In general terms, the wealth of a country can be assessed by reviewing their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This metric is best defined as a country’s total market value of goods produced during a specified period of time. But can this be an indicator of the poorest country in the world?

This number is divided by the country’s population to provide the overall Gross Domestic Product. Of course, there are other things that contribute to a country’s wealth, but this has been a universally accepted standard in economics.

Unfortunately, this metric varies greatly from country to country. There is a ton of disparity between rich and poor, and this challenge spans the globe. While there is no clear winner when it comes to the poorest country in the world, here are a few that top the list.

The Poorest Country in the World – 9 Examples

#1. Madagascar

some poor houses in Madagascar

This African island has received some publicity for their unique biosphere and attention to tourism. However, most of the country is drowning in poverty. The country has experienced political turmoil and unrest for many years. These constant challenges have left the country with little economic leadership or direction.

Also, most of the natives are trained in agriculture and make a living through this type of work. Unfortunately, the country is severely affected by climate change, and the weather can be unpredictable. This creates hardship for the locals who rely on agriculture to survive.

#2. Malawi

some people hauling water in Malawi

Malawi is another African state that tops the list when it comes to the poorest country in the world. It has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world with over half the country living below the accepted poverty line. Unfortunately, the country has experienced loss of aid due to corruption within their local government.

Without aid, the country has experienced turmoil and has not had the funding to contribute development. This change has led to even further poverty and destruction. Similar to other African countries, the Malawi people rely heavily on agriculture and farming for survival. Massive flooding in late 2015 devastated the country and their economy, and they’re still working to recoup the losses.

#3. Guinea

a poor family in Guinea

This country has experienced wealth in the past due to their massive local mineral mining. However, recent events have contributed to the slip. The country has not enjoyed economic freedom since the 1990s, and the country’s government has engaged in a series of sociopolitical conflicts which have rapidly delayed the country’s return to independence.

In addition, the country’s laborers rely on outdated equipment and processes for farming which has proved a massive handicap.

#4. Niger

several men with cattle in Niger

Niger is swallowed by the Sahara Desert, with 80 percent of its land mass lying in the stretches of this sandy oasis. Niger has often been touted as the poorest country in the world due to its large population and limited room for expansion and growth.

The country’s rapidly growing population and reliance on small-scale agriculture place it at risk for desertion. In addition, the country has a rough past of slavery, illiteracy, and disease. Mortality rates are extremely high, and while the country anticipates some relief due to ongoing oil projects, it continues to rack up debt to complete these projects.

#5. Liberia

a destroyed school site in Liberia

Liberia earns a look as the poorest country in the world. The African nation experienced a major hit to their economy with the Ebola crisis. Ebola caused many investors to withhold their investments until the disease was better contained.

In addition, the overall economy relies on exports like rubber, iron ore, and palm oil. This means the country is at the mercy of the global commodity markets. Overall, a whopping 85 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line definitely putting it in the running for the poorest country in the world.

#6. Afghanistan

some cute children in Afghanistan

This Middle Eastern country needs no introduction. After almost two decades of war and terror, the country definitely lacks structure and lands recognition on the list as the poorest country in the world. Unemployment in Afghanistan sits around 35 percent, and almost half the population survives on less than one dollar per day. In addition, the country lacks the support of foreign investment due to the constant turmoil and instability.

#7. Ethiopia

some children outdoors in Ethiopia

This African country is extremely underdeveloped and impoverished. Over 55 percent of the country’s population lives in city slums, and the GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world. Ethiopia is another culture where agriculture is the foundation of the country’s economy. Unfortunately, the country regularly experiences drought making progress a challenge.

#8. Burundi

several Burundi children on a field outdoors

This community has experienced the brunt of the infamous Hutu-Tutsi ethnic conflict. The conflict has created chaos and destruction throughout the country, and the European Union has cut funding to this impoverished country because of political corruption.

Also, the crisis has driven a recession and a ban on trade with neighboring countries. This experience has contributed to inflation making it difficult for the locals to find ways to put food on the table. All of these factors have landed Burundi in the mix as one of the poorest country examples in the world.

#9. Haiti

a crowded Haiti street

This country is still recovering from the devastating effects of recent earthquake damage. While the country enjoys the advantages of a free market economy and a good relationship with the United States, there are many factors contributing to the lack of economic growth.

Over 80 percent of the country lives below the poverty line, and seven out of ten people report living on under two dollars per day. Government corruption and lack of educational resources have really hindered the country’s ability to recover.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are many areas of the world that lack the resources and economic conditions to truly thrive and prosper. Each of these countries has been labeled as the poorest country in the world at one point or another. Moreover, all of them still land on the list due to their low gross domestic product rating and high poverty levels. It’s important to acknowledge this disparity and understand the struggles that exist all over the globe.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10