June 20, 2024

World Bank data show Burundi has world’s poorest economy and 25 of 28 countries with lowest per-capita GDPs are in Africa although the continent has more natural resources than anywhere else on earth

A Burundi AMISOM soldier on patrol holds a young boy's hand near the town of Mahaday, Somalia, during a patrol in the area on 3 March 2016. AMISOM Photo / Tobin Jones
A Burundi AMISOM soldier on patrol holds a young boy's hand near the town of Mahaday, Somalia, during a patrol in the area on 3 March 2016. AMISOM Photo / Tobin Jones

New data from the World Bank show that the East African nation of Burundi has the lowest per-capita Gross Domestic Product out of every country in the world, and that 25 of the 28 countries with lowest per-capita GDPs are in Africa, although the continent has more natural resources than anywhere else on earth. Africa’s economic contradictions have been blamed on corruption and mismanagement, internal and regional conflicts, western colonialism, centuries of slave trade, natural disasters, climate change and many other ills, but many have pointed out that the inability of African leaders to invest in ‘mind-power’ bears more blame.

Burundi most recently recorded a per-capita GDP of just $239. The seven lowest national per-capita GDPs in 2020 were all African nations. Somalia was second to Burundi with a GDP per capita of $438.3.

In order, the ten poorest rating African nations were Burundi, Somalia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Sudan, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, Liberia, and Malawi.

Of the 28 countries with the lowest per-capita GDPs in the world, 25 of them were African nations. Since 2015, Burundi has averaged an annual Gross Domestic Product change of -0.05 percent, indicating a lack of economic growth.

With a Gross Domestic Product of $3.258 billion, Burundi has the second lowest GDP in the world.

According to the UN World Food Program, 70 percent of Burundi lives in poverty. Burundi is heavily dependent on agriculture and its economy continues to be devastated by the lasting effects of climate conditions, the covid-19 pandemic, human rights abuses, and the disrupted global market.

“A landlocked and densely populated country in East Africa, Burundi is the second country most affected by chronic malnutrition in the world. These alarming levels of hunger are driven by poverty, rapid population growth, climate-related shocks, poor access to clean water, and low access to basic services such as health and education,” says the World Food Program.

Burundi’s 12 year civil war came to an end in 2005. However, the nation has trended deeper into authoritarianism in recent years. Its violent and repressive regime has been criticized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and international leaders for its disregard for human rights.

While the widespread human rights violations and humanitarian crisis in Burundi do not receive substantial coverage and recognition amongst the international community, millions of people across the nation continue to suffer in poverty under the authoritarian regime. 

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