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When you’re well-off or even have enough to meet your needs and have a little left over at the end of each month, poverty may be something you just think about from time to time and recognize as a problem but perhaps not as big of a problem for so many people as it actually is. Poverty is an issue that is affecting a growing number of countries in the world. There are now more than one billion people living in extreme poverty around the world. Below are the world’s poorest countries according to Global Finance. This is based on their Gross Domestic Product, taking into account the cost of living and inflation rates. By taking a few moments to read about the five poorest countries in the world, you will not only raise your awareness of poverty around the world, but you may also gain a refreshed or even new perspective on your own financial circumstances.
Eritrea, Africa’s youngest independent country, is the fifth poorest country in the world. It is a small, poor country with widespread socio-economic problems. The country’s economy is based on agriculture, yet half of the food that the country needs has to be imported. Many years of drought has caused crops to decline and livestock to die. This in turn has threatened the entire population. Malnutrition levels are high, and there is a lack safe drinking water and little access to health care.
Liberia is the fourth poorest country in the world. It is a low-income, food-deficit country where the majority population is estimated to live on $1 a day. Three quarters of Liberia’s poor population live in rural areas where agriculture is the main means for survival. War, neglect and mismanagement have damaged agricultural production. Small-scale farmers are considered to be the poorest in Liberia.
Burundi is the third poorest country in the world. Decades of violence and difficulties have contributed to widespread poverty and disrupted agriculture. It has been estimated that seven out of ten Burundians now live below the poverty line. Burundi was traditionally self-sufficient in its food production, however the country now relies on food imports and aid. Many lack access to safe water and healthcare.
Zimbabwe is the second poorest country in the world. The number of people affected by HIV/AIDS is one of the highest in the world. Seventy percent of its inhabitants are classed as poor. Food insecurity is an issue for both urban and rural populations. Challenges such as deforestation, land degradation and soil erosion make farming increasingly difficult. Poor mining practices have also led to toxic waste and pollution.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the poorest country in the world. Half of the country’s people are now considered to be below the poverty line, 5.3% of which are affected by HIV/AIDS. This is most prevalent in rural areas where people are isolated than urban areas. The poverty is a result of conflict in Rwanda, and a civil war between Government troops and rebels. There is a high volume of sexual violence against women and children. The United Nations Development Programme has a Poverty Reduction plan in which it intends to bring about improvements in the lives of those effected by poverty.
Can you imagine what life would be like for you if you lived in one of these countries? Spending even just a few moments thinking over that scenario can move you not only to compassion but gratefulness for your own circumstances.
Daniel Massy – Financial enthusiast and all things frugal, David is a part time writer for large financial accountants in Manchester discussing savings and currency issues around the world.
Photo courtesy of: FMSC.org