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Poorest countries in the world 2024 – ranked

People at a market in Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world

African nations continue to 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. Despite plunging into yet another civil war which has left hundreds of thousands of people dead, the latest data from the World Bank shows that Ethiopia currently ranks 26th.

Which is the world’s poorest country?

Burundi, a land-locked and densely populated country in East Africa, is the world’s poorest country. Over 70% of the country’s 12.1 million people live in poverty. Recently, the country has also witnessed deadly attacks from anti-government rebels.

Burundi is followed by the Central African Republic, South Sudan, DR Congo and Mozambique. The richest countries are Luxembourg, Singapore, Ireland, Norway and Qatar.

Rostasedlacek/Shutterstock Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world

Soberingly, 19 of the 20 poorest countries are all located in Africa. The first non-African country on the list is Afghanistan, ranked 10th.

The World Bank ranks 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 26th poorest country

Poorest countries in the world

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