Countries With The Lowest Income In The World

These following countries have the smallest Gross National Income (GNI) per capita worldwide.

The Gross National Income, or GNI, represents the sum of a nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plus any other net income received from overseas. Therefore, the gross national income measures both the domestic income of a country and the income it receives from abroad.

The GNI per capita measures the average income earned by a person in a given country and is calculated by simply dividing the total GNI of the country by the total size of the population. Generally, GNI per capita is used to compare the state of wealth of a population and the standard of living in a country with those of other nations. GNI per capita is expressed in international dollars, and is based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), how far the money will go in buying commonly purchased goods in relation to that money’s ability to do the same elsewhere on the planet. When determining a country’s development status, GNI becomes an important economic factor. Taking into account all the considerations listed above, it becomes quite easy to understand why the countries with the smallest GNIs per capita tend to be developing countries which struggle with poor Infrastructure in terms of social welfare and economic development alike.

Malawi's Economic Issues

According to World Bank data, the country with the smallest GNI per capita is Malawi, with 250 international dollars of income per person. Although the country enjoys a democratic and stable government, the economy continues to operate within a poor fiscal environment, characterized by the country’s high debt levels. The social environment is characterized by a proliferation of inequality and poverty, with over a half of the population being considered as poor, and one-quarter of it living in extreme poverty. The low agricultural productivity is one of the main obstacles in reducing the poverty, further worsened by increasing erratic weather patterns.

Post-Conflict Poverty in Burundi

Burundi, with a GNI of 270 international dollars, is the country with the second smallest GNI per capita. Even if the country is in the process of transitioning from a post-conflict economy to a stable, peacetime economy, poverty remains at troublingly high levels. The country is focusing on developing its basic social services, modernizing the public finance sector, and upgrading institutions and infrastructure across the board. Though it possesses a modernized industrial establishment, it above all relies on the agricultural sector, energy production, and mining for the majority of its revenues. The growing economy will increasingly offer more employment opportunities, and hopefully improvements in the standard of living will be quick to follow.

Underdeveloped Resources in the Central African Republic

The Central African Republic has the third-smallest GNI per capita value (330 international dollars). While it’s true that the country has recently been devastated by a political crisis, the Central African Republic was among the countries with the highest poverty rates well before the recent tumultuous events. The country possesses abundant natural resources but, unfortunately, they are generally very underdeveloped. Subsistence agriculture represents almost one-third of the gross domestic product. Exports of diamonds and wood, while relatively significant domestically, have clearly not been enough to raise the economy to the level of a major global power.

Liberia's Epidemic

Liberia’s economy was gravely affected by the Ebola crisis that swept Africa for much of the new millennium. Indeed, the outbreak essentially reversed many of the important gains the country has made in the fights against political and economic insecurity and poverty. The quarantines implemented due to the Ebola epidemic affected the production and exports of rubber as workers were restricted in their daily travels, and contamination from African goods became a global concern. The weak business environment constrains the growth of manufacturing industries, and most of the important sectors suffered production disruptions due to the epidemic. The economy of Liberia definitely needs effective implementation of an economic recovery plan

Other Countries With Low per Capita GNIs

Besides these countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Gambia, Madagascar, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Ethiopia are all struggling with extreme poverty as well. Within them, GNI per capita rates vary from 380 to 550 international dollars. This often becomes even more concerning when considering that income disparities often leave the general population in an even poorer state the already bad numbers would suggest. Collectively, these countries need strong economic reforms to begin to fight poverty and increase the welfare of their citizens and secure stronger standings on the global economic scene.

Gross National Income (GNI) per Capita

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RankCountryGNI Per Capita (USD)
3Central African Republic$320
5Congo, Dem. Rep.$380
16Burkina Faso$700
18Sierra Leone$700
25South Sudan$970

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