The three poorest countries per capita in South Asia are Afghanistan, Nepal, and Pakistan. Despite his attempts to crack down on the opposition and arising discontent, he died in armed conflict, at the hands of his son. The military dissolved the constitution, government, and parliament, cowing a “free and democratic” election after 18 months of a “transition period”.

President Evariste Ndayishimiye has made an effort to relaunch the economy and repair diplomatic relationships, and last year, both the US and the European Union resumed aid after lifting financial sanctions. Unfortunately, growth remains sluggish, and inflation is projected this year to be around 16%. The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is the second poorest nation in South Asia. Despite bordering big economies like India and China, Nepal’s GDP per capita remains low. The country’s location within the Himalayas complicates infrastructure and economic development.

Beginning in 2011, Yemen has faced a prolonged period of political turmoil triggered by widespread street protests addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, genocide, and corruption. This crisis has further exacerbated Yemen’s already precarious human rights situation and war. It is one of the poorest Asian countries, with GDP per adult coming in at $2,073. To determine the poorest countries in Asia, we analyzed data from Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook 2022.

Recurrent clashes of the army with the Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate Boko Haram have displaced thousands. In 2021, Niger inaugurated a new president—ex-teacher and former interior minister Mohamed Bazoum—in its first democratic transfer of power. Now considered a bright spot on the continent, the country saw its economy expand by 11% last year, making it seventh of the world’s poorest countries.

The small, landlocked country of Burundi, gained independence from Belgium in 1962 but is still ridden with violence. Although the civil war ended over 15 years ago, the world’s poorest country is wrought with endemic corruption and security concerns. Cities lack infrastructure, with very limited access to electricity, sanitation, and clean water. Most residents complete only three years of education, and there are 740 deaths per 100,000 live births. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a GNI PPP of $1,110, making it the fourth-poorest country.

  • The annual Pohela Boishakh celebrations encapsulate the nation’s spirit and unity.
  • The Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific publication presents data regarding the economic, financial, social, and environmental situations in a broad range of countries across the region.
  • Out of the total population of 39,650,145, 16% are unemployed and 23% are below the poverty line.
  • According to UNICEF, the under-five mortality rate is 50.5 per 1,000 live births.
  • Not only are unemployment rates going up, but revenue from oil and gas- which is the country’s main source of income- is also dwindling.

The major natural resources driving the economy include gold, fruits, opium, nuts, and others. In addition, the country has vast mineral deposits (worth at least $1 trillion), which have not been exploited. However, poverty encompasses multiple dimensions, including access to basic needs such as food, clean water, healthcare, education, housing, and social services.

March 2021 global poverty update from the World Bank

People lack services from crowded-out private investment and businesses interrupted by electricity blackouts. Niger is a landlocked country with an 80% desert landscape and rapid population growth contested by small-scale agriculture. Climate change and desertification led to three major agricultural crises within ten years and food insecurity like never before. Niger is an unstable state since independence, with military coups, army clashes, and the Islamic State (ISIS) that displaced thousands. There is also volatility around gold and uranium extraction, along with low commodity prices.

  • By the time troops pushed back the Islamist Al-Shabaab, the nation was knees-deep in poverty.
  • Located in Central Asia, Turkmenistan is the 29th poorest country in Asia and 81st in the world.
  • Access to clean water is also limited, with only 30 percent of residents using piped drinking water services.
  • Improvements in energy efficiency could accelerate progress toward both economic and environmental goals in South Asia.

It is one of the poorest countries in Oceania and one of the least-developed Pacific Island countries. Kiribati became independent from the UK in 1979, and its government functions democratically. Economic activity once revolved around the mining of phosphates, but those deposits have been exhausted. Since its independence in 1960, Madagascar is a scene of political instability with violence, empty promises, contested elections, and corruption. With a population dependent on the tourism industry, many found themselves out of work.

Gross National Income (GNI)

While the poverty rate is around 7 percentage points higher in East than in West Africa at the US$1.90 poverty line, differences become smaller at the higher lines of US$3.20 and US$5.50. The very poorest of the world’s poorest countries, South Sudan has been wracked by violence since its creation in 2011. Rich in oil reserves, the landlocked state of roughly 11 million represents a textbook example of the “resource curse,” whereby abundance fosters political and social divisions, inequality, corruption and warfare. The majority of the population is employed in traditional agriculture, although violence and extreme climate events often prevent farmers from planting or harvesting crops. Since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, the DRC has suffered decades of rapacious dictatorship, political instability and constant violence, making it a regular in our rankings of the world’s poorest countries. Roughly three-quarters of the country’s 97 million population scrapes by on less than two dollars a day.

The Global Energy Transition Offers an Opportunity to Boost Growth in South Asia

From the rice terraces of Bali to the bustling streets of Jakarta, Indonesia’s economy benefits from tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. South Korea, located on the Korean Peninsula, is a blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge innovations. From the serene temples and palaces of Seoul to the bustling tech industries, South Korea is a testament to harmonizing the old with the new. Israel, nestled on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, is a land of historical significance and modern innovation.

And while the agriculture sector is active, they do not export many commodities. The majority of those who live in rural areas are also not trained in land management, meaning that they can’t produce food at full capacity. Not only is the country known for its deep gorges, but it also features extensive mountain ranges that are complimented by thousands of rivers and streams. As of 2023, it has a population of 6.8 million, the majority of which are ethnic Kyrgyz, followed by minorities of Russians and Uzbeks.

Poverty in Asia and the Pacific: 12 Things to Know

It’s worth noting that this ranking only includes independent states with open economies. Territories like Macau and Hong Kong, as well as countries like North Korea, are excluded from this list. BFA agrees, revealing almost half the globe’s renewed poverty population is projected to be concentrated in South Asia. China, the region’s and the world’s most populous nation, is largely responsible for Asia’s overall poverty decline. Located in Central Asia, Turkmenistan is the 29th poorest country in Asia and 81st in the world. It currently has various industries including agricultural production, mining, and manufacturing.

Its strategic location, pro-business policies, and focus on education and innovation have propelled it to the top of Asia’s richest countries. According to a case study by the Singaporean government’s Economic Development Board, the nation’s emphasis on research and development has also made Singapore a hotspot for tech startups and multinational corporations. As a world traveler and journalist, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cultures, and diverse economies of Asia. From the bustling streets of Singapore to the tranquil mountains of Nepal, Asia’s economic landscape is as varied as its topography. In this article, I’ll take you on a journey through the richest and poorest countries in Asia as of 2023, providing insights from my travels and experiences. Chad has Africa’s tenth-largest oil reserves yet poverty remains widespread, making it the ninth poorest country in the world.

Israel, often referred to as the “Start-Up Nation,” has an ecosystem that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. With more start-ups per capita than any other country, Israel’s tech scene is vibrant and dynamic. Its liberal economic policies and strategic location have made it a magnet for businesses and investors from around the world. While Taiwan is a beacon of modernity, it also holds onto its rich cultural heritage. From its bustling night markets to its traditional temples, Taiwan offers a blend of the old and the new.

A former member of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan is an up-and-coming producer of commodities including gold, copper, uranium, petroleum gas, cotton, and grapes. However, due to rampant bureaucratic corruption, the profits from these industries are largely going into the pockets of a small subset of citizens. This corruption, along with the income inequality it engenders, is considered by economists to be a major obstacle in the country’s journey out of poverty. Spanning over 17.2 million square miles (44.58 square kilometers), Asia comprises about 30% of Earth’s total land area and 8.7% of Earth’s total surface area. Asia contains 49 countries—though that number is open to interpretation—as well as a handful of sovereign territories and special administrative regions.

However, Vietnam faces significant challenges in areas such as corruption, censorship, and human rights. It ranks poorly in international assessments of civil liberties, freedom of the press, and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities. The world’s poorest countries exhibit similar challenges at the root of their impoverished states and trends of no foreseeable respite. Many stay locked in poverty with corrupt governments, a lack of essential services, and further hindrance by climate change and tumultuous events worldwide. To advance economically, most require funds and political stability to help modernize and expand relevant industries and trade for social progress and financial stability.

This ranking is based on each country’s gross national income (GNI) per capita, which is a measure of the country’s total income divided by its population. GDP is the sum of the gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes, minus any subsidies, divided by the country’s population. Both GNI and GDP measure the dollar value of all goods and services produced in a given country, but GNI also includes income earned via international sources (such as foreign investments or real estate holdings). Therefore, GNI is considered a slightly more accurate measure of a country’s economic health and, therefore, used to determine the world’s poorest countries in this article. Vietnam, officially known as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is situated in Southeast Asia. Despite being a developing nation with a lower-middle-income economy, Vietnam has experienced rapid economic growth and is considered one of the fastest-growing economies in the 21st century.

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