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See ten poorest countries in Africa 2019….Malawi anchors on third slot

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)Africa is one of the richest continents in the world with favorable weather, land-soil, and minerals. However, this is a different story for some of the poorest countries in Africa.

poorest country in Africa 2019


With regard to many years of cruel leadership, political instability, insecurity, disasters, countless embezzlement of public funds, and poor decision making, several countries in Africa have been bedeviled by poor economic standards. Here is a detailed list of the top 10 countries that are in poverty in Africa by GDP per capita.

1. South Sudan

GDP per capita: $237.44

South Sudan is the poorest country in Africa and the youngest nation in the world. Born on July 9, 2011, after the agreement that stopped the conflict with Sudan, the longest civil war in Africa. However, violence has still embraced this land-locked state. The conflict started in 2013 when president Salva Kiir accused his former deputy rebel Riek Machar, of organizing a coup. The clashes led to the killing of an estimated 400,000 people and more than 4 million people were displaced.

The country is a potentially wealthy nation, but with oil contributing a lot towards the country’s exports, the rising insecurity and falling commodity prices have had a massive blow on the country’s economy. In August 2018, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar signed a power-sharing and a ceasefire agreement. Since then, they have worked together in maintaining peace. This could improve the country’s economy in the long run.

2. Burundi

GDP per capita: $292.01

Burundi’s economy is highly dependent on the agriculture sector which contributes 54% of the country’s GDP and 70% of its labor force. Sadly, its economy remains crippled due to the less developed manufacturing sector, inadequate resources, a weak rule of law, and misappropriation of funds. In a bid to overcome future financial issues, Burundi is focusing on self-sufficiency and also seeking external financial aid.

3. Malawi

GDP per capita: $338.48

The third poorest country in Africa is Malawi with a GDP per capita of $338.48. Malawians rely mostly on the agriculture sector which contributes more than 70% of the country’s GDP. In addition, the largest population of Malawians live in rural areas, making agriculture the most sustainable economic activity in the country. Due to several unfavorable factors, life in Malawi is considered to be miserable with the life expectancy of its citizens standing at 50 years.

Although the Malawian government is putting more effort in improving the country’s export revenue, the country is still plagued with several challenges including inadequate education system, poor health care system, the spread of HIV/AIDS, massive deforestation, poor infrastructure, and high corruption rate.

poorest countries in Africa 2019


4. Niger

GDP per capita: $378.06

With a GDP per capita of 378.06, the country has substantial mineral capabilities and a vibrant agriculture sector. The economy is further strengthened by a high volume of domestic production and foreign exports. Despite its high productivity levels, the country hasn’t yet achieved standardized economic growth because most of its exports are channeled towards the less-developed countries in Africa. Flexible privatization policies have been implemented by the Nigerien government to stabilize the economy.

5. The Central African Republic

GDP per capita: $418.41

The Central African Republic is one of the African countries that has been through tough times with years of war. With a GDP per capita of $418.41, the nation’s economy has been weakened by the long period of political instability. The country’s mineral and timber potentials are a perfect opportunity for raising the national revenue, but on a negative note, corruption incidences have devalued them. President Francois Bozize (2008 – 2012) made great strides in restoring the country’s stability, and within his four years rule, he achieved considerable progress. However, in 2013 he was overthrown from power by the Seleka rebel group, putting an end to his achievements.

6. The Democratic Republic of Congo

GDP per capita: $462.78

The country generates the lion share of its revenue from its most active sectors such as agriculture and forestry. Also, its oil sector yields petroleum both for domestic needs and exportation. However, the country is faced with unemployment due to the budget crisis. Though, the country experiences acute economic drawbacks, the incumbent administration is doing its best to implement the use of modern technology to generate electricity from natural gas.

poorest countries in Africa 2019


7. Somalia

GDP per capita: $478.34

The question, “Is Somalia the poorest country?” might have popped up in your mind at some point. Well, it ranks as the seventh poorest in Africa, with a GDP per capita of $478.34. A report issued by the United Nations states that Somalia ranks among the poorest countries in Africa and the world.

The crippled economy in Somalia is as a result of the civil war that has been ravaging the country for years. With an economy that is underdeveloped and under the military’s control, the country has remained one of the poorest countries in Africa. Its best-untapped resources which could have been harnessed in boosting the economy have been botched by the Somalian army. Economically, the country depends on livestock, foreign remittances, and telecommunications. However, these are still not sufficient to strengthen the country’s economic condition.

8. Liberia

GDP per capita$694.32

With a GDP per capita o $694.32, Liberia depends mostly on mineral resources and agriculture. The nation relies heavily on the exportation of minerals including iron ore and rubber to increase the GDP level. Previously the economic standards of Liberia were sustainable, but as a result of civil war, the economy has been crippled with poor infrastructure, political unrest and lack of capital resources. The Liberian government is putting more effort towards implementing modern technology in enhancing the agricultural sector to revive the economy.

9. Gambia

GDP per capita: $709.01

Which country is the poorest in Africa? Gambia is considered the ninth poorest country in Africa with a GDP per capita of $709.01. It is one of the countries in Africa with insufficient mineral resources. It barely generates significant export revenues, making livestock the main source of economic sustenance. The country has insufficient agricultural land hence difficult to increase the volume of production. The country is depending largely on foreign donations. For the economy to be sustainable, the Gambian government advised its citizens to establish small-scale businesses.

10. Madagascar

GDP per capita$10,721.61

Madagascar has over the years taken advantage of its sufficient natural capacities such as agriculture and mining to facilitate its exportations. It has, therefore, maintained income stability. It remains to be one of the poorest African nations as a result of recurring political instability which have discouraged foreign investors. Meanwhile, the country focuses on its tourism sector which is an additional source of revenue generation.

Now you have a complete list of the poorest countries in Africa. As much as the economy might be stagnant at the moment, there is still a bright future for these countries.


Lloyd M’bwana
Lloyd M’bwana
I'm a Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resource (LUANAR)'s Environmental Science graduate (Malawi) and UK's ICM Journalism and Media studies scholar. Also University of Malawi (UNIMA) Library Science Scholar. I have been The Malawi Country Manager and duty editor for the Maravi Post since 2019. My duty editor’s job is to ensure that the news is covered properly, that it is delivered on time, and that it is created to the standards set out in the editorial guidelines of the Maravi Post.


  1. The Cashgate saga and government inaction in dealing with the bad actors meant loss of direct budgetary support from outside – which hampered the health and education sectors.
    Rapid population growth only compounds these problems.
    However progress in addressing and controlling HIV has been good and life expectancy at birth is now > 60 years for both males and females.

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