In this day and age where technology has modernized every aspect of human existence, it is hard to imagine that there are countries that seem to have never felt the effects of modernity and the benefits of human advancements. Others are plagued with economic turmoil, political unrest, and civil wars, making it hard for their nations to go and rise above and beyond the pangs of the poverty line.
While Third World countries are now making strides in terms of economic growth, there are still others that are not catching up. Internal clashes of its residents, political problems, and geography are just some of the factors why these poor countries have remained poor for so long. Here are the 10 poorest Third World countries with the biggest economies, ranked by their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.
Togo is ranked as one of largest producers and exporters of phosphate, a mineral widely used for agriculture purposes. But even with such status, Togo is still a poor nation. Aside from phosphate mining, the country also produces large chunks of the world’s cocoa, coffee, and cotton. A nation that relies heavily on commercial agriculture, Togo’s GDP per capita is $899. Half of the population is way below the poverty line, living on less than $1.25 per day.
Having a successful animated film series named after the country may have boosted Madagascar’s image as a tourist destination, but this particular island nation lives way below the poverty line. About 69% of its population is just earning $1 a day, barely enough to make ends meet. With an annual GDP of just $934, Madagascar is hardly successful. Tourism and agriculture is Madagascar’s top industries, but the country is still looking for more investors to help alleviate their citizens’ economic plight.
Although considered by many as a dangerous country, Afghanistan is a beautiful nation smacked in the middle of Central Asia. But decades of war, political turmoil, and civil unrest have made Afghanistan non-inviting and non-appealing to foreign investors. 42% of the Afghan people live on less than $1 a day, while unemployment rate is at an abysmal 35%. That said, Afghanistan has never lost a war, which indicates that this is a nation of warriors who are willing to fight to the death rather than surrender. Hopefully such attribute will translate into economic prosperity in the future.
Guinea is rich with minerals and natural resources, ranging from precious diamonds, gold, and other metals. On top of that, the country has the makings of becoming a hub for hydroelectric power. But why is the country among the poorest in the world? Blame it on rulers who governed the country with an autocratic mindset, which contributed to widespread corruption and poorly developed infrastructure. Prior to its independence from French rule, Guinea was a major exporter of bananas, pineapples, coffee, peanuts, and palm oil.
Mozambique relies heavily, almost solely, on small-scale agriculture and tourism, which contributes to the country’s poor economy. Adding to the fact are poorly developed infrastructure, the virtual absence of commercial networks, and lack of commercial investments. In terms of salary, Mozambique workers are paid a minimum of $60 per month. Even with their pristine beaches, Mozambique is struggling to become a hot tourist spot for beach goers.
While Ethiopia prides itself as an agricultural nation, with 85% of its work force working the agriculture sector, the country is consistently plagued with droughts. On top of that, many agricultural companies do not implement effective agricultural practices, which contribute to the country’s poor economic performance. There is also the issue of poor sanitation, which causes serious health problems in the country.
50% of the Mali population live well below the poverty line and are only earning $1.25 a day. This is the reality despite the fact that Mali has natural deposits of gold and uranium and is a major producer of livestock and salt. Mali is also reliant on foreign aid. With most of the country’s geography consisting of desert and semi-desert, investors are naturally awry to make business in Mali. That said, the World Bank has created a program to help Mali’s economy grow, diversify, and become more appealing to foreign investors.
Although commercial farming and fishing are Guinea-Bissau’s bread and butter on paper, many view the illegal narcotics trade as the most lucrative line of work in the country. More than 60% of the population is believed to be involved with the drug business, acting as couriers or as conduits of the illegal merchandise from Latin America to Europe. It is said that the government is aware of these practices but employ little to less opposition to stop the drug trade in the country.
Comoros is experiencing a boom in population, yet with only three islands in its territory and limited natural resources, this country is bound to see its economy drop significantly in the future. Comoros’ political structure is flimsy at best, and it has experienced numerous coups d’etat since gaining independence back in 1975.
While Haiti is a free market economy that basks in the benefits of affordable labor costs and tariff-free access to the US for their exported products, the island nation still suffers economically. Blame it on corruption within the government, limited access to education and career opportunities, and poverty. More than 80% of the Haitian population lives under the poverty line. The January 2010 earthquake, which jolted Haiti with a magnitude of 7.0 and turned Port Au Prince into rubble, dramatically set the country back in many aspects.
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