Extreme poverty, as defined by the United Nations, encompasses severe deprivation of basic human needs, such as access to food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health services, shelter, education, and information.
The poorest people in the world right now include the people from South Sudan, Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Chad, Liberia, Mozambique, Niger, and Malawi. While poverty is often linked to income levels, it can also be the result of limited access to essential services.
Top 10 Poorest People In The World
1. South Sudan
Ranked as the country with the poorest people in the world, South Sudan has been grappling with violence and conflict since its inception in 2011. Despite being blessed with substantial oil reserves, the nation’s history is marred by the “resource curse,” where an abundance of resources fosters divisions, corruption, and warfare.
The majority of the population relies on traditional agriculture, but violence and extreme climate events frequently disrupt farming activities. Although the economy is projected to experience strong growth, high inflation, and acute food insecurity continue to plague the population.
Burundi, a small landlocked country, is scarred by a devastating 12-year civil war, which significantly contributes to its ranking as the second-poorest country in the world. Approximately 80% of its 13 million citizens depend on subsistence agriculture, leading to heightened levels of food insecurity compared to other sub-Saharan African countries. Access to water, sanitation, and electricity is limited, and despite efforts to revive the economy and rebuild diplomatic relationships, growth remains sluggish, with inflation projected to remain high.
3. Central African Republic (CAR)
Blessed with abundant reserves of gold, oil, uranium, and diamonds, the Central African Republic paradoxically houses very poor people, positioning it among the world’s poorest countries for nearly a decade.
The war in Ukraine triggered a sharp rise in essential goods prices, compounded by cycles of severe flooding and dry spells, further exacerbating food insecurity. An estimated 2.7 million people, nearly half of CAR’s population, are currently experiencing acute food insecurity, highlighting the urgent need for assistance.
Somalia, situated in the Horn of Africa, seems perpetually burdened by adversity. In 2020, the country faced the triple challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, and an unprecedented locust infestation. Also, Russia’s blockade of wheat exports from Ukraine contributed to severe malnourishment in Somalia, resulting in a dire humanitarian situation.
Presently, the country contends with the worst drought in four decades while facing attempts by Islamist insurgents to overthrow the central government. Humanitarian agencies caution that about half of the population is in desperate need of assistance.
5. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has endured decades of dictatorship, political instability, and incessant violence, earning it a consistent place among the world’s poorest countries.
Approximately three-quarters of the country’s 97 million inhabitants live on less than two dollars a day. Despite these challenges, the DRC boasts abundant resources, particularly cobalt and copper, which are vital for electric vehicle production. The country has the potential to become one of Africa’s richest nations and a driving force for the entire continent.
Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony, is rich in resources and enjoys a strategic location. Over the past decade, the country has experienced average GDP growth rates exceeding 7%. However, it remains among the ten poorest countries in the world, primarily due to attacks by Islamic insurgent groups in the gas-rich northern region. Despite these challenges, the IMF and the World Bank project positive economic growth in the medium term, signalling hope for the nation’s future.
With 80% of its landlocked territory covered by the vast Sahara Desert, Niger faces the constant threat of desertification, impacting its agricultural output. The nation’s rapidly growing population is heavily dependent on small-scale agriculture, leading to food insecurity, disease, and mortality concerns.
Clashes between the army and the Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate Boko Haram have resulted in the displacement of thousands. Despite these challenges, Niger has shown promise, experiencing an 11% economic expansion in the past year.
One of Africa’s smallest nations, Malawi’s economy heavily relies on rain-fed crops, making it susceptible to weather-related shocks. Rural areas in Malawi experience extreme food insecurity, posing significant challenges to the nation’s development.
Despite its stable governments since gaining independence from Britain in 1964, structural changes have been slow to materialize, and the country’s economic growth dipped in 2022.
Chad, despite being home to Africa’s tenth-largest oil reserves, struggles with widespread poverty due to mismanagement by autocratic rulers. After the death of Idriss Deby in 2021, the country faced political upheaval as a military council took control, suspending the constitution, government, and parliament. Despite its oil wealth, Chad remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
As Africa’s oldest republic, Liberia has a large number of the poorest people in the world. The country is faced with persistent poverty for many years. Although expectations were high when former football star George Weah became president in 2018, the nation encountered challenges, including high inflation, unemployment, and negative economic growth. While GDP eventually recovered, Liberia remains among the world’s poorest countries.
Astonishingly, approximately half of the world’s poorest people are concentrated in just five countries, highlighting the urgency of understanding and addressing the plight of these nations. In the article above, we have explored the poorest people in the world, delving into the unique challenges each country faces in breaking free from the cycle of poverty. Understanding the struggles of the world’s poorest people is crucial in formulating effective strategies to uplift these nations and alleviate the suffering of their populations.
The challenges faced by these countries are multifaceted and complex, necessitating a collaborative global effort to address issues such as conflict, political instability, and environmental concerns. By prioritizing sustainable development and empowering local communities, the international community can contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty and fostering a more equitable world.