In 2016, all five of the world’s poorest countries are in Africa. These countries are mostly ruled by authoritarian regimes, and corruption is widespread. These countries are compared by their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, which is one of the primary indicators used to figure out the health of a country’s economy. In this article, GDP is measured in International Dollars.
- Central African Republic (CAR)
This country became independent from France in 1960 and has had a democratically elected president since then. The current president of CAR is Faustin-Archange Touadéra, who has been president since March 30, 2016. The Central African Republic has a GDP per capita of $639.
2. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Although the DRC contains a large amount of natural resources, it is still the second poorest country in the world. Right now the country is experiencing severe political unrest. President Joseph Kabila has been in office since the death of his father in 2001. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s GDP per capita is $753.
Burundi is a small country that has been dealing with civil war, and Hutu-Tutsi ethnic conflict. The president of Burundi is Pierre Nkurunziza who won a third term last year. Burundi’s GDP per capita is $951.
Africa’s oldest republic is focusing their attention on next year’s presidential election, until then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will remain in office. Since their civil war in 2003, the country has had peace and stability. Despite the recent stability, its economy is struggling to find its feet after the ebola crisis. Liberia’s GDP per capita is $934
80% of Niger is covered by the Sahara desert and is a rapidly growing population. The main drivers of their economy are gold and uranium, so the economy is at risk because of price shocks as well as droughts and floods. The president of Niger is Mahamadou Issoufou who has been president since April 2011. Niger’s GDP per capita is $1,069.
It seems that Africa is still struggling with poverty. Two of the countries, Niger, and the Central African Republic have persistent droughts. Reading this does not mean there aren’t any wealthy parts of Africa like Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt. But we need to know what is wrong with Africa as much as we know what is great about the United States. In my next post, I will explain how these countries became the way they are today.