10 Poorest Countries in Africa Right Now

10 Poorest Countries in Africa Right Now

Are you looking for the list of top 10 poorest countries in Africa right now? Africa is one of the fastest developing climes across the globe with many of its frontline nations projected to become top economies in the world by 2030.

This lends credibility to the term “Africa Rising”, a popular mantra used in the region to promote its rise to relevance from a perceived dungeon amongst other continents in the world.

However, some countries within the African continent still dwell in sheer poverty, are highly indebted and have no hope of paying their debts.


Majority of the poverty of these countries are occasioned by prolonged civil wars, past and present insecurity challenges, corruption, unfriendly business environment, unfriendly business policies, and many other factors.

These countries are ranked based on their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) performance and per capita income.

The GDP per capita is the major index used by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to rank a country’s living standard; how poor or how rich she is.

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If a country’s GDP per capita is very low, it is indicative of the level of poverty prevalent in such a country.

GDP is the total value of all goods and services produced in a country within a given period of time and when this value is divided by the population of that country, it is termed GDP per capita.

Some of these African countries have individuals who live on less than $1 a day.

This makes Africa one of the poorest continents in the world and arguably the least developed.

Here are the top 10 poorest countries in Africa right now

Malawi (GDP Per Capita: $226)

MalawiLocated in the South Eastern part of Africa, this landlocked country can best be described as the poverty capital of the world.

With a population of about 16, 000, 000+ the financial output of this country is too meager compared to its population, making more than half of its populace to subsist beyond the poverty line.

With a per capita income of $226, it is one of the lowest in the world.

Agriculture is the prime source of its pinched GDP rate, accounting for 35% of it.

The IMF has been helping this country stay financially afloat up until 2000 when it retreated due to a sharp decline in the country’s budget which shortened up to 80%.

Life expectancy rate here is so pathetic with many living on less than a $1.

Living can be hellish in this nation bordered by bustling Tanzania and average Mozambique.

Malawi in terms of the land area is one of the smallest in the continent with a sizable portion occupied by the famous Lake Malawi.

South Sudan (GDP Per Capita: $237)

South SudanAfter a series of wars and what would be adjudged the longest civil war in Africa, South Sudan successfully achieved secession from Sudan in Northern Africa to become the world’s youngest nation in 2011.

This country is landlocked and if age and poverty is anything to go by, then South Sudan is a perfect exemplar of how age can affect the wealth of a country or its story could be likened to an independence-gone-wrong.

Whichever is the case, South Sudan is currently the second poorest state on the African continent.

Although a lot of potentials are resident in this infant nation, insecurity is a major bane and economic woes is a thorn in its flesh.

Also to be held accountable for its level of indigence is the conflict that characterized this budding nation in 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his vice of plotting a coup.

This would translate to a bloodbath that drowned over 400, 000 people to death while rendering about 4 million homeless.

Sudan will definitely be found wanting in such a list like this, but the offspring that decided to fend for itself is dying of pauperism.

Burundi (GDP Per Capita: $267)

BurundiAnother landlocked country enclosed in Eastern Africa although partly in Central Africa comes third.

This country after gaining independence from Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom happened to have plunged itself into an abyss of tribal wars and regional clashes leaving poverty, homeless lots, damaged infrastructure and total unrest lying in its wake.

All these instabilities have taken a ripple effect on virtually every sector of the nation of Burundi, its economy receiving the largest dose and thus plaguing over 80% of the country’s population with borderline poverty.

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Diseases are widespread in Burundi even as malnutrition is pervasive.

Quality education is as rare as gold, the same could be said of health, infrastructure, security, and other sectors.

The population of Burundi is at 11,178,921 a major part of this number lives beyond the international poverty benchmark thereby reducing life expectancy rate.

Niger Republic (GDP Per Capita: $395)

Niger Republic

Photo Cedit: iStock

The West African nations in Africa aren’t doing badly in terms of economy and global relevance.

Great nations like Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya are booming with advancement and world-class reformations.

But perhaps Niger is a spoiler country because she’s the poorest on the sub-region and the largest in terms of size.

Geographically, Niger is one of the largest countries in Africa with over 80% of its land area claimed by vast wastelands of the Sahara desert.

The population of Niger stands at 17 million with a major part of that number of the Islamic faith and same major part of that number living indigent lives as peasant farmers and cattle herders.

Niger is also landlocked, named after the River Niger and lies North of Nigeria; one Africa’s most influential state.

As of 2015, Niger Republic was second to the poorest nation in the world.  Civil unrest, communal clashes, hunger, poverty, diseases are pervasive in Niger.

Timely interventions from the International Monetary Fund, United Nations and sister nations have kept his country up and running.

Central African Republic (GDP Per Capita: $418)

Central African RepublicBearing the name of its location on the African continent, this country is also landlocked but affluent in terms of natural endowment and organic splendor.

Crude oil, gold, diamond, and many other natural resources lie in abundance on the Central African Republic (CAR), yet the country is financially unhealthy.

Homeless citizens litter its streets as a result of bloody conflicts that have sacked many out of their homes and enervated the tough living conditions of dwellers in this country.

As if the country isn’t sick enough, corruption is predominant in its corridors of power and the government is quite unstable.

CAR is a volatile country in terms of security, with violence likely to erupt out of the blues at any time.

The population here is about 5 million, luckily it isn’t a staggering population and with bounty natural resources resident in the domains of this country, it is quite startling that it is in the list of poverty ravaged nations on the African continent.

Democratic Republic of Congo (GDP: $462)

Democratic Republic of CongoPopularly referred to as the DRC for short, this country sits in Central Africa and is the continent’s second largest country in Africa after Algeria.

In the global circle, it is the 11th largest in the world.

Abundantly blessed with nature’s fine gifts, the DRC is yet handicapped and challenged by a staggering population of 77 million people, making her the fourth most populous country on the continent.

It is politically unstable, poverty laden and has its government tainted with widespread corruption, a societal disease not alien to nations of the African continent.

Lot of citizens of the DRC are living below the global poverty line, impoverished and sickened by lack of quality health infrastructure amongst other necessities the country is bereft of.

The DRC is the largest single French-speaking nation, with its population density dwarfing that of France.

This country has survived wars which failed to deplete its natural resources or slash its teeming populace but rather took a toll on its economy.

The second Congo war is described as the deadliest conflict in the World after World War II.

The level of poverty here is alarming.

The vast population and low GDP of the DRC is the worst combination any nation can have.

Somalia (GDP Per Capita: $478)

SomaliaLocated at the Horn of Africa, this East African nation is naturally seen as the poorest country in Africa with a lot of its citizens littered across all nations in Africa as destitute and refugees.

It isn’t as poor as seen in the eyes of the rest of the world but it would be a jaw-dropping surprise if it wasn’t listed among the poorest nations in Africa.

Ravaged by a lengthy civil war that has displaced millions and shattered half of its infrastructure, Somalia lies in ruins amidst extreme poverty and a crippled economy.

Somalia is also amongst the poorest nations of the world.

Its economy has been colonized by the army as well as it’s a depot of virgin resources yet to be tapped.

This nation survives by foreign aid, livestock rearing, and telecommunications.

If the army could loosen its grip on the economy and allow capitalists stake in some investments, things might get better, but until then, Somalia is the last place to invest in and a place where half of its 15 million populace are dispersed abroad trying to eke a living from crumbs and aids.

Somalia isn’t landlocked like the rest of its colleague in the list, the matter of fact, it has the longest coastline in Africa.

Liberia (GDP Per Capita: $694)

LiberiaLiberia was one of the former British colonies in West Africa before gaining independence in 1857 becoming the first African nation to break free from colonization.

Liberia also has a sordid tale of civil wars that left over 250, 000 people dead in its wake.

It also has a unique history of presidents.

From having the first female democratically elected head of state in Africa to having an ex-footballer as its incumbent president, Liberia is a nation of possibilities but is yet to reflect that in its economy.

Corruption is like a cankerworm in Liberia which in addition to the economy-crippling civil war culminated in making her a poor nation.

Efforts are however being strengthened to create a resurgence in the once lively Liberian economy.

Liberia has one of the smallest population in Africa.

The Gambia (GDP Per Capita: $709)

The GambiaOne of Africa’s smallest nations in terms of landmass and population is the Gambia.

Lacking abundant mineral resources and relying majorly on its tourism sector to boost its GDP, the Gambia couldn’t pass for a sustainable and resilient economy.

Its tourism sector is, however, one of the best in West Africa with substantial amounts of visitors gracing its numerous tourist attractions and prime luxury destinations.

Asides Tourism, Gambia’s economy is hinged on livestock rearing. It’s the land area is too small to encourage agriculture and that has also limited its quota of natural resources in a tremendous way.

The Gambia hopes on international aid to survive and its little revenue generation from tourism. Luckily, the population here is not so mammoth.

The rise of medium-scale enterprises promises a silver lining for the Gambian ailing economy.

The Gambia isn’t landlocked, its fine sandy beaches and estuaries are a delight for the eyes.

Madagascar (GDP Per Capita: $10, 721)

MadagascarMadagascar is an Island country situated in the Indian Ocean, East of Africa.

It happens to be the fourth largest island in the world.

Inspite of that impressive record in the global arena, Madagascar is one of the least developed nations in Africa and the world, factually corroborated by the United Nations.

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Despite that status as an underdeveloped state, this Island country has managed to leverage its natural resources in the agricultural and mining sector to secure a stable economy for itself.

However, political instability have deterred potential investors into the island which has bounty potentials of becoming a boom town.

The tourism sector here is rich and productive.

This country for the most part, depends on its rich tourism industry to improve its economy.

There are fine beaches, deltas, breathtaking coastlines and the staggering Indian Ocean to behold on the Island of Madagascar.

It is however, one of the poorest nations on the African continent.

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