poorest countries in Africa
In the past, Zimbabwe was known in Africa for its extensive wheat and cotton crops. However, since the early 2000s, Zimbabwe’s economy has shrunk considerably. Zimbabwe has a population of 14.86 million people, GDP of $22.3 billion, and GDP per capita of $1,423.
Zimbabwe’s local currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, has reached a status of hyperinflation in the past decade, to a point where 100 billion Zimbabwean dollars was equivalent to one US dollar. After many attempts to restore the currency, in 2009 it was decided to abandon it. Since then, Zimbabwe has been using foreign currencies such as the US dollar and its economy has begun a reform process.
The government continues to put together a reform plan, but there is no assurance that it will work. It could take years to see any noticeable improvement in the country going forward.
Uganda is of the poorest nations in the world. The country’s total GDP accounting for $33.57 billion, along with a $828.06 GDP per capita is tough to overcome for the 45.74 million living there. Uganda is one of the largest countries in Africa in terms of population, but they have a hard time getting out of severe poverty. However, the country has witnessed a recent change in the economy, thanks in large part to the protection of the natural resources of the country.
In 1992, 56% of the country’s population was under the poverty line of $1.25 a day. In recent years that number has been reduced to around 25%. Government officials are still hopeful that in the coming years they will reach their goal of reducing the number of poor in its population to 10%.
There was a big push in the 1980s to make Uganda economically liberalized, but that has diminished over the years. They continue to look for answers that will help get so many out of a life of poverty. As during 2019 The Ugandan economy reported a strong growth, estimated at 6.3%. Largely driven by the expansion of services sectors, and industrial sectors (mostly construction and mining).
The Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo has a mixture of economic sectors such as mining, fishing, forestry, agriculture, and copper and cobalt. While the country’s total GDP of $48.46 billion may seem high in comparison to other African countries, but that is mostly do to it’s large population.
With 89.56 million people living in the country, it bring the GDP per capita figure to an astounding low of $495.08. This places the country in the top ten poorest countries in Africa by that metric. Nonetheless, this country is a perfect example of a mixed economy that is trying to build towards the future.
According to the African Development Bank Group, growth dropped from 5.8% in 2018 to 4.3% in 2019, due to a slowdown in extractives, the economy’s main driver despite a fall in the price of some raw materials (copper and cobalt). Agriculture has suffered from low productivity while energy shortages have hindered industrialization efforts. Growth has been driven by domestic demand, particularly private investment and public consumption, contributing even more to the social-economics gaps in the country.
South Sudan is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with an economy that is weak and underdeveloped. South Sudan has a population of 11.2 million, with only about 24% of the population being literate. This makes it hard for the country to turn things around quickly.
Its GDP stands at $3.15 billion and GDP per capita is $235.52. Conditions in South Sudan are known to be very problematic. In most of the populated areas, there is no electricity and access to water suitable for drinking.
Niger is among the poorest countries in Africa, with a population of 24.2 million, GDP of $9.72 billion and a per capita GDP of $487.68. This puts them amongst the poorest countries in the world. Niger’s economy is based on agriculture (mainly subsistence agriculture), which provides jobs for most of its citizens, and its large uranium deposits, which is actually one of the largest in the world.
Despite the efforts, Niger economy struggles to make huge strides. It is negatively affected by drought cycles, rapid population growth, and the decline in uranium prices over the years.
Until entrepreneurial dynamism improves, the landlocked country will struggle to really see any huge improvements. There are some growth opportunities with the mineral exports, but the country is still figuring out how to fully capitalize.