Burundi ranks as the poorest country in Africa, with a reported per capita GDP of $239. Approximately 70% of Burundi’s population lives in poverty according to the world food program.
The top three poorest countries in Africa are in East Africa, a region which continues to be held back by problems such as institutional weakness, corruption, poor infrastructure, insecurity and a lack of human capital.
The world’s poorest countries are classified as low-income economies in the four-tiered World Bank ranking system. This ranking is based on each country’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, which is a measure of a country’s GDP divided by its population.
**The per capita GDP metric is a global measure for gauging the prosperity of nations and is used by economists, along with GDP, to analyze the prosperity of a country based on its economic growth.
Top 10 Poorest Countries In Africa
This is the ranking of the poorest countries in Africa
1. Burundi (GDP per capita – $239)
Burundi is the poorest country in Africa and in the world, owing in part to its landlocked geography, and an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural, accounting for over 50% of GDP in 2021 and employing more than 60% of the population. Approximately 70% of Burundi’s population lives in poverty according to the world food program.
Food insecurity levels are also alarming in Burundi country with 52 percent of children under 5 stunted and even higher levels of malnutrition among rural communities.
In addition to poverty, Burundi suffers from corruption, weak infrastructure, poor access to health and education services, and hunger.
2. Somalia (GDP per capita – $438.3)
Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa that has an estimated population of around 15 million. The country has been described as Africa’s most culturally homogeneous country.
According to the imf, the country’s GDP per capita as of 2021 is around $438.3. About 43% of the population lives on less than 1 US dollar a day, with around 24% of those found in urban areas and 54% living in rural areas. Somalia is also the Hungriest country in Africa.
Somalia’s poverty rate is currently 73 percent making it the second poorest country in Africa. Its main sources of income comes from foreign aid, remittances, and the informal sector.
3. Mozambique (GDP per capita – $448.5)
Since 2001, Mozambique’s annual average GDP growth has been among the world’s highest. However, the country is still one of the most underdeveloped and poorest country in Africa, ranking low in GDP per capita, human development, measures of inequality and average life expectancy.
4. Madagascar (GDP per capita – $471.5)
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean. The main economic resources of Madagascar are tourism, textiles, agriculture, and mining.
With a GDP estimated at US$13 billion, and a per capita GDP of $471.5, Madagascar is the fourth poorest country in Africa.
Approximately 69 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line threshold of one dollar per day.
The country ranks fourth in the world in terms of chronic malnutrition. Nearly one in two children under the age of five is stunted.
5. Central African Republic (GDP per capita – $492.8)
The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa.
Despite its significant mineral deposits and other resources, such as uranium reserves, crude oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, lumber, and hydropower, as well as significant quantities of arable land, the Central African Republic is among the poorest countries in the Africa, with the 5th lowest GDP per capita in Africa.
As of 2019, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), the country had the second-lowest level of human development (only ahead of Niger), ranking 188 out of 189 countries.
The mineral-rich nation’s poverty is complicated by a near-decade-long civil war which has devastated much of the country.
6. Sierra Leone (GDP per capita – $509.4)
The economy of Sierra Leone is that of a least developed country with a gross domestic product (GDP) of approximately US$4.06 billion in 2020 and a GDP per capita of $509.4 making the country the sixth poorest country in Africa.
Sierra Leone’s economic development has always been hampered by an overdependence on mineral exploitation. Successive governments and the population as a whole have always believed “diamonds and gold” to be sufficient generators of foreign currency earnings and lure for investment.
As a result, large scale agriculture of commodity products, industrial development and sustainable investments have been neglected by governments.
7. Congo, Dem. Rep. (GDP per capita – $544)
Located in Central Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second-largest country in Africa and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of around 108 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is also the most populous Francophone country in the world.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is widely considered one of the world’s richest countries in terms of natural resources; its untapped deposits of raw minerals are estimated to be worth in excess of US$24 trillion.
Despite such vast mineral wealth, the economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has declined drastically since the mid-1980s. Congolese citizens are among the poorest people on Earth. DR Congo consistently has the lowest, or nearly the lowest, nominal GDP per capita in the world. The DRC is also one of the twenty lowest-ranked countries on the Corruption Perception Index.
The nation has also suffered from political instability, a lack of infrastructure, corruption, and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation with little widespread development.
8. Niger GDP (GDP per capita – $567.7)
Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River.
Niger is one of the least developed countries in the world. It consistently ranks near the bottom in the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI) and also one of the poorest countries in Africa.
Niger’s economy is concentrated around subsistence agriculture, with some export agriculture in the more fertile south, and export of raw materials, especially uranium ore. Niger faces serious challenges to development due to its landlocked position, desert terrain, inefficient agriculture, high fertility rates without birth control and resulting overpopulation, the poor educational level and poverty of its people, lack of infrastructure, poor healthcare, and environmental degradation.
9. Eritrea (GDP per capita – $569)
With a GDP estimated at US$2 billion, and a per capita GDP of $569, the North eastern country of Eritrea is the ninth poorest country in Africa.
The main economic resources of Eritrea is agriculture. 70% of the Eritrean workforce is employed in agriculture, accounting for roughly one-third of the economy. Eritrea’s main agricultural products include sorghum, millet, barley, wheat, legumes, vegetables, fruits, sesame, linseed, cattle, sheep, goats, and camels.
10. Liberia (GDP per capita – $632.9)
Despite been the first African republic to proclaim its independence and Africa’s first and oldest modern republic, Liberia is still one of Africa’s poorest countries, with over 70% of the population living on less than US$1.25 a day. As at 2021, the country’s GDP per capita stood at US$632.9, the tenth-lowest in Africa.
The Liberian economy began a steady decline due to economic mismanagement after the 1980 coup. This decline was accelerated by the outbreak of civil war in 1989; GDP was reduced by an estimated 90% between 1989 and 1995, one of the fastest declines in modern history.
Historically the Liberian economy has depended heavily on foreign aid, foreign direct investment and exports of natural resources such as iron ore, rubber, and timber.
|Rank||Country||GDP per capital|
|7.||Congo, Dem. Rep.||$544|
|5.||Central African Republic||$492.8|
Richest Countries in Africa
Seychelles ranks as the richest country in Africa, with a reported per capita GDP of $11,426. With a population of less than 100,000, the country has the tiniest population in Africa.
1. Seychelles (GDP per capita – $12,089)
Seychelles is an island country found in the Indian Ocean. It is actually made up of around 115 small islands. With a population of less than 100,000, it has the tiniest population of any country in Africa. It ranks as the richest country in Africa, with a reported per capita GDP of $12,089.
2. Mauritius (GDP per capita – $8,567)
Mauritius is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off of the southeast coast of the African continent. Throughout its history, the country has been at times a Dutch colony, a French colony, and a British colony. It has been independent since 1968 and has a population of around 1.5 million. It is the second richest country in Africa with a GDP per capita of $8,567.
3. Equitorial Guinea (GDP per capita – $6,696)
Equatorial Guinea is a country located in Central Africa. It is relatively small, covering only around 10,830 square miles. The population measures at around 1,222,245. It is partly this low population that helps the GDP to remain relatively high. It comes in third place with a GDP per capita of $6,696.
4. Gabon (GDP per capita – $6,579)
A Central African country, Gabon is located on the west African coast and is bordered by Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and the Republic of the Congo. Libreville is the capital and biggest city of the country. It ranks fourth on this list with an average GDP per capita of $6,579.
5. Botswana (GDP per capita – $6,116)
Botswana is located in southern Africa. The country is known for its reputation as a stable democracy. It is the 5th richest country in Africa with a GDP per capita of $6,116.