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25 Most Underdeveloped Countries in the World

This article shows the list of 25 most underdeveloped countries in the world. These countries compared with how other countries are performing in their finance, economy, or civilization, you can tell that they are way behind.

The world has seen significant advancements in the last several decades, which have led to an overall improvement in infrastructure. Innovation and technological breakthroughs are at the forefront of this success, leading to greater efficiency and more value for money. While Western Europe and North America have been home to developed economies for quite some time now, great strides have been made in major countries in Asia, including China, Indonesia and Vietnam. The aforementioned technological breakthroughs and development led to higher economic growth in most countries globally from the 1990s to 2019, which helped alleviate poverty significantly. However, the pandemic did have a devastating impact, pushing more than 70 million people into extreme poverty in 2020, and hence, resulting in lower standards of living.

Most of the nations in the world are developing economies where there is vast inequality in distribution of wealth and resources. This is also generally true for developed countries, including the United States.

Read also: Top 25 Technologically Advanced Countries in the World

Income inequality is one of the reasons why the least developed countries in the world are in such a dire situation. One of the reasons behind this inequality is of course, the lack of laws and regulations designed to ensure a more fair distribution of resources, not to mention corruption, which again, is more easily facilitated due to a lack of enforcement of regulations. Some of the major challenges faced by these countries include soaring debt, which has become even more of an issue in the past year as soaring inflation and the Fed response have seen the US Dollar skyrocket against other currencies. Most developing countries generally owe their debt in USD, and having seen their currency depreciate against USD, the debt can spiral out of control, as seen in the case of Sri Lanka, which defaulted on its external debt with its foreign reserves being drained. The crisis in the country continues.

The least developed countries in the world are also marginalized in global trade, with a miniscule share of global exports leaving them much more vulnerable to global crises. Many of these countries are also heavily dependent on commodity exports and are largely susceptible to fluctuations in commodity prices. Another challenge faced by these nations is a lack of electricity production as compared to requirements, which has a detrimental impact on industries. Further, while the countries contributing the most to climate change are developed nations, the brunt of the impact is being faced by the least developed countries, with almost 69% of climate disaster deaths taking place in these countries. For example, Pakistan faced unprecedented rains in 2022 as a direct impact of climate change, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,000 people.

To determine the least developed countries in the world, we consulted statistics compiled by the Human Development Report Office, taking into consideration life expectancy, mean years of schooling and gross national income per capita.

25 Most Underdeveloped Countries in the World.

25. Eritrea

Life expectancy at birth (in years): 66.5

Mean years of schooling: 4.9

Gross national income per capita: $1,729

Eritrea’s economy has been significantly dependent on a rain-fed agricultural sector which makes up about a third of the nation’s economy, making it particularly vulnerable to climate change.

24. Rwanda

Life expectancy at birth (in years): 66.1

Mean years of schooling: 4.1

Gross national income per capita: $2,210

Even though Rwanda has recovered remarkably since the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, but the country still needs to do more to be considered a powerhouse in the continent.

23. Madagascar

Life expectancy at birth (in years): 64.5

Mean years of schooling: 5.1

Gross national income per capita: $1,484

Due to the relatively small population of the country and lack of development in the country, Madagascar has not been a very attractive proposition to foreign firms, which is one of the reasons why it has struggled to develop.

22. Ethiopia

Life expectancy at birth (in years): 65

Mean years of schooling: 3.2

Gross national income per capita: $2,361

The Tigray war, fought from 2020 to 2022, and primarily centered in Ethiopia, has led to tens of thousands of deaths while impacting the nation’s infrastructure.


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