10 least developed countries in the world

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

While in some countries there are discussions about a scientific expedition to colonize Mars, in others the population living below the poverty line suffers from a lack of food and drinking water. The least economically developed states are located on the African continent. Most often these are countries with authoritarian political regimes, high levels of corruption, frequent local military conflicts and lack of access to the international financial market. The greatest harm, of course, comes from civil wars, which lead to the destruction of industrial enterprises and the loss of investment.

To determine the level of well-being of the population, economists use averaged objective indicators such as GDP, that is, gross domestic product calculated in terms of purchasing power parity per capita. For example, for the USA and some European countries this figure is 50-80 thousand dollars. It is worth noting that only those countries in which economic statistics are calculated were included in the ratings; for some African countries (such as Somalia), the poverty level is simply impossible to calculate due to the lack of information.

Overview of the world's least developed countries

Nomination a place The state GDP (PPP) per person
Least Developed Countries in the World 1 Madagascar 1 350 USD
2 Comoros 1 345 USD
3 Sierra Leone 1 300 USD
4 Mozambique 1 220 USD
5 Malawi 1,100 USD
6 Niger 1,000 USD
7 Democratic Republic of the Congo 900 USD
8 Liberia 880 USD
9 Burundi 800 USD
10 Central African Republic 720 USD

10th place – Madagascar

Rating: 4.1


The island of Madagascar, located in the Indian Ocean, is famous for its paradise nature and the richest animal world. Its unique ecosystem attracts a large number of tourists, who are one of the main sources of filling the state budget, but this is not enough to maintain the economy at least at an acceptable level. After becoming independent in 1960, Madagascar has a history of several riots and coups.

At the moment, the country's political system is stable, although it is notable for its corruption. The inhabitants are mainly engaged in agriculture and fishing. For a long time, the island was an important supplier of natural vanilla and the switch of Coca Cola products to synthetic vanillin hit the economy hard. A significant disadvantage that hinders development is the lack of competent resource management specialists and high inflation.

Material wealth in Madagascar is extremely unevenly distributed: out of 25 million of the population, only 3% can be called financially successful, and more than 70% are below the poverty line, often without basic necessities. The purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP for the inhabitants of Madagascar is $ 1,350 per person.

9th place – Comoros

Rating: 4.2


Archipelago of volcanic origin, which is located in the Mozambique Channel, near the island of Madagascar. The GDP (PPP) for Comoros does not exceed $ 1,345 per capita. This is a fairly young state that has existed since 1975, after the declaration of independence from France. The country has gone through a series of coups d'état and the political situation is still unstable.

The Comoros has a rich and diverse culture but a poor economy. Most of the population is employed in various types of agriculture. The budget is replenished mainly from the export of the ylang-ylang plant, the essential oil of which is used in perfumery and cosmetics, as well as vanilla, bananas and several other plants. However, there are no large deposits of any natural resources, the extraction of which could improve the welfare of the country.

Social inequality and poor tourist attraction are other pressing issues. Comoros, while offering a tropical getaway, does not compete with other island resorts with much more developed infrastructure. A low level of literacy prevails among the local population, making it impossible for the technological development of society.

8th place – Sierra Leone

Rating: 4.3

Sierra Leone

In 1951, Sierra Leone gained independence from Great Britain, and after that the newly formed country experienced 13 coups. Since the early 1990s, a civil war has raged in Sierra Leone for more than a decade, weakening an already very poor economy. Even after the end of hostilities, power in the African state for a long time belonged to the self-proclaimed military leaders. The level of crime, violence and corruption among politicians went off scale, contributing to the aggravation of the situation, and only recently in these areas have some positive shifts been observed.

The country is rich in natural resources, has fertile soil and the ability to use fishing resources, but the underdeveloped infrastructure does not allow full use of these advantages. As a result, almost two-thirds of Sierra Leone's population is forced to live in poverty, and the level of GDP (PPP) per capita barely reaches $ 1,300. The inhabitants of the country are engaged in fishing, diamond mining in mines and agriculture. The shadow economy is flourishing, and annual inflation is over 18%. The average life expectancy in Sierra Leone is only 53 years.

The state is almost entirely dependent on assistance from international organizations, in particular from the International Monetary Fund and foreign investors. Almost 10 percent of GDP comes from abroad.

7th place – Mozambique

Rating: 4.4


Mozambique is rich in significant mineral resources such as coal, oil and gas, but their extraction is poorly established and does not save the dire economic situation. More than 80 percent of the working population is employed in the agricultural sector, but only 12 percent of the fertile soil is cultivated in the country, and yields are very low due to ineffective methods used.

Until 1975, Mozambique was a Portuguese colony. After the proclamation of independence, the country's new Social Democratic leadership carried out an ill-conceived agrarian reform and drove out the Portuguese settlers. Deprived of all qualified specialists and experiencing serious financial problems, the state soon split into warring camps, which led to a civil war that lasted until 1992 and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. After its graduation, Mozambique moved to a multi-party democracy.

Now the population is about 30 million people, of which 70% are below the poverty line. GDP indicator (PPP) per person – $ 1220. In addition, the country has poorly developed medicine, a high level of unemployment and half of the population is illiterate. The average life expectancy of the local population barely exceeds 52 years.

6th place – Malawi

Rating: 4.5


The country is located in the southeastern part of Africa, almost a third of its territory is occupied by the lake of the same name. The republic has been mired in poverty since the 1980s, following a collapse in the prices of tea and tobacco, which make up the bulk of its exports. In addition, in the early 90s, the country was destroyed from within by local conflicts caused by the struggle for power. Now the PPP GDP per capita in Malawi is just over $ 1,100.

The country's economy, with a population of about 18 million inhabitants, is almost entirely based on tobacco growing and agriculture. There are several large enterprises operating in it, but all of them are engaged in the processing of the same agricultural products. Malawi has large deposits of valuable minerals, but the extraction of minerals has not yet been established. Livestock breeding is also severely restricted due to the abundance of tsetse flies, leading to the death of livestock. All this made the republic dependent on humanitarian and financial support from a number of international organizations.

Poverty and poverty are an integral part of the daily life of more than half of Malawi's citizens. This situation in the field of finance has given rise to concomitant problems with health care: there is almost no medicine, according to statistics, there is only one qualified doctor per 17 thousand people. At the same time, up to 13 percent of residents are infected with HIV.

5th place – Niger

Rating: 4.6


From the moment of gaining independence from France in 1960 until 2011, Niger was constantly in a state of political instability. During the entire existence of the state, six ruling regimes have changed in it and several military coups have taken place. The territory is 80% desert area, and almost all the rest is arid land; only small areas located near the river and Lake Chad are suitable for full-fledged agriculture.

The population of the Republic of Niger reaches 22 million people, the total area of ​​the territory exceeds 1.2 million square kilometers. However, at the same time, there are only five large cities in the country, the infrastructure is very poorly developed, and the railway network is completely absent. The economy is centered around agriculture and uranium ore mining, but the crisis of the 1980s severely undermined established uranium exports. Although only 3 percent of people are officially unemployed, the income of residents is so meager that two-thirds of them are deprived of basic necessities. The high birth rate (on average, every woman here gives birth 6-8 times) hardly compensates for the record infant mortality rates. According to a report by the World Health Organization, one in six children in Niger dies from hunger or disease before reaching the age of five.

The level of GDP (PPP) in the country is about a thousand dollars per person. Apparently, the situation is unlikely to improve in the near future, since the lack of even a minimal education (less than 30 percent can read and write) still forces the population of the Republic of Niger to engage in low-paid work in the fields, mines and cement plants.

4th place – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Rating: 4.7

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Zaire, has suffered many conflicts, the most serious of which was the Second Congolese War, which ended only in 2002. Also, the economy was hit hard by the rule of dictator Mobutu, who embezzled $ 5 billion from the state budget. Currently, the PPP GDP per capita is less than $ 900.

The DR Congo authorities are trying to restore the extraction of minerals such as oil, gold, cobalt and much more, but most of this sector is occupied by shadow structures. The mining industry is controlled by foreign companies and organized crime groups, making it impossible to establish large-scale exports.

More than 75 percent of the country's population of about 70 million suffers from food insecurity. In combination with the deplorable state of medicine, this leads to high mortality. Over the past few years, due to hunger, infectious diseases and local military clashes in the DR Congo, 5 million people have died.

3rd place – Liberia

Rating: 4.8


Liberia was founded by freed slaves who came from America, who tried to create a state according to the principle of the United States. However, they failed to build neither democracy, let alone the American economy. Now the country of 4.7 million people is experiencing a deep crisis caused by constant conflict. In 1980, after the overthrow of the president, two civil wars followed, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives and ending only after the intervention of the UN peacekeeping forces. The hostilities destroyed the beginnings of industrial growth in the bud, and since 2005, Liberia has essentially had to start from scratch.

The state possesses valuable natural resources, the extraction of which, however, is poorly conducted due to the lack of developed technologies and infrastructure. Moreover, the lion's share of the national wealth was “privatized” by the ruling class and their relatives. The able-bodied population is employed either in agriculture or in the extraction of nearly depleted iron ore reserves. Another source of government revenue is the granting of the right to fly the Liberian flag to foreign ships for a fee, which allows those to pass port dues at low rates.

The GDP (PPP) level per capita is $ 880, which is not surprising given that 85% of residents do not have a formal job. Even in the country's capital, Monrovia, most residents are forced to huddle in flimsy shacks and survive on less than $ 1.25 a day.

2nd place – Burundi

Rating: 4.9


Like other countries in the ranking, Burundi's poverty is primarily caused by prolonged military conflicts, which began almost immediately after the proclamation of an independent republic in 1962. The bloodiest conflict was the civil war between the Hutu and Tutsis. Even after its end, ethnic clashes still occur.

Burundi has a population of approximately 12 million. Almost 90% of them are employed in the agricultural sector, which, however, does not save them from poverty and chronic malnutrition. Of the products grown, only coffee, tea and cotton are exported. The PPP GDP per capita barely exceeds $ 800. The only thing the country can hope for is help from abroad, but in terms of investment, Burundi's economy is extremely unattractive.

The unfavorable conditions prevailing in the country for a normal life are fertile ground for corruption, rampant criminality and incessant local conflicts. Infrastructure, health care and education are at their lowest levels. The state has a high birth rate and a short life expectancy, averaging 50 years.

1st place – Central African Republic

Rating: 5.0

Central African Republic

Formerly a French colony, the Central African Republic has gained independence since 1960. The colonial system was soon replaced by the regime of the bloody dictator Bokassa, and after his overthrow, there was another series of military coups d'etat, accompanied by the destruction of infrastructure and industry. Much of the power in the country to this day belongs to armed groups, the trade in drugs, weapons and people is flourishing, and clashes over territories and spheres of influence take place everywhere.

The Central African Republic is home to about five million people who have to face daily unemployment, food shortages and lack of clean water. The level of GDP, calculated at purchasing power parity, is here $ 720 per person. The overwhelming majority of the population lives in self-made huts. The country's economy consists primarily of exports of timber and farmed products such as tobacco or coffee. There are natural resources in the CAR, in particular, deposits of diamonds and gold ore, but all the deposits have long been owned by foreign corporations and do not bring income to the local population.

Living in semi-starvation conditions forces the inhabitants to eat whatever they have to: from fried caterpillars to dried monkey meat. Medicine is represented only by small foreign funds that cannot cope with the frequent outbreaks of various epidemics. The average life expectancy in the country is 50 years, the literacy rate of the population is about 12 percent.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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