Poorest countries in the world – ranked

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African nations dominate the ranking of the poorest countries in the world based on the latest data from the World Bank

We all have preconceptions about places. Take Ethiopia for example. As children of the eighties, Kia and I were only too aware of the struggles Ethiopia has faced historically: political unrest, civil war and, of course, famine.

It was easy then to imagine a vast desolate dust bowl ahead of our visit in 2017. 

Ethiopia is perceived by many as a representation of wider Africa: still developing, still struggling. In reality, it is a land of lush mountains, dazzling architecture and jaw-dropping natural wonders.

There is poverty, but there is also hope.

Our visit prompted us to ask if Ethiopia is still ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. Data from the World Bank shows that it ranks at number 23.

Which is the world’s poorest country?

Burundi is the world’s poorest country followed by Central African Republic, DR Congo, South Sudan and Somalia as the poorest. The richest countries are Luxembourg, Singapore, Ireland, Qatar and Switzerland.

Soberingly, 19 of the 20 poorest countries are all located in Africa. The first non-African country on the list is Afghanistan, ranked 15th.

The World Bank is able to rank the poorest countries in the world using GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP).

The actual purchasing power of any currency is the quantity of that currency needed to buy a specified unit of a good or a basket of common goods and services. PPP is determined in each country based on its relative cost of living and inflation rates.

Therefore, using GDP PPP, it is possible to compare disparate regions and rank the poorest countries in the world. International dollars are used as a global currency for comparison.

Lalibela in Ethiopia
Atlas & Boots Ethiopia is the world’s 23rd poorest country

Poorest countries in the world

The World Bank does not have sufficient data for a number of countries including Andorra, Cuba, Liechtenstein, Monaco, North Korea and Syria, but otherwise ranks the poorest countries in the world as below, based on 2020 data unless stated otherwise.

RankCountryInternational $
1Burundi771
2Central African Rep.988
3DR Congo1,142
4South Sudan**1,235
5Somalia1,246
6Niger1,288
7Mozambique1,297
8Liberia1,468
9Madagascar1,544
10Malawi1,592
11Chad1,602
12Eritrea****1,626
13Sierra Leone1,727
14Guinea-Bissau1,949
15Afghanistan2,079
16Rwanda2,214
17Togo2,223
18Burkina Faso2,274
19Gambia, The2,275
20Uganda2,294
21Mali2,348
22Kiribati2,383
23Ethiopia2,423
24Lesotho2,444
25Solomon Islands2,619
26Tanzania2,780
27Guinea2,817
28Vanuatu3,011
29Haiti3,095
30Comoros3,153
31Zambia3,458
32Senegal3,503
33Benin3,505
34Zimbabwe3,537
35Micronesia3,553
36Congo3,622
37Yemen***3,689
38Tajikistan3,858
39Cameroon3,868
40Nepal4,009
41Timor-Leste4,141
42Sudan4,142
43Marshall Islands4,148
44Sao Tome & Principe4,274
45Papua New Guinea4,287
46Cambodia4,421
47Kenya4,578
48Tuvalu4,653
49Pakistan4,813
50Kyrgyzstan4,974
51Myanmar5,124
52Bangladesh5,139
53Nigeria5,186
54Mauritania5,390
55Honduras5,420
56Cote d’Ivoire5,466
57Nicaragua5,570
58West Bank & Gaza5,690
59Ghana5,744
60Djibouti5,782
61Cabo Verde6,377
62Angola6,445
63Belize6,458
64India6,504
65Tonga6,695
66Samoa6,769
67Morocco7,369
68Uzbekistan7,734
69Laos8,239
70Bolivia8,275
71Philippines8,390
72El Salvador8,420
73Vietnam8,650
74Guatemala8,854
75Eswatini8,866
76Jamaica9,242
77Namibia9,298
78Iraq9,507
79Jordan10,355
80Tunisia10,823
81Libya10,846
82Dominica10,853
83Ecuador10,896
84Bhutan11,130
85Kosovo11,294
86Algeria11,324
87Peru11,879
88Indonesia12,073
89Fiji12,079
90Lebanon12,119
91Mongolia12,367
92Egypt12,607
93St. Vincent & Gren.12,705
94St. Lucia12,710
95Moldova13,000
96Ukraine13,055
97Paraguay13,069
98Sri Lanka13,225
99Armenia13,312
100Iran13,338
101Barbados13,350
102South Africa13,361
103Albania13,412
104Maldives13,443
105Nauru14,340
106Azerbaijan14,480
107Georgia14,732
108Brazil14,835
109Colombia14,931
110Gabon15,106
111Grenada15,283
112Botswana15,458
113Bosnia & Herz.15,592
114Turkmenistan*16,196
115Palau16,322
116Suriname16,735
117North Macedonia16,926
118China17,211
119Venezuela****17,528
120Dominican Rep.17,936
121Equatorial Guinea17,941
122Thailand18,233
123Antigua & Barbuda18,242
124Mexico18,444
125East Asia & Pacific18,541
126Serbia19,094
127Guyana19,705
128Montenegro19,990
129Belarus20,239
130Mauritius20,531
131Argentina20,771
132Curacao21,423
133Costa Rica22,132
134Turks & Caicos Islands22,286
135Uruguay22,794
136Bulgaria24,564
137Trinidad & Tobago25,024
138Chile25,110
139St. Kitts & Nevis25,653
140Seychelles25,768
141Kazakhstan26,754
142Panama26,782
143Turkey27,235
144Malaysia27,924
145Greece27,949
146Croatia28,780
147Russia29,812
148Oman31,120
149Slovakia31,356
150Latvia31,483
151Romania32,099
152Bahamas, The32,539
153Hungary33,076
154Portugal34,177
155Poland34,287
156Puerto Rico34,337
157Estonia37,645
158Spain37,756
159Lithuania38,881
160Cyprus39,373
161Israel39,489
162Slovenia39,725
163Czech Rep.41,608
164Italy41,902
165Japan42,390
166Malta42,461
167Bahrain43,756
168New Zealand44,491
169South Korea45,226
170UK46,483
171Canada46,572
172Saudi Arabia46,760
173France46,991
174Kuwait47,307
175Finland50,517
176Belgium53,089
177Australia53,317
178Iceland53,617
179Germany54,845
180Sweden55,038
181Austria55,686
182Hong Kong SAR, China59,234
183Netherlands59,267
184Denmark60,230
185Macao SAR, China60,896
186Norway62,645
187USA63,207
188San Marino*63,420
189Brunei Darussalam65,613
190UAE66,771
191Cayman Islands71,594
192Switzerland71,745
193Bermuda80,830
194Qatar89,969
195Ireland93,350
196Singapore98,520
197Luxembourg117,846

* 2018 data
** 2015 data
*** 2013 data
**** 2011 data

Source: World Development Indicators from the World Bank; GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP); data last updated on 01/06/22.

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Lead image: World Bank

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