Poorest Countries in Africa 2022

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Africa is the poorest continent on Earth. Moreover, the competition is not particularly close. Economic insecurity, political instability and corruption, civil wars, and terrorist insurrections have left millions of Africans living in abject poverty. Of the 27 countries worldwide currently ranked by World Bank as Low Income Economies, indicating they are the very poorest countries in the world, 23 are located in Africa. Africa also includes 21 of the world's 55 Lower Middle Income countries.

Two metrics often used to determine the wealth of a country are its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and gross national income (GNI) per capita. GDP per capita measures the total value of all the goods and services produced by a country, then divides by the number of people in that country. GNI per capita is similar, but also includes any income from international sources, such as overseas investments or business dealings. GDP and GNI are typically expressed in either U.S. dollars (US$) or purchasing power parity (PPP) "international dollars" (int.$), a hypothetical currency that makes country-to-country comparisons easier. Both metrics are excellent indicators of how affluent—or in this instance, how destitute—a country is.

The 10 Poorest Countries in Africa (by 2020 GDP per capita, PPP, current int.$):*

  1. Burundi ($771)
  2. Somalia ($875)
  3. Central African Republic ($980)
  4. Democratic Republic of the Congo ($1,131)
  5. Niger ($1,263)
  6. Mozambique ($1,297)
  7. Liberia ($1,428)
  8. Malawi ($1,568)
  9. Madagascar ($1,593)
  10. Chad ($1,603)

*For comparison: United States ($63,544)

The 10 Poorest Countries in Africa (by 2020 GNI per capita, Atlas method, current US$):**

  1. Burundi ($270)
  2. Somalia ($310)
  3. Mozambique ($460)
  4. Madagascar ($480)
  5. Sierra Leone ($490)
  6. Central African Republic ($510)
  7. Liberia ($530)
  8. Niger ($540)
  9. Democratic Republic of the Congo ($550)
  10. Malawi ($580)

**For comparison: United States 2019 ($65,910)

Based on the per capita GDP and GNI values from 2020, Burundi ranks as the poorest country in not only Africa, but also the world. The second-poorest country in Africa, Somalia, holds the same distinction. In fact, this pattern carries through much of the list. With the lone exception of the Asian country Afghanistan, whose GNI per capita of $500 would place it at #6 on the second list, Africa's 10 poorest countries are also statistically the world's 10 poorest. To be fair, this ranking comes with one significant caveat: It is possible that additional non-African countries—particularly North Korea, Syria, and/or Yemen—would appear in the bottom 10 if they openly shared their GDP/GNI data, but they typically decline to do so. That said, African countries would still take up the majority of the list.

It can be difficult to grasp the scale of Africa's economic challenges when viewing the numbers in a vacuum. To add perspective, we can look at the GDP values of the wealthiest countries in the world. According to 2020 data, the country with the highest GDP per capita (PPP int.$) is Luxembourg, with a value of $118,356—which is more than 150 times higher than Burundi's $771. Similarly, Norway's world-leading 2020 GNI per capita (Atlas method, current US$) of $78,250 seems almost modest—until one realizes that it's a full 289 times higher than Burundi's $270. Africa's economic situation may not always be so bleak. A few African countries have seen significant economic growth and development over the past two decades. If this progress can be sustained and expanded, many Africans may realize a more promising economic future. For a full list of Africa's countries and their 2020 GNI per capita (Atlas method, current US$), see the table below.

Here are the 10 poorest countries in Africa:

  1. Burundi ($270)
  2. Somalia ($310)
  3. Mozambique ($460)
  4. Madagascar ($480)
  5. Sierra Leone ($490)
  6. Eritrea ($510)
  7. Central African Republic ($510)
  8. Liberia ($530)
  9. Niger ($540)
  10. DR Congo ($550)

Poorest Countries in Africa 2022

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Poorest Countries in Africa 2022

Country GNI per Capita (Atlas Method, $US) GNI per Capita, PPP ($int'l.) Data Year Area 2022 Population
Burundi$270$780202027,834 km²12,624,840
Somalia$310$8702020637,657 km²16,841,795
Mozambique$460$1,2502020801,590 km²33,089,461
Madagascar$480$1,5402020587,041 km²29,178,077
Sierra Leone$490$1,670202071,740 km²8,306,436
Eritrea$510$1,6102010117,600 km²3,662,244
Central African Republic$510$1,0402020622,984 km²5,016,678
Liberia$530$1,2502020111,369 km²5,305,117
Niger$540$1,21020201,267,000 km²26,083,660
DR Congo$550$1,10020202,344,858 km²95,240,792
Malawi$580$1,5402020118,484 km²20,180,839
Sudan$650$3,97020201,886,068 km²45,992,020
Chad$660$1,58020201,284,000 km²17,413,580
Gambia$750$2,240202010,689 km²2,558,482
Guinea Bissau$760$1,980202036,125 km²2,063,367
Rwanda$780$2,160202026,338 km²13,600,464
Burkina Faso$790$2,1902020272,967 km²22,102,838
Uganda$800$2,2602020241,550 km²48,432,863
Mali$830$2,25020201,240,192 km²21,473,764
Ethiopia$890$2,41020201,104,300 km²120,812,698
Togo$920$2,230202056,785 km²8,680,837
Guinea$1,020$2,5802020245,857 km²13,865,691
Tanzania$1,080$2,7602020945,087 km²63,298,550
South Sudan$1,090$1,0802015619,745 km²11,618,511
Zimbabwe$1,090$2,8502020390,757 km²15,331,428
Lesotho$1,100$2,740202030,355 km²2,175,699
Zambia$1,190$3,3602020752,612 km²19,470,234
Benin$1,280$3,4702020112,622 km²12,784,726
Senegal$1,430$3,4002020196,722 km²17,653,671
Comoros$1,450$3,33020201,862 km²907,419
Cameroon$1,500$3,7202020475,442 km²27,911,548
Mauritania$1,640$5,24020201,030,700 km²4,901,981
Kenya$1,760$4,3702020580,367 km²56,215,221
Republic of the Congo$1,830$3,1102020342,000 km²5,797,805
Nigeria$2,000$5,0002020923,768 km²216,746,934
Sao Tome And Principe$2,070$4,2602020964 km²227,679
Ghana$2,230$5,4702020238,533 km²32,395,450
Angola$2,230$6,02020201,246,700 km²35,027,343
Ivory Coast$2,280$5,3002020322,463 km²27,742,298
Morocco$2,980$7,1902020446,550 km²37,772,756
Egypt$3,000$12,21020201,002,450 km²106,156,692
Tunisia$3,100$9,9902020163,610 km²12,046,656
Djibouti$3,320$5,620202023,200 km²1,016,097
Algeria$3,550$11,01020202,381,741 km²45,350,148
Eswatini$3,580$8,380202017,364 km²1,184,817
Namibia$4,520$9,2202020825,615 km²2,633,874
Libya$4,850$11,25020201,759,540 km²7,040,745
South Africa$5,410$11,87020201,221,037 km²60,756,135
Equatorial Guinea$5,810$13,350202028,051 km²1,496,662
Botswana$6,640$15,5702020582,000 km²2,441,162
Gabon$6,970$14,1302020267,668 km²2,331,533
Mauritius$10,230$22,39020202,040 km²1,274,727
Seychelles$12,720$24,3102020452 km²99,426

Poorest Countries in Africa 2022

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