Malawi mainly rely on the agriculture sector as it contributes more than 70% of the GDP. At the same time, the best part of Malawians are residents of rural areas, making agriculture the mainstay of sustenance in the country. Due to a number of unfavourable factors, life has been considered brutish and miserable in Malawi with the life expectancy of Malawians being 50 years. Although the Malawian government is gearing efforts towards increasing the country’s export revenue, Malawi is yet plagued by several failures including poor health care system, inadequate education system, the prevalence of deforestation, and widespread HIV/AIDS. Considered Africa’s second poorest nation, Malawi has the GDP per capita of $1,292. 

7. Mozambique

    • GDP per capita: $1,372

Mozambique is a less developed African country that depends heavily on subsistence agriculture. Economic growth in Mozambique has been plagued by setbacks resulting from two major factors which are the overdependence on foreign aid and high level of inflation. But in order to revive the economy and keep it at a steady rate of growth, the Mozambiquan government has laid hands on macroeconomic changes. Currently, the country’s GDP per capita is no better off than $1,372. 

8. Liberia

    • GDP per capita: $1,428

Liberia is one of the poorest African countries located in West-Africa that relies heavily on agriculture as well as mineral resources. In order to expand its GDP level, the country depends heavily on the exportation of minerals including rubber and iron ore. Previously, Liberia had sustainable economic standards but as a result of the Civil War, the country has been ravaged by several disasters including crippled infrastructure, misunderstandings, political unrest, and the absence of capital resources. In order to revive the economy, the government of Liberia is gearing efforts towards using modernized technology in improving the agricultural sector. Currently, Liberia has a GDP per capita of $1,428.0.

9. South Sudan 

    • GDP per capita: $1,715

10. Sierra Leone

    • GDP per capita: $1,765

In Sierra Leone, agriculture contributes substantially to employment but the country is yet to achieve any reasonable growth due to inadequate industrial support from the government. Meanwhile, the Sierra Leonean economy continually declines due to excessive reliance on mineral exploitation. Besides the mining industry, Sierra Leone hasn’t achieved any reasonable development in its various industries and the reason is that the government supposes the country’s gold and diamonds are enough to convince foreigners to establish investments in the country. Currently, the GDP per capita of Sierra Leone stands at $1,765. 

11. Madagascar

    • GDP per capita: $1,776

Over the years, Madagascar has taken advantage of its sufficient natural endowments (such as minerals and agricultural produce) to facilitate its export basis. Under the influence of its mining and agricultural sectors, Madagascar has been able to maintain income stability. On a sad note, Madagascar remains a poor African nation as a result of its recurring political disasters which have discouraged foreigners from establishing investments on its terrain. Meanwhile, Madagascar focuses attention on its tourism sector to make it serve as an additional means for generating revenue. Despite having a favourable export basis with vibrant agricultural and mining sectors, Madagascar remains a poor African country with the GDP per capita of $1,776. 

12. Togo

    • GDP per capita: $1,913

Togo is another underdeveloped African country that depends heavily on subsistence agriculture. Unfortunately, the country’s GDP has been hit by unfavourable harvests and inadequate rainfall. Though the latter factors contribute to Togo’s poor rate of economic growth, Togo is striving hard to transform the shape of its economy. In that case, the country maintains a vibrant labour force which has added paramount importance to its standards. To pave the way for another source of revenue, Togo has been favoured by meaningful investments in cotton cultivation. At the moment, the country has a GDP per capita of $1,913. 

13. Guinea Bissau

    • GDP per capita: $2113

Guinea Bissau is a West African country considered one of the most impoverished nations on the African continent. Fishing and agriculture are the major sources of revenue for the country. Meanwhile, Guinea Bissau is surrounded by chaos and economic disaster resulting from rebellious activities. Though its economy has long undergone a series of irregularities, Guinea Bissau is gradually getting out of the woods with the support of recent developments. Notably, one of these developments is a favourable increase in the production of cashew crops. Currently, the GDP per capita of Guinea Bissau stands at $2,113. 

14. Burkina Faso

    • GDP per capita: $2,181

As a means of sustenance, more than 75% of Burkina Faso’s population depends heavily on agriculture. Unfortunately, the country has been hit by a decreasing volume of production as a result of crude technology and inconsistent rainfall. In addition, the country’s economy has suffered severe setbacks resulting from soil fragility, shortage of resources, and high population density. As bad as it is, Burkina Faso continues to reek of poverty regardless of its efforts aimed at lessening trade deficit, advancing in microeconomic aspects and improving private investment. With the GDP per capita of $2,181, Burkina Faso is the seventeenth poorest African country. 

15. Mali

    • GDP per capita: $2,569

For the purpose of sustenance, the major part of Mali’s local population depends heavily on agriculture. The country is barely self-sufficient and despite the financial assistance it derives from international organizations such as The World Bank, its economy continues to lag behind. Instead of mastering financial difficulties, Mali bears the burden of excess debt. With the motive of guiding against future financial difficulties, Mali is now focusing attention on its fishing and mining industry situated in Bali. As it stands, Mali’s GDP per capita is worth $2,569.

16. Guinea

    • GDP per capita: $2,574

17. Chad

    • GDP per capita: $2,603

18. Rwanda

    • GDP per capita: $2,642

In order to earn a living for themselves, more than 85% of Rwandans depend heavily on agriculture. As a landlocked territory, Rwanda has restricted access to natural endowments, forcing it to depend largely on its manpower and the limited resources around it. Besides the problem of population, Rwanda is faced with an unfavourable GDP level resulting from the uncompetitive nature of its industrial sector. However, the country has been able to expand its exportation of tea and coffee in a bid to stabilize its economy. At the moment, Rwanda is estimated with the GDP per capita of $642. 

19. Ethiopia

    • GDP per capita: $2,702

Ethiopia is another country among the list of poorest countries in Africa by GDP per Capita. Like some other African countries, Ethiopia depends greatly on its agriculture sector as it contributes more than 45% of its GDP. Despite the benefits it reaps from agricultural activities, Ethiopia suffers a high level of unemployment owing to the fact that its population is dominated by the underaged. However, the Ethiopian government is working hard to see that many assets and companies are privatized. By doing this, the government believes it can achieve income stability in future moments. Currently, the GDP per capita of Ethiopia is estimated at $2,702.

20. Uganda

    • GDP per capita: $2,753

Despite the fact that Uganda is endowed with adequate rainfall, arable vegetation, and numerous natural resources, its economy suffers setbacks. Meanwhile, Uganda’s crippled economy is attributed to poor economic management and political crisis. In the latter case, Uganda has been deemed one of the African countries with high levels of poverty. In order to harness Uganda’s vast natural resources in the best way, many firms are working hard to see that industries are privatized. As it stands, Uganda’s GDP per capita is estimated at $2,753. 

21. Zimbabwe 

    • GDP per capita: $2,778

22. The Gambia

    • GDP per capita: $2,892

The Gambia is one of the African poorest countries with insufficient mineral resources. Due to this, the country barely generates substantial export revenues, making livestock the only means of economic sustenance. Due to insufficient agricultural land, Gambia finds it difficult to expand its volume of production. To save its economy from adversity, Gambia largely depends on foreign donations. In order to attain sustainable economic standards, the Gambian government urges citizens to establish small-scale businesses. With the GDP per capita of $2,892, Gambia is considered Africa’s fifth poorest country.

25. The Republic of Benin

    • GDP per capita: $825.2

The Benin Republic is one of the less developed countries in Africa due to excess dependence on cotton production and subsistence agriculture. The country’s economy is dominated by foreigners who own most of the companies. Despite its high level of production, Benin Republic is not reaping substantial profits because many companies are under foreign ownership and dominance. In order to generate more revenue for itself, the government of Benin Republic has centered its investments on local products including pineapples, peanuts, and cocoa. With the GDP per capita of $825.2, Benin Republic is considered the twentieth poorest African country.


    • GDP Per Capita: $128.1

Somalia has been deemed Africa’s poorest country. Meanwhile, a report issued by the United Nations implies that Somalia is the poorest country both in Africa and the entire world. Somalia’s crippled economy is a direct result of the civil war that has been ravaging the country since 1986. With an underdeveloped economy subject to military control, Somalia has remained the world’s most impoverished country. The best part of its resources (which could have been harnessed in strengthening the economy) has been mishandled by the Somalian armies.

Economically, Somalia depends on telecommunications, foreign remittances, and livestock. However, these are still not enough to improve the country’s economic condition.

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