Poorest Countries in the World

Does anyone actually give two hoots about who the poorest people are in the world?  It’s surprising how much we really all care (especially when we are at the top of the list) as to what countries have the highest per capita Gross Domestic Product so that we can blow our trumpets as to just how much we have exploited the others. Oh, well! I guess everyone gets exploited by someone. There’s always someone above you or that takes your place so that they can forcibly earn money from your work or legally extort at gun-point through taxation to fill the coffers not only of the state, but also of some bank account somewhere in a tax haven (that the US government has not decided to close down yet). But, do we care not about the poor people in our own countries (since they have access to certain things that are designed to help them out) but about the poorest countries in the world struck by poverty?

We probably care very little; otherwise they wouldn’t be in that state, would they?


Poverty is lacking in the basic needs of life, lacking in food, shelter, clothing. Here we are talking of absolute poverty, in other words, the fact that entire populations have inadequate resources to maintain a healthy life (in terms of nutrition or calorie intake, or housing). That poverty can be measured against our own wealth in Western countries, but it’s not the relative poverty of people within our own countries that are lacing in the standards that might or might not have been established by the governments in power.

Why are those countries poor and we’re rich by comparison? Do they suffer from absolute poverty and lack of resources or are they just badly managed and exploited by the wrong people or not at all?

It’s not just a case of being in the right place at the right time. Although, that admittedly has something to do with it just a tad. We’re always privileged in circumstances that are part and parcel of our environment. But, not only that. Although, it beggars belief how some of the poorest countries could actually do anything to improve their plight when they have few resources and those that they sometimes do possess are always invariably in the hands of the few dictators that surround themselves with luxurious benefits that have been spoliated from the people. Not much different from many governments in actual fact, just to a varying degree perhaps.

Yesterday we took a look at the richest nations in the world and saw why they were in the ranking they were in, with the majority benefitting from simply exploiting natural resources on their territory. Being in the right place at the right time, yet again. We used the international Dollar (Geary-Khamis Dollar) as a means of comparison and Gross Domestic Product at Purchasing Power Parity (GDDP PPP) per capita. We shall use the same means with the poorest countries, starting with the top 12 poorest countries in the world, working up to number one.

Poverty in the World

Poverty in the World

Poorest Countries

12. Togo

  • GDP PPP of Intl. $1, 096.

11. Afghanistan

  • GDP PPP of Intl. $1, 054.

10. South Sudan

  • GDP PPP of Intl. $1, 006.

9. Madagascar

  • GDP PPP of Intl. $955.

8. Malawi

  • GDP PPP of Intl. $858.

7. Niger

  • GDP PPP of Intl. $815.

6. Central African Republic

  • GDP PPP of Intl. $800.
5. Eritrea
  • GDP PPP of Intl. $777.
  • Eritrea has an inflation rate of 17%.
    The War of Independence has caused many of the economic problems in the country.
  • But, it has large quantities of copper and gold, as well as granite and marble. These resources are largely unexploited today. But nobody wishes to invest there because of the lack of stability of the state for the moment due to the civil war.
  • Its economic situation may be improving however since it has a growth rate of 8.5% (2013).
4. Liberia
  • GDP PPP of Intl. $673.
  • It is civil war that has caused the poverty in this country.
  • After the First Liberian Civil War (1989-1996), investors fled the country and took the capital with them.
  • Iron ore was once half of export earnings for Liberia. But, demand has fallen in the world.
  • It has a foreign debt of $3 billion.
  • But, it has recently discovered crude oil reserves off its coastline.
3. Burundi
  • GDP PPP of Intl. $625.
  • Burundi is an agricultural country where 70% of the workforce lives from this activity.
  • It makes up for 54% of GDP.
  • The civil war has resulted in thousands of people being displaced in the country and having to rely heavily upon food aid from international organizations.
  • Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, but despite possessing petroleum and nickel for example few countries are willing to invest while the international situation is unstable.
  • Inflation stands at 10%.
2.  Zimbabwe
  • GDP PPP of Intl. $559.
  • It has a population of 12.5 million people.
  • It has an unemployment rate of 80%.
  • It participated in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and spent millions.
  • It suffered from 231-million % inflation in 2008 and had to suspend its currency (due to printing money).
  • The confiscation of white farms by Robert Mugabe went to corrupt police officials and government officers (numbering just 1, 000).
  • But, Zimbabwe is raw-material wealthy (platinum, coal, iron and gold).
  • The diamond fields (Marange) are considered the richest in the world (but only the country’s elite take advantage of the resources).
1. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • GDP PPP of Intl. $369.
  • DR Congo has a population of 75 million people.  It is the 4th most populated country in Africa.
  • On-going successive civil wars have divided the country and mean that an average of 45, 000 people are being killed in the country every month. Although relatively few people make any mention of it.
  • Estimates mean that there are between 1 and 5 million people that have died in total.
  • Corruption became institutionalized from the 1960s onwards and is part of everyday government life today.
  • Former President Mobutu Sese Seko embezzled over $5 billion from the state during his thirty-two year rule/reign.
  • The DR Congo is considered by specialists as having the largest number of natural resources than any other country in the world.
  • It has untapped raw-materials that have been valued at $24 trillion.
  • It possesses 30% of all diamond reserves in the world.
  • It has 70% of coltan (columbite-tantalite used in the electronics industry) in the world.
  • 50% of African forests are situated in the DR Congo.


It’s hardly surprising that the majority of the countries that are in the poorest list of nations in the world are war-torn, dictator-run countries that have been exploited by the rest of the world and by catastrophic droughts or famines. Perhaps we should care more about the situation of those countries because in that sort of plight, they are hotbeds for terrorist activity and for further exploitation and indoctrination by fundamentalist extremes of whatever type or nature. But, perhaps we are all indoctrinated to a certain extent, wherever we might be.

Poverty in the USA

Some people believe that there are the poor people that are poor because they sit around loafing all day doing nothing. Yes, there are invariably spongers in society that live off others. It’s the principle of a democracy and the principle of living in a community. Although, why should some pay for the few that don’t want to work? But, what about the ones that cannot or can’t find employment? Shouldn’t they be helped to get them out of the relative poverty in which they eke out their existence? We should be more concerned about what our fellow citizens have to deal with in terms of their poverty levels since statistics show that 58.5% of US citizens will at one time in their life be below the threshold that is calculated by the US Census Bureau. The chances are pretty high. That’s more than one in two of every person around. To boot, being below that poverty threshold will last on average for a year for each of them.

  • The poverty threshold is situated at $11, 344 per year for a single person under the age of 65 years.
  • You are meant to need less money when you get over 65 as the threshold is reduced to just $10, 458.
  • For a family of four, they’d have to live on the official threshold issued by the US government of $23, 050 per year for their total yearly income.
  • In 2010, 15.1% of the US population was deemed to be living in poverty and that was the highest since 1993.
  • But, it increased again and by 2012 it had reached 16% of the population and one fifth of children in the country.
  • The 2012 level of 20% for children in poverty had increased substantially from the 2009 level of 14.3%.
  • Poverty decreased progressively from the 1950s when it stood at 22.4% (or 39.5 million people).
  • It had fallen to the 1973 low of just 11.1% or 22.9 million people.
  • But, from the 1980s it began to increase and today we are back at the levels experienced in the 1960s.

Surprisingly (or not) the 1980s highs in the poverty levels of the USA coincided with the opulence of government spending and liberal economics. Clearly some people were making it rich on the backs of others as money might not have been so much generated as simply displaced from many people to a minority few.

The age of capitalism had come to fruition, the borrowing, the eager frenzied spending and the public deficits, but the number of poor was still increasing, just like it is again today.

Where did all that money go to?

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Professional team of writers/analysts analyzing the financial markets.

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