Top 100 Poorest Countries in the World (2023)

An updated list of the top 100 poorest countries in the world presently. Poverty is not just a lack of money or food; it is a lack of opportunities or resources to meet one’s needs. When calculating the poorest or wealthiest countries the usual method is to calculate GDP per capita. If a country’s citizens spend a lot of money in a fiscal year then they are a wealthy society, with a high standard of living. The countries with the lowest spending are generally considered the poorest.

As one might expect, the poorest countries in the world are the least developed countries, and most of them are geographically located in Sub-Saharan Africa. To make matters worse, many of these countries have a ruling class that lives in wealthy lavishness not seen in many of the richest countries with accountable leadership. 

This ranking is based on the Gross domestic product (GDP) purchasing-power-parity (PPP) per capita of each of these countries. This way we would be able to tell the actual standard of living of people in most of these countries.

Many of the poorest nations in the world are places where authoritarian regimes have long held power, or where political turmoil and outright war have brought the financial institutions and entire economies to their knees. It also seems that countries that have no access to the seas, and there find international trade difficult generally suffer economically.


Rank No. Country Name GDP Per Capita
1. Burundi $727
2. The Central African Republic $822
3. Congo Demoratic Republic $849
4. Eritrea $1,060
5. Niger $1,106
6. Malawi $1,240
7. Mozambique $1,303
8. Liberia $1,404
9. South Sudan $1,602
10. Sierra Leone $1,690
11. Madagascar $1,699
12. Togo $1,826
13. Haiti $1,878
14. Guinea-Bissau $2,016
15. Burkina Faso $2,077
16. Afghanistan $2,095
17. Kiribati $2,138
18. Yemen $2,280
19. Solomon Islands $2,303
20. Guinea $2,441
21. Rwanda $2,452
22. Mali $2,471
23. Chad $2,481
24. Ethiopia $2,511
25. Uganda $2,631
26. Zimbabwe $2.702
27. The Gambia $2,745
28. Comoros $2,799
29. Vanuatu $2,957
30. Nepal $3,318
31. Sao Tome and Principe $3,387
32. Tanzania $3,402
33. Benin $3,446
34. Federated States Of Micronesia $3,562
35. Tajikistan $3,589
36. Lesotho $3,615
37. Senegal $3,815
38. Marshall Islands $3,853
39. Kenya $3,875
40. Cameroon $3,955
41. Papua New Guinea $3,983
42. Kyrgystan $4,056
43. Sudan $4,072
44. Zambia $4,148
45. Tuvalu $4,277
46. Cote d’Ivoire $4,457
47. Mauritania $4,881
48. Bangladesh $5,028
49. Timor-Leste $5,254
50. Nicaragua $5,290
51. Honduras $5,385
52. Djibouti $5,568
53. Pakistan $5,872
54. Nigeria $6,055
55. Samoa $6,152
56. Ghana $6,452
57. Tonga $6,486
58. Myanmar $6,707
59. The Republic Of Congo $7,174
60. Angola $6,752
61. Moldova $7,703
62. Cape Verde $7,729
63. Vietnam $8,066
64. Laos $8,110
65. Bolivia $8,172
66. El Salvador $8,313
67. India $8,378
68. Belize $8,664
69. Guatemala $8,705
70. Nauru $8,999
71. Uzbekistan $9,000
72. Guyana $9,094
73. Morocco $9,235
74. Libya $9,358
75. Philippines $9,471
76. Jordan $9,649
77. Jamaica $9,692
78. Ukraine $9,775
79. Bhutan $9,876
80. Armenia $11,083
81. Eswatini $11,161
82. Namibia $11,266
83. Ecuador $11,743
84. Dominica $12,008
85. Fiji $12,1147
86. Georgia $12,227
87. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines $12,454
88. Tunisia $12,661
89. Paraguay $13,584
90. South Africa $13,754
91. Sri Lanka $13,897
92. Albania $13,897
93. Indonesia $13,998
94. Egypt $14,023
95. Bosnia And Herzegovina $14,220
96. Mongolia $14,309
97. Saint Lucia $14,492
98. Peru $14,719
99. Lebanon $15,049
100. Colombia $15,541

Top 10 Poorest Countries In The World

  • 1. Burundi

GDP Per Capita: 724

Burundi, located in Central Africa, is the number one poorest country in the world by current figures. The country is entirely landlocked and is surrounded by Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The country has a per capita GDP of 724 USD, which is down from the previous year’s figure of 744USD. African countries have always suffered from bad leadership, and since independence from Belgium in 1962, Burundi has not fared differently.

The country has suffered from a long period of political crisis, and that has caused a recession. Furthermore, the Burundian government’s ban on trade with neighboring Rwanda in July 2016, citing concerns over food security, has caused a sharp rise in prices of staple foodstuffs such as potatoes. There has also been a fall in the production of coffee which is the country’s main export. According to the latest UNDP Burundi survey, 82.1% of the county’s population lives on $1.25 a day or less. This can be alleviated by subsidizing agricultural input because and 90% of the Burundian population depends on agriculture. 

This country of nearly 12 million people is blessed with good arable land within the rift valley where agriculture can take place uninterrupted throughout the year. We must mention that the country recently suffered a humanitarian crisis when political unrest caused over 100,000 people to flee their homes, effectively ruining the economy.

  • 2. Central African Republic (CAR) 

GDP per Capita: 864

The Central African Republic, which is located right in the heart of Africa, is the second poorest country in the whole world according to available data. The country has a GDP per Capita of 864USD, which is an increase from the previous year’s figure of 860 USD. The country is entirely landlocked with neighbors being Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The country has a population of over 4 million and has enough land for intensive agriculture. 

With abundant deposits of gold, cobalt, crude oil, uranium, and diamonds, the Central African Republic is a very wealthy country that is inhabited by very poor people. For the first time since its independence from France in 1960, the country has a democratically elected president who campaigned as a peacemaker who could bridge the divide between the Muslim minority and the Christian majority, thus putting an end to the recurrent violence that has plagued the country. Currently, about 75% of the population live below the poverty line. 

  • 3. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) 

GDP per Capita USD 876

Democratic Republic of Congo, also known as Congo DRC is a country in Central Africa. With a GDP per capita of USD 876, the country is the three poorest in the world according to available data.

Despite gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, the Congo has suffered decades of dictatorship, political instability, and constant violence. Naturally, those circumstances would result in poverty.  The country has abundant natural resources, but instead of developing these resources, the country has spent a lot of its time-fighting.

The nation’s cash inflow suffered recently when an important mining company; Katanga Mining announced a temporary halt to cobalt production at its Kamoto mine after Uranium was discovered in high quantities. It expected that their fortunes improve as demand for copper, cobalt, and uranium return after lockdowns. 

However, with 80 million hectares of arable land and over a thousand minerals and valuable metals under its surface, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has the potential to become a powerhouse of agriculture, and one of the richest African nations. They can easily become a driver of growth for the entire African continent.

  • 4. Eritrea 

GDP per Capita: 1,103

Eritrea is a relatively new country located at the horn of Africa. It became an independent country after a bloody war with Ethiopia and has as neighbors Sudan and Djibouti. The country has a long and extensive coastal region into the red sea, making international trade an attractive prospect. The country has beautiful landscapes and teeming wildlife that can one day turn it into a major hub of tourism, and hospitality.

Currently spots number four on the poorest nations on earth. This country is located in the Horn of Africa and became independent in the year 1991. This country has a fast-growing economy at 8.7 percent, but a GDP per Capita of $1,103.

  • 5. Niger 

GDP per Capita: 1,152

The Niger Republic is a country in West Africa that is completely landlocked. The country is bordered by Libya, Nigeria, and chad. The country covers about 1.3 million square kilometers of land and is the largest country in West Africa. There is arable land is stupendous abundance, and natural resources, most important of which is uranium is also found within its borders. There really needs to be an improvement in security, and agriculture has to be practiced more efficiently for the country to make more economic progress.

Niger has 80% of this landlocked territory covered by the Sahara desert. Nevertheless, its rapidly growing population still depends largely upon small-scale agriculture. Niger is heavily threatened by desertification and climate change. There is also a great deal of insecurity due to the presence of the terror group Boko Haram. Furthermore, the country has been hit by a drop in global commodity prices, as one of the major drivers of their economy is the extraction of natural resources such as gold and uranium. 

  • 6. Malawi 

GDP per Capita: 1,292

Malawi is one of Africa’s smallest nations, located in eastern Africa, and is a landlocked country bordered by Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique. The country has a GDP per capita of 1,292USD, is now projected to reach $1,580 by 2024. This shows that the country is on the road to economic robustness in the near future. 

Nevertheless, poverty is still widespread, and the nation’s economy is driven by agriculture practiced on a small scale. This is largely vulnerable to weather-related shocks. We must be reminded that this is a landlocked country whose main economic activity is agriculture. The country can improve even more as more efficient methods of agriculture are incorporated, a major step should be taken towards improving food security, subsidizing agricultural inputs, improve tourism, and hospitality.

  • 7. Mozambique

GDP per Capita: $1,372 USD 

Mozambique, located on the southeast coast of Africa, has plenty of arable land and water, and ample energy and mineral resources. Yet, it remains among the top 10 poorest countries in the world, with large sectors of the population continuing to live well below the poverty line. This can be attributed to a  15-year long civil war that ended in 1992.

Mozambique has also suffered severe climate conditions, corruption, and political instability. But things are changing: a recently discovered natural gas offshore field could add an estimated $40 billion to its economy by 2035. In the past 10 years, the country has posted average GDP growth rates of over 5%.

The former Portuguese colony has a GDP per Capita: $1,372 USD, which is great news because it more than doubles the projected figure of $502 USD for the year. There are high hopes of further growing the economy based on the abundant deposits of natural gas which it recently discovered.

Recently, the government approved the USD 20 billion Anadarko liquified natural gas plant, which means that in the coming years, the country should be participating in the energy industry. There will still be the issue of attracting good trade partners, but this is an important first step, which will hopefully bring in the much-needed foreign exchange, and help the government stimulate the economy.

  • 8. Liberia

GDP per Capita: 1,428

Liberia is Africa’s oldest republic, which is located in western Africa, and which has a good part of its coastline directly meeting the Atlantic Ocean, comes in next on the list.

Liberia has also ranked amongst the poorest nations for a very long time.  While the country has enjoyed peace and stability since the ending of the civil war in 2003, its governments have found themselves unable to surmount structural challenges that have held the country down. To add to the difficulties, this country of just 4.7 million was heavily hit by an Ebola epidemic that hit West Africa in 2014. The country has also struggled to recover from the decline in commodity prices.

Liberia looks to be well on the path of growth and stability with its current GDP of 1,428 USD. The country produces, agricultural products, but industry and service delivery account for 13.8% and 52.2% respectively of economic activity.

  •  9. South Sudan 

GDP per Capita: 1,715

South Sudan which is one of the newest countries in Africa, created on July 9, 2011, is located in East-Central Africa. The country’s neighbors include Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. The country gained independence after a long and bloody war with Sudan, as a matter of fact, that was Africa’s longest-running civil war. 

South Sudan’s economy is buoyed by the abundance of oil, as well as agriculture. South Sudan is yet to recover from the neglect, and destruction of infrastructure that happened during the 20 years of fighting in which it lost over 2.5 million people. There is still a lack of trustworthy data, including census figures with which to draw up data, and there is a heavy reliance on estimated figures. It is hoped that as more foreign direct investments come in, there will be greater recovery, and the country will prosper.

  • 10. Sierra Leone

GDP per Capita: 1,765

Sierra Leone, which is located in West Africa, and which shares a similar history and topography with Liberia including access to the Atlantic Ocean, comes concludes this list. The country has as neighbors Guinea and Liberia. The population of the country is over 7 million people, and the land size is about 71,000 kilometers. Sierra Leone was synonymous with blood diamonds in the 1990s and mining is still the base of its economy. The country mines diamonds, titanium, bauxite, and gold. As the viral lockdown has destabilized financial setups all over the world gold prices have largely been driven upwards, and this increased demand will no doubt provide more economic opportunities for the West African country.

  • 11. Madagascar

Madagascar is situated just 400 kilometers off the coast of East Africa. Madagascar is the fourth biggest island in the world. The country is famous for its astonishing wildlife, and flourishing tourism industry. However, this has not been able to lift the country out of poverty. The majority of the country’s population is still dependent upon agriculture for their livelihoods, but this agriculture is mostly small-scale and prone to weather and climate shocks. This can be easily tackled by subsidizing agricultural inputs and growing foreign trade. Food security is hampered by security challenges; Madagascar has experienced bouts of political instability, violent coups, and disputed elections which have all affected growth.

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Conclusion On The Poorest Countries In The World:

As we have established without any doubt, there is a strong correlation between war and poverty. Furthermore, some countries continue to suffer from economic hardships up to 20 years after the end of civil wars. This is because it takes time and effort to grow and develop the institutions that bring wealth to a country and its people.

As you might have noticed from this article, most of the countries on this list are African countries. Africa continues to suffer from security challenges of various shapes and forms which threaten to chain the continent in poverty for a very long time in the future because even after resolving these crises,  the wealth creation process, and empowering the people cannot happen overnight.

Many countries on this list have arable land. This is a good thing because agriculture can boost food security on the planet, and be a strong economic advantage- people will always need food. It is therefore important that agriculture is prioritized over the purchase of armaments, and the subsidization of agricultural inputs should be adopted as a matter of government policy. This will help the farmers to overcome the shocks of the weather by providing their own water for their crops, thereby boosting productivity and ensuring food security. This will also go a long way to provide a steady income for the farmers.

Much more should be done to boost international trade, and trade between bordering countries should be encouraged. This will help reduce the dependency on products coming from faraway countries that are already rich and prosperous.

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Reference: Wikipedia