List of Poorest Countries in Africa in 2024, South Sudan Tops

List of Poorest Countries in Africa in 2024, South Sudan Tops

  • The World Bank noted over 198 million could have fallen into poverty between the period when COVID-19 started and the end of 2022
  • South Sudan in East Africa is the poorest country worldwide, with a GDP-PPP per capita of $455 (R8,294)
  • Burundi is another East African nation that is ranked among the poorest globally, with an estimated GDP-PPP per capita of R16,794. Civil wars have hit Africa's poorest countries

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Africa's poorest countries have been hit by civil wars, and their situations were worsened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The poor countries in Africa.
List revealing the poorest countries in Africa. Image: Richard Drury
Source: Getty Images

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita is used as the standard for measuring poverty, but purchasing power parity (PPP), accounting for variations in living expenses and inflation rates, is more accurately used to determine a person's purchasing power in any given country.

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The percentage of people living in extreme poverty worldwide, or less than $1.90 (R34) per day, had dropped from more than 35% in 1990 to less than 10% before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Bank estimated that an additional 198 million people were likely to have fallen into the extremely poor category between the onset of the pandemic and the end of 2022.

Which are the poorest African countries?

1. South Sudan

According to Global Finance, South Sudan is the poorest country in Africa and the world. Its GDP-PPP per capita stands at $455 (R8,307)

Despite abundant oil reserves, the country that gained independence from Sudan in 2011 has faced violence and stifling growth.

An estimated 60% of South Sudan's population (over 9 million people) need humanitarian assistance.

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2. Burundi

Burundi is another East African nation that is ranked among the poorest globally.

As of May 6, its GDP-PPP per capita stood at $916 (R16,721)

Over 80% of the landlocked country's population relies on subsistence agriculture, but food insecurity is twice as high as the average for Sub-Saharan African countries.

3. Central African Republic

The Central African Republic has a highly impoverished population despite being rich in minerals such as gold, oil, uranium, and diamonds.

It has remained among the world's poorest nations for the last 10 years, with large sections of the country being controlled by anti-government militias.

The nation's GDP-PPP per capita is estimated at $1,123 (R20,500).

4. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The DRC is another East African country with large resources and minerals but is ranked among the poorest countries globally.

An estimated 65% of DRC's population lives on less than R39 daily, and its GDP-PPP per capita is $1,552 (R28,331)

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According to the World Bank, the DRC could be among the wealthiest countries in Africa and drive the continent's economic growth.

5. Mozambique

The former Portuguese colony, with a GDP-PPP per capita of $1,649 (R30,108), is strategically positioned along the southeast African coast and is rich in resources.

During the decade, it has consistently reported average GDP growth rates above 7%.

However, it remains one of the world's poorest nations, with harsh weather and unstable political systems among the main challenges.

6. Niger

Since the Sahara Desert covers 80% of its territory, the landlocked West African country faces a threat of desertification

Its population is increasing quickly and depends on small-scale agriculture. Disease and death rates are high, as is food insecurity.

Niger's GDP-PPP per capita is $1,675 (R30,582).

7. Malawi

Malawi's economy is still susceptible to weather-related shocks due to its reliance on rain-fed agriculture.

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The rate of food insecurity in Malawi's rural areas is high. The country's GDP-PPP per capita is $1,712 (R31,253).

8. Liberia

The oldest African country has been one of the world's poorest nations for a long time.

When George Weah, a former football player, was elected president in 2018, expectations were high.

However, his years in power were marked by high unemployment, inflation, and slow economic growth. Former vice president Joseph Boakai beat him in the 2023 General Election.

9. Madagascar

Madagascar has faced political instability since it gained independence from France in 1960.

The country's poverty rate stands at 75%, making it one of the world's poorest nations.

Its GDP-PPP per capita is estimated at $1,979 (R36,128)

African countries with highest electricity connection

Meanwhile, Briefly News shared that Africa still has a low electrification rate of 45%, according to the International Energy Agency, whereas Asian nations have a higher rate of 94%. Cape Verde has Africa's highest household electricity prices, followed by Rwanda, Mali, Burkina Faso and Gabon.

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Mining safety officer's salary per month in South Africa (2024)

Mauritius and North African countries have the highest electricity connection rates in Africa, with 100% power supply.


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Rebone Lesejane (Editor) Rebone has experience in news bulletin reading, writing, content writing and editing. She did news bulletin reading and writing during her volunteering days at Pukfm and worked as a journalist intern and then as a freelance journalist for Newskoop. She wrote and edited entertainment, arts, culture and leisure content for What’s On In Joburg. Rebone passed the Google News Initiative training. You can contact her at

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