A List of Third World Countries: 10 Poorest Nations With Rising Economies

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.

#10 Togo – GDP per capita: $899


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.

#9 Madagascar – GDP per capita: $934


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.

#8 Afghanistan – GDP per capita: $956


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.

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#7 Guinea – GDP per capita: $1,083


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.

#6 Mozambique – GDP per capita: $1,085


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.

#5 Ethiopia – GDP per capita: $1,093


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.

#4 Mali – GDP per capita: $1,128


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.

#3 Guinea-Bissau – GDP per capita: $1,144


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.

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#2 Comoros – GDP per capita: $ 1,232


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.

#1 Haiti – GDP per capita: $1,235


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.

Category: Financial News


  • C.T says:

    If any of these countries were given 10 thousand dollars to invest, would that be significant enough to escalate and quicken their development? What sort of improvements are achievable?

    • Harlan says:

      No. Sadly, some of these countries would need billions for full revival. It really is saddening watching all these countries fall so far below the poverty line.

      • Oliver says:

        That is a good point however most of these countries were doomed from the start, mostly because of the lack of trade and and transport. Rivers are a very important factor in the development of a nation

  • Gn says:

    that is so sad. I have never realized that we are so wealthy and they are so so poor. :(

  • Laura pappas says:

    We have so much. Can we share with our brothers and sisters of the world? Istead of the next meal out or a brand new car? Sacrifices are difficult, but in our hearts we know it’s the right thing to do. I have decsided to forgo going out to dinner once in the next month. It’s something.

    • Andrew Jennings says:

      If the whole country could get involved, just think.. if every American were to donate even just a dollar or two, hundreds of millions of dollars could be used to assist challenging countries. I feel that this is something my parents would consider a “pipe dream”, but I believe it could become real.

      • Jordan Kennedy says:

        That would be quite an insignificant amount on a national scale. If everyone in the US donated ten dollars that would equate to approx 3 billion. In 2012 the US gave 0.7% of their budget to foreign aid, approx 27 billion.

      • Zuky Casillas says:

        America? South and Central America as well, cause I’d love to be part of “pipe dream”

    • wait what says:

      You almost described communism.

  • Red says:

    It is not enough to give resources. In fact most resources you do give up sadly will go to the corrupt oligarchies of those countries. In some of the countries listed above, it is so bad that the government has a habit of searching peoples houses and stealing the peoples food. Until we see a change in the countries government, we are incredibly unlikely to see a change in wealth. These people always appreciate help, but I am not sure how my “help” is actually going to the people who need it.

    • Mike says:

      One person gets it. It’s not about charity, It’s about the people on top that take everything.

  • Joanne Bailey says:

    I am an American currently living in a third world country. I have been here for a year and I can tell you that there is no welfare or social safety net but people are doing fine without it. They respect the elderly and care for the disabled more than any government benefits program ever could. America has poverty of the heart and soul- these people are better off and happier , more grateful for the free things in life – the things that actually matter. Lack of money is not the only kind of poverty in the world today.

    • Andrew Jennings says:

      That’s great to hear, Joanne. I always had a feeling that third world countries were not as bad as some people want younger individuals to believe. I’d love to spend some time outside of America, so I could know what the real world is like.

      • Jackie says:

        Third world countries really are bad. Just because people are learning to survive doesn’t mean they are doing well. For example, people with disabilities in third world countries are left to beg or live off the kindness of others. People with disabilities in the USA are educated, trained to work, and protected from discrimination (thanks to tax-funded programs like public education and the Rehab Act and ADA).

        In third world countries, high infant mortality rates are an accepted part of life. In first-world countries, that’s unacceptable, and our government health care subsidies help keep mortality rates low.

        Please read more about third world countries than just this one person’s comment. And I hope you do get to live in a third world country someday. They are grateful people, but if they could have government safety nets and public assistance, they would take it.

  • Jorge L Hernandez says:

    It is very interesting that all this countries are very rich in oil, gold and other natural resources, but what is killing them is the Neoliberalism economy and the Globalization used by the first world countries…

  • Joshua says:

    This is super sad. The idea that we take almost everything that we have in America, and spit it all out like it’s trash. In order to help the people in third world countries, we need to start truly appreciating what we have in america and start taking advantage of it. We also need to start sharing and not being stingy.

  • Jane Smith says:

    I truly believe that we take a lot of things for granted from meals to cars heck even music. Our generation is a very ungrateful one at most, if we could just open up our children’s eyes and tell them to wake up and look at what’s happening to the world instead of looking at that recent Instagram post Kim Kardashian made.

  • Joel M says:

    I see a lot of good hearted people in the comments section, but let us all please remember that there is no such thing as third or first world countries, but underdeveloped, developing and developed countries. The creator of this article should probably edit those terms in order for educated people to take the article more seriously. Nevertheless without said terms this article is pretty informative, is good to learn, thanks.

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