Top 10 Poorest Countries in the World (Updated 2024)

Even with the world’s plethora of wealth, a few countries nevertheless experience terrible poverty. This article lists the world’s poorest nations in terms of GDP per capita as of 2024. Let’s first examine the idea of GDP per capita and how a nation is rated using it before moving on to the list of the world’s top 10 poorest nations.

Top 10 poorest countries in the world
Top 10 poorest countries in the world

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What is GDP?

GDP is the total monetary or market worth of all finished products and services manufactured within the territory of a nation over a given period. As a broad measurement of total domestic production, it serves as an in-depth evaluation of a country’s economic health. It is generally estimated yearly, however it can also be measured quarterly.

Types of GDP

GDP can be expressed in a variety of ways, all providing somewhat different details. Let’s take a brief look at the types of GDP to understand the list of poorest nations in a better way.

Nominal GDP

Nominal GDP is a measure of economic output in a country that includes current costs in its calculation. In other words, it does not account for inflation or the rate of price increases, which might inflate growth figures. All commodities and services included in nominal GDP are evaluated at the price at which they were traded in the given year. 

When calculating nominal GDP, it considers variables including inflation, shifts in prices, fluctuations in interest rates, and shifts in the amount of cash supply.

Formula to Calculate the Nominal GDP

GDP = C + I + G + (X – M)


C is the Total Consumption,
I is the Total Investment,
G is the Total Government Spending
X is the Total Exports and 
M is the Total Imports

Real GDP

Real GDP is an inflation-adjusted metric that examines the rate of all commodities and services produced in a country during a given year. It is stated in base year pricing and known as a fixed cost price. It is also referred to as inflation-corrected GDP or constant price GDP. Real GDP is regarded as a reliable indication of a country’s economic progress since it focuses purely on production and is unaffected by currency movements.

Real GDP is determined using a GDP price deflator, which is the price difference between the current year and base years.

Formula to Calculate Real GDP

Real GDP = Nominal GDP/R


R is the GDP deflator

GDP Per Capita

GDP per capita measures the GDP per individual in a country’s population. It implies that the amount of output or revenue per person in an economy can reflect average productivity or living standards. GDP per capita can be expressed in nominal, real (inflation-adjusted), or purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. At its simplest, GDP per capita illustrates how much economic production value may be assigned to each citizen. This also translates to a measure of overall national wealth, as GDP values for individuals may easily be used to calculate prosperity.

Now that we have understood the basics of the GDP let’s take a look at the top 10 poorest countries in the world as of 2024 from bottom to top.

List of Top 10 Poorest Countries

In this section of the article we will take a brief look at the top 10 poorest countries in the world as of 2024:

10. Madagascar

At this list of poorest countries in the world Madagascar comes at the 10th position. Madagascar, formally the Republic of Madagascar, is an island country that includes Madagascar plus several smaller surrounding islands. It is located on the southeastern coast of the African continent. It is the second-largest island nation and the 44th-largest country in terms of area.

  • GDP: $16.77 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1990
  • Estimated Population: 25.6 million

Following its independence from France in 1960, the country has faced numerous political crises and military coups. The country is rich in natural resources; however, internal political instability, external interferences, and limited harnessing of these resources make Madagascar one of the poorest countries. The country’s economy is highly based on agriculture, which is susceptible to weather-related fluctuations, resulting in a low GDP. Mining and tourism are two other industries, apart from agriculture, that contribute to the GDP of this poor African nation.

Drought and poverty in Madagascar [Top 10 poorest countries in the world]
Drought and poverty in Madagascar [Image source:]

9. Liberia

On this list, Liberia stands at the 9th position. Liberia, formally the Republic of Liberia, is a country located on the west side of the African coast. It shares borders with Sierra Leone in the northwest, Guinea to the north, Ivory Coast to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and southwest. It is the 39th largest country in the African continent and the 102nd largest country in the world by area.

  • GDP: $4.59 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1880
  • Estimated Population: 54,92,486

Liberia, Africa’s oldest republic, was gripped by gruesome civil wars between 1989 and 2003. Liberia’s chronic poverty is the result of violent conflicts such as civil wars and Ebola epidemics, which have left the country with shaky infrastructure and minimal resources. Historically, Liberia’s economy relied significantly on international aid, direct investment, and exports of natural resources including iron ore, rubber, and wood. International organizations such as the World Food Program (WFP) work to reduce poverty and improve the country’s future through sustainable development efforts and investments in education and health care.

8. Chad

Chad is number 8 on the list of the poorest countries in the world. Chad, formally the Republic of Chad, is a sovereign state situated at the junction of northern and central Africa. It is the largest landlocked country in Africa and happens to share its boundaries with Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon to the southwest, Nigeria to the south-west (at Lake Chad), and Niger to the west. It is the 5th largest country on the African continent and the 20th largest country in the world by area.

  • GDP: $13.19 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: 18,633,140
  • Estimated Population: $1860

Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world despite having a $4 billion pipeline connecting its huge oil deposits to coast terminals. The nation is ravaged by conflict, especially with the extremist organization Boko Haram. The country is highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture, making it susceptible to shocks connected to the weather and chronic food poverty. Before the oil industry took off, the labor market accounted for about 80% of export revenue in the cotton-dominated business. Although precise statistics are unavailable, cotton is still a major agricultural export for this country.

Poverty in Chad
Poverty in Chad [Image source:]

7. Niger

Another country on this list of the poorest nations also comes from the African continent. Niger is the 7th poorest country in the world. Niger, formally known as the Republic of the Niger, is the second-largest landlocked nation in the western part of Africa. It is a unitary nation that borders Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin and Burkina Faso to the southwest, Mali to the west, and Algeria to the northwest. It is the 6th largest country on the African continent and the 22nd largest country in the world by area.

  • GDP: $19.54 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1730
  • Estimated Population:27,844,740

In Niger, poverty is manifested by high rates of food insecurity, diseases like endemic malaria, and limited access to basic amenities like water and sanitary facilities. A significant percentage of the Niger population has been impacted by crises related to agriculture in the previous 20 years, endangering millions of individuals with famine and malnutrition. Because of its minimal natural resources, frequent droughts, and mostly agricultural economy, it faces economic difficulties and high rates of poverty. The Sahara Desert constitutes eighty percent of the nation’s land mass, and desertification is a serious threat to the population. Drought cycles, desertification, a 2.9% population growth rate, and a reduction in global demand for uranium have all harmed the economy.

6. Malawi

Malawi takes the 6th position on the list of the world’s poorest nations. Malawi, once known as Nyasaland, is a landlocked country in southeastern Africa. The country shares borders with Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the north and northeast, and Mozambique to the east, south, and southwest. It ranks 36th on the African continent and 112th in the world by area. 

  • GDP: $11.04 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1710
  • Estimated Population:21,390,465

Malawi has had stable governments since its independence from Britain in 1964. Agriculture makes up 35% of GDP, industries contribute 19%, and services make up the remaining 46%. The country is primarily reliant on rain-fed agriculture, rendering it susceptible to changing climates and unpredictable commodity prices. Rural communities experience exceptionally high levels of food scarcity. Malawi is currently experiencing an economic crisis that has resulted in gasoline shortages, an increase in food costs, and a significant devaluation of the currency. However, the government is still committed to encouraging economic diversification, increasing education and healthcare, and eliminating poverty. 

5. Mozambique

Mozambique is the next country on this list of the poorest countries in the world. It acquires the 5th position in this poorest list of nations. Situated in southeast Africa, Mozambique, officially known as the Republic of Mozambique, is bordered on the east by the Indian Ocean, to the north by Tanzania, in the northwest by Malawi and Zambia, to the west by Zimbabwe, and the southwest by Eswatini and South Africa. The Mozambique Channel to the east divides the sovereign country from the Comoros, Mayotte, and Madagascar. It is the 16th largest country on the African continent and the 35th largest country in the world by area. 

  • GDP: $23.96 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1650
  • Estimated Population: 34,497,736

Mozambique, a resource-rich former Portuguese colony with a sparse population, has frequently reported annual GDP growth rates of more than 7% over the previous ten years. However, it experiences poverty as a result of diseases, political unrest, catastrophic events, rapid growth in population, low agricultural production, and wealth disparity. To make matters worse, the gas-rich northern region of the nation has been plagued by violence since 2017, launched by Islamic militant groups. Nevertheless, the IMF says the economy is still in high gear, having grown by 7% in 2023 and is expected to grow by roughly 5% this year and the following. 

4. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the next member of this list of the poorest countries. It is in the 4th position on the list. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a central African country. The country shares borders with the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania (across Lake Tanganyika), Zambia, Angola, the Cabinda exclave of Angola, and the South Atlantic Ocean. It is the 2nd largest country on the African continent and the 11th largest in the world by area.

  • GDP: $15.42 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1570
  • Estimated Population: 104,354,615

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, is Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country and faces significant economic issues regardless of its abundance of natural resources such as cobalt and copper. After gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, the DRC has endured decades of greedy tyranny, political unrest, and incessant warfare, making it a regular member of the list of the world’s poorest countries. The majority of the population survives in poverty, with over 62% of Congolese surviving on a meager $2.15 per day. Malnutrition, a lack of access to education and healthcare, and high reproduction rates aggravate the country’s poverty and development challenges.

However, the World Bank believes that the DRC has the resources and capacity to grow into one of Africa’s richest countries and an engine of development for the African continent as a whole.

3. Central African Republic (CAR)

The Central African Republic acquires the third position on this poorest list of nations. Historically known as Ubangi-Shari, the Central African Republic (CAR) is a landlocked nation on the continent. It shares international borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest, Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, and Cameroon to the west. It is the 20th largest country on the African continent and the 44th largest in the world by area.

  • GDP: $3 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1140
  • Estimated Population:5,849,358

The Central African Republic (CAR), located in the continent of Africa, faces significant economic difficulties as a result of military conflicts, unstable governmental conditions, and poor infrastructure. This nation rich in uranium, oil, diamonds, and gold, is home to an extremely impoverished population and has been in the bottom ten of all countries for the most of decades. Cassava, peanuts, maize, sorghum, millet, sesame, and plantains are among the food crops that are grown and sold as the main products of agriculture. The annual growth rate of real GDP is little more than 3%.

The combination of price hikes for critical items caused by the war in Ukraine, as well as severe floods and drought cycles, has compounded the CAR’s economic problems.

2. Burundi

Burundi comes in second place on this list of poorest nations. Located in the Great Rift Valley, at the intersection of East Africa and the African Great Lakes region, is the landlocked nation known as Burundi, formally known as the Republic of Burundi. The country is surrounded by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Lake Tanganyika runs along its southwestern border. It is the 10th smallest country on the African continent and is ranked 147th in the world by area. 

  • GDP: $3.06 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $936.42
  • Estimated Population: 13,459,236

A small landlocked nation in East Africa, Burundi faces numerous socioeconomic difficulties, such as political unrest, armed conflicts, and a lack of infrastructure development. Burundi, is the second poorest in the world due to a lack of natural resources and the effects of a 12-year civil conflict. Rapid population expansion adds insult to injury to the country’s already dire economic conditions and citizens’ struggles. Considering that almost 80% of the population depends on subsistence farming, food insecurity is extremely severe in comparison to other sub-Saharan African nations. In addition, less than 5% of people have access to power, and there is still a severe lack of access to water and sanitation.

1. South Sudan

South Sudan is the first position holder on this poorest list of countries. Located in eastern Central Africa, South Sudan, officially designated as the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked nation. Ethiopia, Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and the large swamp region of Sudan—formed by the White Nile and referred to locally as the “Mountain Sea” or Bahr al Jabal—form the border for South Sudan. It is the 18th largest country on the African continent and the 42nd largest country in the world by area.

  • GDP: $25.83 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $492.72
  • Estimated Population: 11,205,383

The youngest nation in the world, South Sudan, became independent in 2011, but it remains plagued by a lot of economic problems. With its abundant oil reserves, this landlocked state of around 11 million people is a prime example of the “resource curse,” which holds that wealth fosters inequality, conflict, political and social division, and corruption. Traditional agriculture supports most of the population, although farmers are frequently prevented from planting or harvesting crops by violent incidents and harsh weather. The World Bank anticipated that more than 9 million people would require humanitarian aid in 2023—a half-million increase from the previous year. 

PoverPoverty in South Sudan
Poverty in South Sudan
[Image source:]


As you must have noticed this list of the poorest nations is all occupied by African countries. Africa as a continent has faced a problem for decades due to its harsh weather, political instability, terrorism, military coup, and external influences. This ranking might change in the future as there have been taken various measures to uplift the economy and the life of common citizens of these nations.

Also don’t forget to check the list of

Top 10 Wealthiest Country in the World

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Jyoti Bashyal

Jyoti Bashyal, a graduate of the Central Department of Chemistry, is an avid explorer of the molecular realm. Fueled by her fascination with chemical reactions and natural compounds, she navigates her field's complexities with precision and passion. Outside the lab, Jyoti is dedicated to making science accessible to all. She aspires to deepen audiences' understanding of the wonders of various scientific subjects and their impact on the world by sharing them with a wide range of readers through her writing.

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