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Poorest Asian Countries

Poorest Asian Countries

Poverty in Asia

Asia, the largest and most diverse continent, presents a dynamic economic landscape that includes both some of the world's richest and poorest countries. Despite significant economic advances in the region, poverty remains persistent in several nations. 

These countries, despite being rich in natural resources or human capital, face various challenges in terms of infrastructure, political stability, education, healthcare, and economic policy that hinder their growth and development.

Key findings from the data reveal:

  • Afghanistan, with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of just $500, holds the unenviable position of being the poorest country in Asia, reflecting the severe economic hardships intensified by ongoing conflict and political instability.
  • While Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Cambodia, with GNIs per capita ranging from $1,190 to $1,490, also struggle significantly with economic issues, primarily due to uneven development, political challenges, and in some cases, conflict.
  • Central Asian countries, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, with GNIs per capita of $1,060 and $1,160, respectively, also rank among Asia's poorest countries, with their economies constrained by physical isolation, scarce resources, aging infrastructure, and poorly developed institutions.
  • On a somewhat brighter note, despite its lower GNI per capita of $1,900, India has made remarkable strides in reducing extreme poverty, but still faces the enormous task of improving wealth distribution and investing in rural areas.
  • Meanwhile, Yemen, although richer than Afghanistan, remains ravaged by war, impending famine, and severe economic blockade, with a GNI per capita of $940.

These findings illustrate the vast contrasts in wealth between Asian countries. Such regional disparities underscore the need for targeted policy measures and international support to uplift those facing the harshest economic conditions and to facilitate sustainable development in these nations. 

10 Poorest Asian Countries

Leading the unfortunate list is Afghanistan, which has a GNI per capita of only $500. The harsh economic climate in Afghanistan is a testament to the enduring conflicts and political instability that the country has been grappling with for many years.

Second on the list is Yemen with a GNI per capita of $940. War, famine, and a severe economic blockade have decimated the economic fabric of Yemen, leaving it in a deplorable state.

Tajikistan finds itself third due to a GNI per capita of $1,060. Its economy is hampered by physical isolation, limited resources, outdated infrastructure, and inadequate institutions.

Close behind is Kyrgyzstan with a GNI per capita of $1,160. It faces similar challenges as its neighbor Tajikistan, further exacerbated by issues of corruption and governance.

Nepal is next with a GNI per capita of $1,190. Despite commendable strides in recent years, uneven development and political challenges continue to hinder necessary economic growth.

Myanmar and Pakistan follow closely, both dealing with their own internal conflicts and economic challenges. The GNI per capita for Myanmar and Pakistan stands at $1,260 and $1,280, respectively.

Cambodia has a GNI per capita of $1,490. Even though Cambodia has experienced rapid economic growth in the recent past, poverty and inequitable wealth distribution remain significant concerns.

Uzbekistan claims the ninth spot with a GNI per capita of $1,670, reflecting its struggles with corruption, labor rights, and economic reforms.

Lastly, Syria makes it on the list with a GNI per capita of $1,820, principally due to the catastrophic impacts of the ongoing civil war.

Ten poorest Asian countries according to GNI per capita are:

  1. Afghanistan - $500
  2. Yemen - $940
  3. Tajikistan - $1,060
  4. Kyrgyzstan - $1,160
  5. Nepal - $1,190
  6. Myanmar - $1,260
  7. Pakistan - $1,280
  8. Cambodia - $1,490
  9. Uzbekistan - $1,670
  10. Syria - $1,820

By Country

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Frequently Asked Questions


Year: 2022

Source: GNI per capita, Atlas - The World Bank

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