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10 African countries struggling with Low GDP per Capita

10 African countries struggling with Low GDP per Capita

Among Africa’s 54 countries, many contend with notably low GDP per capita, reflecting pervasive poverty and underdevelopment despite the continent’s abundant natural resources and cultural diversity.

While not the sole measure of a nation’s success, GDP per capita provides crucial insights into its economic well-being.

Low GDP per capita is linked to various challenges, including limited access to basic services and restricted growth opportunities, significantly affecting the lives of residents.

GDP per capita, derived by dividing a country’s GDP by population, provides an approximate measure of individual economic output. This metric allows for a nuanced assessment of economic performance, considering population size.

Read also: Top 10 poorest countries in Africa in 2024 – IMF

Significant GDP per capita disparities exist between nations and within continents like Africa, reflecting diverse economic realities across regions.

As of May 29, according to data from the IMF, here are 10 African countries grappling with low GDP per capita, current prices (U.S. dollars per capita)

Burundi — $230.04

Burundi, with the lowest GDP per capita globally, relies heavily on agriculture, which employs over 90% of the population but contributes less than half of the GDP. Economic development is hampered by political instability, corruption, ethnic conflicts, poor infrastructure, limited education and healthcare access, and recurrent droughts exacerbating poverty and food insecurity.

South Sudan — $421.86

Since its 2011 independence, South Sudan has faced continuous civil conflict, devastating the economy and displacing millions. Despite rich oil reserves, mismanagement and corruption have prevented economic benefits, exacerbating a humanitarian crisis marked by food shortages and inadequate services.

Read also: Top 10 Africa countries poised to drive GDP growth in 2024

Malawi — $480.73

Malawi’s economy relies heavily on agriculture, particularly tobacco exports, making it vulnerable to climatic shocks. High population growth and low industrialization strain resources and hinder economic expansion. Despite recent reforms to improve business conditions, inadequate healthcare, education, and infrastructure continue to impede progress.

Sierra Leone — $526.59

Sierra Leone, emerging from a civil war that ended in 2002 and an Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016, grapples with economic hurdles. Despite heavy reliance on mineral exports like diamonds, corruption, weak governance, high youth unemployment, and inadequate public services hinder widespread economic prosperity.

Read also: 7 African countries’ trade-to-GDP ratio and their population 

Central African Republic (CAR) — $537.6

Despite abundant natural resources like diamonds, gold, and uranium, the Central African Republic remains among the world’s poorest nations due to persistent political instability and violent conflicts. Weak governance, limited infrastructure, and a heavy dependence on subsistence farming characterize its economy, with humanitarian aid playing a vital role in sustaining the population.

Read also: Top ten import-dependent countries by GDP ratio

Madagascar — $538.18

Madagascar’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, including vanilla and coffee production, and tourism. However, political instability, including frequent changes in government, has stymied economic development. Environmental challenges such as cyclones and deforestation also negatively impact agricultural output. High levels of poverty are compounded by inadequate healthcare and education systems.

Sudan — $546.71

Sudan’s economy has been severely impacted by decades of conflict and the secession of South Sudan in 2011, which took with it a significant portion of oil revenues. Economic sanctions and a lack of access to international financial markets have further constrained growth. The country faces high inflation and a heavy debt burden, while essential services remain underfunded and inefficient.

Read also: 25 least lawful nations and their GDP per capita

Mozambique — $659.1

With the country’s abundant natural resources like natural gas, Mozambique remains impoverished due to historical conflicts damaging infrastructure and recent mismanagement hindering economic progress, despite offshore gas discoveries. Furthermore, frequent cyclones and floods disrupt economic activities, worsening the country’s poverty.

Niger — $670.1

Niger, a desert country with an agrarian economy, faces challenges from frequent droughts, rapid population growth, and terrorist threats like Boko Haram. Despite abundant uranium deposits, weak governance and poor infrastructure limit its economic potential, leading to persistent food insecurity and malnutrition.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) — $714.76

DRC with its abundant mineral wealth like cobalt and diamonds, still faces economic challenges due to corruption, political instability, and ongoing conflict, especially in the east. Poor infrastructure and a low human development index exacerbate difficulties in providing basic services like healthcare, education, and clean water.