Top 10 Countries With The Lowest Minimum Wage (2023)

One of the major determinants of a country’s economy is the minimum wage- the amount of money which it’s poor earn and have to live on. The countries with the lowest minimum wages are essentially poor countries with an abundance of labor which due to a lack of scarcity then becomes quite cheap.

This cheap labor, in combination which a large population and decent infrastructure can be quite attractive to investors; especially those in the manufacturing sector. Therefore, while the reader may generally have a picture of poverty and deprivation ingrained in his mind, the outlook of these countries may not be completely bad.

Nevertheless, for the purpose of stating the facts, these are some of the countries with the lowest minimum wages. This article may also explore the politics behind their economies, and what prospects lay ahead in front of them.

Top 10 Countries With The Lowest Minimum Wage

1. Cuba

Average Wages: USD 50.09

With 50.09 USD as the average monthly earnings, Cuba is not the most attractive place for workers. Cuba is a Spanish Speaking island country located in the confluence of the northern Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean. Cuba is close to Mexico and the USA.

Cuba has a population of about 11 million people occupying a land area of 50,730 km². Cuba has had a long history of political instability; during the 1950s it was held under a Dictatorship, and then the Cuban Revolution dethroned that government; installing Fidel Castro who reigned for 47 years under a communist regime.

Cuba is not open to investments from the West, but adheres strictly to the tenets of communism, and maintains friendly relations with Russia. Some of the biggest products of this country include Tobacco, Raw Sugar, and Hard Liquor. One of the biggest industries in the country is the tourism industry; people from all over the world go to Cuba to enjoy the beaches and hotels.

2. Congo

Average Wages: USD 87.51

The Democratic Republic of Congo, which was formerly known as Zaire, is a country in Central Africa. With an average monthly salary of just 87.51 USD, this is one of the countries with the lowest wages in the world. Congo has a population of 108 million people, making it the most populous Francophone country in the world.

However, Congo has suffered from bad leadership for much of its history. Mobutu Sese Seko took over power in a military coup in 1965, and reigned till 1997. Even after he was succeeded as President, human rights abuses continued unabated, and till date, the country is still not very attractive to investors, which is why the minimum wage is so low.

3. Tajikistan

Average Wages: USD 140.57

Tajikistan is a country in Central Asia. Some of its neighbors include Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Pakistan. Tajikistan has a population of 9,749,625 people, living in a land area of 143,100 km2.

Tajikistan has suffered under the heels of despotic governments for a long time; the country has been led by President Emomali Rahmon since 1994, and his government does not care about human rights.

This political situation does not make the country attractive to investors who can create jobs and make the job market competitive; therefore driving up the minimum wage.

4. Suriname

Average Wages: USD 146.93

Suriname is a country in South America, right on the Atlantic coast. Some of its neighbors include French Guiana, Guyana, and Brazil. Suriname is quite a small country; its population stands at 612,985, while its land area is 165,000 square kilometers. Most of the people of Suriname are descendants of slaves brought in from Africa by the Dutch Empire.

Suriname was once part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but since independence has seen several coups and counter coups, and has not been very politically stable.

The country has many natural resources, and agriculture is also a very important in the country.

5. Senegal

Average Wages: USD 162.29

Senegal has an average salary of 162.29 USD, which is low even by African standards. This is a country in West Africa, with a population of 17 million people. Some of its neighbors include Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, and Gambia. Senegal also shares a maritime border with Cape Verde.

Senegal’s economy is mostly driven by mining, construction, tourism, fishing and agriculture. However, the country has to do more to attract more investors, and to provide more quality jobs for the people so as to boost the minimum wage, and quality of life of the people.

6. Ethiopia

Average Wages: USD 175.16

Ethiopia is a country in the Horn of Africa. This is one of the oldest inhabited parts of Africa and the world; it has history dating back thousands of years. Ethiopia has a population of 113.5 million inhabitants, making it the second most populated country in Africa. Ethiopia has a land area of 1,100,000 square kilometers, and some of its neighbors include Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya, and Somalia.

Ethiopia has poor wages because of the state of its economy; and the economy has been severely affected by political instability. The Emperor was deposed by Soviet backed rebels back in the 1970s, and since then the country has struggled with ethnic problems.

These ethnic problems have made economic development difficult especially because investors are not keen to put their money in countries with no respect for human rights.

7. Sri Lanka

Average Wages: USD 193.16

Sri Lanka is a country in East Asia. It is an island country, and some of its neighbors include India and Myanmar. Sri Lanka has a population of around 22 million people, and a land area of 65,610 km2. The country’s recent history has been scarred by a long civil war, lasting 27 years.

Sri Lanka is a developing country; manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and fishing are some of its important industries. All the pointers are positive so far, and Sri Lanka will soon become a developed economy. Foreign investments in the above mentioned sectors continue to boost the county’s economy.

8. Indonesia

Average Wages: USD 219.90

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia. The country is an island country, or rather a group of islands living together as one country. Indonesia has a population of about 275 million people, and they live together in a land area of 1,904,569 square kilometers.

Indonesia has a newly developed economy; both government and the private sector play important roles in the country, and some of the important industries include agriculture, food processing and packaging, commerce, tourism and so on. Palm oil is the country’s biggest agricultural output.

Even though the Indonesia is one of the countries with the lowest minimum wage in the world, it is not exactly a poor country; the people enjoy government subsidies, and the government takes care of many aspects of their lives.

9. India

Average Wages: USD 236.62

India is one of the largest countries in the world; one of the only two with a population of more than 1 billion people. India is located in South Asia, particularly in the Indian Ocean. It has neighbors such as Pakistan, China, Nepal, and Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

India has many billionaires, and the economy is quite large. However, the sheer number of people in the country make it difficult for the economy to adequately support them all.

10. Thailand

Average Wages: USD 236.65

Thailand is a Kingdom in Southeast Asia, which is located at the centre of the Indochinese Peninsula. They have a population of 70 million people, and a land area of 513,120 square kilometers. Some of the neighbors include Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Gulf and Malaysia.

Thailand’s has something of a caste system in which a select few have industries, hotels, and agriculture. However, there are so many people living in poverty, and many of them have no jobs at all, or make do with whatever job they can find.


The countries with the lowest minimum wage mostly have societies that have been marred by political problems, which have hindered economic growth. With a lack of economic developments, the job market is often not competitive, which is why they earn low wages.