GDP per capita is a useful indicator of the living standards of a given country as it reflects the average wealth per person. Therefore, it is a standard method used to compare and rank countries by their wealth. Countries with stable economies and well-developed technologies often boast of a higher GDP per capita than the less developed countries. Most of the poorest countries in the world are in places where issues such as political turmoil, corruption, and inadequate infrastructure have discouraged foreign investments. Middle Eastern and Sub-Saharan African countries dominate the list of the poorest countries in the world. Despite their abundant natural resources, these counties are unable to sustain development programs.

The Central African Republic

The Central African Republic has been plagued by humanitarian crisis, making it the poorest and the least developed county in the world. With a population of approximately 5 million people, at least half of the population is in serious need of humanitarian help. Much of the natural resources in CAR have not been exploited, with only subsistence farming contributing to about 30% of the GDP. The country’s per capita income is $681.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is another country with abundant natural resources. Ironically, it is the second-poorest country in the world, recording a GDP per capita of $785 and an external debt stock of 22%. The country has undergone a period of political instability. The political unrest has scared away investors and derailed economic growth. DRC also faces sanctions from international communities due to the rampant human rights violation. The economy of the DRC has remained vulnerable due to unstable oil prices.


Burundi has been rocked with political unrest in recent years. The political instability has resulted from mainly poor governance and a military coup. Corruption and misuse of resources have also contributed to the country’s poor economy. With a population of over 10 million people, about 80% of the population lives on a dollar a day. Its per capita income stands at $808.


Although Liberia is recovering from years of political turmoil following successful leadership transitions, this food-deficient country still ranks high in poverty levels. Additionally, the country has been marred by corruption and wasteful spending, something that the current administration is trying to address. The majority of the population (80%) earn less than $1 per day. The GDP per capita is $867, although 59% of the population is employed.


Niger has a population of approximately 16 million people of which 76% is living below the $1 per day. The level of poverty in the country can be attributed to political instability with the ruling party interfering with the activities of the opposition. Repeated attacks, especially in the south by the Boko Haram, has led to slow economic growth in the region. The fiscal imbalance has also contributed to economic disruptions leading to a high rate of poverty. The current GDP per capita stands at $1,153.

The Poorest Countries in the World
RankCountryPer Capita Income
1 Central African Republic681
2 Congo, Dem. Rep.785
3 Burundi808
4 Liberia867
5 Niger1,153
6 Malawi1,172
7 Mozambique1,266
8 Eritrea1,434
9 South Sudan1,503
10 Madagascar1,554