Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Top 10 Poorest Countries in the World

African countries have been battered by civil wars, violence, corruption and poverty for the past decades, it's no surprise that most of these countries topped the list of the world's poorest countries according to the survey conducted by IMF (International Monetary Fund).

IMF came up with the list through calculating the country's Gross Domestic Product per capita which estimates how much a person spends on products and services compared to the total population spending. GDP measures the wealth of a nation and determines how progressive the economy of that nation. Consequently, most African countries are rated "poor" by the IMF due to its struggling economy, massive corruption, political conflicts and civil wars.

However, it is important to note that GDP is not the over-all measurement of well-being, happiness, satisfaction, contentment and quality of life of the citizens in a particular country, it only measures the nation's economic status but not its total happiness and quality of life, for instance, people living in countries with the highest GDP's are not the happiest creatures in the world.

Here are the countries recognized by IMF as the poorest in the world

1. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Capital city: Kinshasa
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $328
Population:
Land Area:
Form of government: Semi-presidential Republic
Head of State: President Joseph Kabila
Head of Government: Prime Minister Adolphe Mozito
Official language: French
Currency: Congolese Franc

Known as Zaire until 1997, this country is badly torn apart by war, famine and corruption. After reading the profile of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), you would never dream to visit this place anyway. This is one of the last known countries in the world that has tribes of cannibals, yes, you read it right, some tribes of this country hunt humans for their consumption in order to survive the famine that constantly sweep in the land. It is also believed DRC is a worst place for women especially for "virgins", rapes are recorded annually. Most of its citizens believed that having sex with virgins can cure AIDS.

2. ZIMBABWE
Capital city: Harare
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $395
Population:
Land Area:
Form of government: Semi-presidential republic
Head of State: President Robert Mugabe
Head of Government: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangiri
Official languages: English, Shona, Shendebele
Currency: South African Rand

Formerly known as Rhodesia, Zimbabwe is part of the British Commonwealth of Nations and despite the number of millionaires residing in Zimbabwe, this landlocked country in the Southern part of Africa is considered as one of the poorest nations in the world. According to International Monetary Fund who made a survey of this data, in Zimbabwe you can have a billion dollar bill but only afford to buy a few eggs. At one point during inflation, one Apple costs 1 billion dollars, oh my God! (I wonder why Chelsy Davy appeared so elegant)

3. LIBERIA
Capital city: Monrovia
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $392
Population: 3,786,764
Land Area:111,369 sq.km.
Form of government: Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic
Head of State: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Head of Government: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Official language: English
Currency: Liberian dollar

Probably one of the poorest founding members of the United Nations, Liberia is one of the countries in Africa that had not colonized by Europe. Its founders are slaves who had escaped from America and the beginning of its government is closely resembled the American government. In 1980, after a military coup that threw the Americo-Liberian government, the country's economy had never been the same again and it continued to plummet until this period. It has an unemployment rate of 85% probably one of the highest in the world.

4. BURUNDI
Capital city: Bujumbura
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $410
Population: 10,216,190
Land Area:27,834 sq.km.
Form of government: Republic
Head of State: President Pierre Nkurunziza
Head of Government: President Pierre Nkurunziza 
Official languages: Kirundi, French
Currency: Burundi Franc

Burundi was a former colony of Belgium and has been included in the top five poorest countries in the world due to civil wars, corruption and poor access to education. The worst part is, this country is one of the many places in Africa that have been ravaged by HIV/AIDS. Their economy relies on the export of sugar and coffee.

5. SOMALIA
Capital city: Mogadishu
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $600
Population: 9,925,640
Land Area:637,657 sq.km.
Form of government: Coalition Government
Head of State: President Sharif Sheik Ahmed
Head of Government: Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali
Official languages: Somali, Arabic
Currency: Somali Shilling

Somalia is considered as one of the most violent nations in the world with civil wars constantly hammered many parts of the country, thus, this African country has been characterized as a failed state by political commentators and journalists. Since the civil wars erupted in 1991, Somalia has no central government controlling or leading the country as a whole. It is divided through different regions controlled by different leaders. The transitional federal government only controls the capital and some territories but not the whole nation. Due to its lack of government, Somalia suffered from poverty and low quality of life.

6. ERITREA
Capital city: Asmara
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $669
Population: 5,824,000
Land Area:117,600 sq.km.
Form of government: Single-party provisional Government
Head of State: President Isaias Afewerki
Head of Government: President Isaias Afewerki
Official languages: Tigrinya, Arabic, English
Currency: Nakfa

Eritrea passed through many colonization from powerful European monarchies. In the middle of the 17th century, Italy occupied and colonized Eritrea and was liberated by Britain in 1941 and started governing the territory until 1951. It was annexed by Ethiopia in 1952, ten years later Ethiopia and Eritrea whose population longed for total independence, began a 30-year-war that ended in 1991. Eritrea gained its independence in 1993. Since then, the country's quality of life is generally rated as poor and its human rights record worsened. Freedom of speech and forming an association are limited. Eritrea's economy is largely based on agriculture.

7. NIGER
Capital city: Niamey
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $733
Population: 15,730,754
Land Area:1,267,000 sq.km.
Form of government: Semi-presidential Republic
Head of State: President Mahamadou Issoufou
Head of Government: Prime Minister Brigi Rafini
Official language: French
Currency: CFA Franc

Niger should not be confused with Nigeria, they are different countries. Niger is a country in West Africa and named after the Niger River. Just like Nigeria, Niger is one of the largest countries in Africa in terms of land area. Its economy centers on livestock, food crops and mineral resources like Uranium, its GDP is largely generated through livestock production, Uranium is the country's largest export.

8. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Capital city: Bangui
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $764
Population: 4,422,000
Land Area:622,984 sq.km.
Form of government: Republic
Head of State: President Francois Bozize
Head of Government: Prime Minister Faustin-Archange Toadera
Official languages: French, Sango
Currency: CFA Franc

Just like other African countries, Central African Republic's human rights record is generally poor and in 2006 there were reports of widespread violence in the northern part of the country. CAR's economy is consistently rated poor due to armed conflict and unstable government. Its most important exports are food crops and diamonds.

9. SIERRA LEONE
Capital city: Freetown
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $781
Population: 6,300,000
Land Area:71,740 sq.km.
Form of government: Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic
Head of State: President Ernest Bai Koroma
Head of Government: President Ernest Bai Koroma
Official language: English
Currency: Leone

Sierra Leone's economy relies on mining and diamond is its largest export. Despite being one of the top ten diamond largest producers in the world, Sierra Leone is consistently categorized as one of the poorest nations.

10. TOGO
Capital city: Lome
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $832
Population: 6,619,000
Land Area:56,785 sq.km.
Form of government: Republic
Head of State: President Faure Gnassingbe
Head of Government: President Gilbert Houngbo
Official language: French
Currency: CFA Franc

Togo is a country in West Africa and a former colony of France. Political unrest, battered economy and poor quality of life and education made Togo one of the poorest nations in the world.

Rounding the top 20 poorest countries in the world are: Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Guinea, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, Rwanda, Haiti and Mali.

Ever wondered how IMF viewed the economic status of the Philippines?

Philippines is the 56th poorest country in the world and ranked 11th in Asia just below India. Philippines has a GDP per capita of $3,604 as of 2010 ranking, a good improvement from the 2009 standing which named Philippines as the 53rd poorest country on earth. This record means that the Philippines is the 126th richest nation in the world out of 182 countries surveyed by the International Monetary Fund. Well, not bad.

Top Ten Asia's Poorest Nations

1. Afghanistan - GDP per capita $996
2. Myanmar - GDP per capita $1,224
3. Bangladesh - GDP per capita $1,527
4. Cambodia -GDP per capita $2,084
5. Laos    - GDP per capita $2,401
6. Yemen - GDP per capita $2,590
7. Timor - GDP per capita $2,667
8. Pakistan - GDP per capita $2,713
9. Vietnam - GDP per capita $3,104
10. India - GDP per capita $3,176

Source: International Monetary Fund survey