Home Earth Continents Countries

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

Map of the Least Developed Countries in 2020
Map of the Least Developed Countries in the world 2020.

List of the least developed countries in the world.

Since 1971, the United Nations has recognized Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as a category of states that, for structural, historical, and even geographic reasons, are considered to be at a severe disadvantage in their development process. They are the world´s most impoverished and vulnerable countries.

The least developed countries in the world.

Bookmark/share this page
  Instagram button
The least developed countries (LDCs) are a group of countries that have been classified by the UN as "least developed" in terms of their low gross national income (GNI), their weak human assets, and their high degree of economic vulnerability.

According to the United Nations, LDCs are more at risk than other nations of sliding deeper into poverty and remaining in a situation of underdevelopment. They are stuck in a vicious circle of poverty or cycle of poverty, a poverty trap.

More than 75 percent of the population of LDCs still live in poverty.


Village at the Congo River between Kinshasa and Lukolela
A village at the Congo River between Kinshasa and Lukolela, where the river forms the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo.
Image: Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

GNI per capita
Angola Flag
$ 4,477
Angola is a state on the coast of southwest Africa, north of Namibia. Capital city is Luanda. Spoken languages are Portuguese (official) and a variety of Bantu languages. Main religion is Christianity. The former Portuguese colony has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world and faces a variety of socioeconomic problems, including poverty, high maternal and child mortality, and illiteracy. [1]

Benin Flag
$ 882
Benin is a country in southern West Africa, between Togo and Nigeria, with a narrow coastline on the Bay of Benin in the south. Capital city is Porto Novo; spoken languages are French (official) and several West African languages such as Fon and Yoruba. Christianity is the main religion in Benin.
The country's economy is dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. More than 70% of Benin's population depends on employment in the agricultural sector, which accounts for 25% of the country's GDP. About 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. Poverty, unemployment, increased cost of living, and dwindling resources are increasingly driving Beninese into migration. [2]

Burkina Faso Flag
$ 643
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa, in the southern reaches of the Sahel region. Capital city is Ouagadougou; spoken languages are French (official) and various indigenous languages. Main religions are Islam 61.5%, Christianity 30%, traditional/animist 7.8%.
Rising armed conflict, deteriorating security, widespread poverty and the impact of climate change are posing a real threat to countries in the Central Sahel. The main causes of Burkina Faso's poverty are the lack of rural productivity, an unmanaged rural exodus, and a growing population. The economy is based on agriculture, which depends on sufficient rainfall, and focuses on growing food and cotton. A rapid population growth (women continue to have an average of more than five children) increases pressure on the country's limited arable land. Only about one-third of the population can read and write, and unemployment is widespread. Cotton and gold are Burkina Faso's key exports. [3]

Flag of Burundi
$ 261
Burundi is a small, densely populated country in Central Africa on the northeastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Political capital is Gitega, commercial and former capital is Bujumbura; official languages are French and Kirundi.
Political violence and undemocratic power changes have marked much of its history since its independence from Belgium in 1962. High population growth combined with land scarcity and poverty threatens a large portion of the population with the risk of food insecurity. Burundi does not fully meet the minimum standards for eradicating human trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. [4]

$ 370
The Central African Republic is a landlocked multiethnic country in central Africa. Capital city is Bangui; spoken languages are French (official) and Sango. Main religion is Christianity (89%).
The country suffers from pervasive insecurity and a lack of state authority in large parts of the nation. A number of peace agreements between the government and various armed groups didn't improve the security situation. Violent attacks on civilians, including sexual violence, are an acute risk in many areas. There is little support for independent journalists, and nongovernmental organization (NGO) workers, especially aid workers, operate at significant personal risk. The Central African Republic (CAR) ranks again second to last in the 2020 Human Development Index. Nearly 80% of the country's 4.75 million inhabitants are estimated to live in poverty.[5]

 Chad Flag
$ 921
Chad is a landlocked multiethnic country in northern Central Africa. Capital city is N'Djamena; official languages are French and Arabic. Main religions are Islam (52%) and Christianity (44%).
Conflict and the climate crisis exacerbate hunger and poverty in Chad. 40% of Chad's population lives below the poverty line. Impoverished, uneducated adolescents living in rural areas are most affected. Surrounded by countries at war, Chad also suffers from environmental degradation and rapid desertification. The people in Chad are among the most affected by the global climate breakdown. The country ranks 156 out of 189 in the 2020 Human Development Index. [6]

 Comoros Flag
$ 1,595
Comoros is a country that consists of a group of volcanic islands at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel, between the eastern coast of the African mainland and northern Madagascar. Capital city is Moroni. The population of Comoros is a mixture of Arabs, Persians, Indonesians, Africans, and Indians. The national languages are French (official), Arabic (official) and Comorian Swahili. The state religion is Sunni Muslim; about 98 % of Comorians are Sunni Muslims. The government has a tight grip on the country's media. Journalists risk arrest and imprisonment, and newspapers have been taken out of circulation and radio stations put off the air because reports were deemed offensive to the ruling powers. The country ranks 187 out of 189 in the 2020 Human Development Index.
Democratic Republic of the Congo Flag
$ 481
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the largest countries in Africa. The nation in the heart of the continent has a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Kinshasa; spoken languages are French (official), Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili, and others. Main religion is Christianity.
The country's political system has been crippled in recent years by the manipulation of electoral laws and procedures by political elites. Citizens are unable to exercise fundamental civil liberties freely, and corruption is endemic throughout the government. Physical security is compromised due to violence and human rights abuses by government forces, armed rebel groups, and militias active in many areas of the country.
Despite fertile land, hydropower potential, and mineral resources, the DRC struggles with many socioeconomic problems, including high child and maternal mortality rates, frequent and early fertility, malnutrition, food insecurity, lack of access to clean water and sanitation. [8]

Djibouti Flag
$ 1,894
Djibouti is a tiny country on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait in northeastern Africa. The capital is Djibouti (city). Spoken languages are Arabic, French (official), Somali, and other Cushitic languages. Originally a nomadic nation, it has undergone rapid urbanization since colonial times. Djibouti's ports handle 95% of Ethiopia's trade and serve transshipment between Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The ports are the main artery of the country's economy. Still, the majority of Djibouti's population is impoverished and is characterized by high rates of illiteracy, unemployment, and child malnutrition.
Due to its strategic location, the US, France, Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain, and China maintain a military presence in the country. [9]

 Eritrea Flag
est. 5 to 6 million
$ 862
Eritrea is a state in northeastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea. Capital city is Asmara; spoken languages are Tigre and Cushitic languages. The country is a militarized authoritarian one-party state that has not held a national election since independence from Ethiopia in 1993. [10]
Under the pretext of defending the state's integrity and ensuring its self-sufficiency, Eritreans are subjected to a system of national service and forced labor that effectively abuses, exploits, and enslaves them indefinitely. [11]

 Ethiopia Flag
$ 644
Ethiopia is a landlocked mountainous country in northeastern Africa. Capital city is Addis Ababa; spoken languages are Oromo, Amharic (official), Somali and several other Afro-Asiatic languages. Ethiopia is predominantly an agricultural country, with more than 70% of the population employed in agriculture.
Although Africa's second-most populous country has made significant development progress over the past two decades, an estimated eight million people are still dependent on food aid. This figure also includes internally displaced persons who had to leave their homes due to civil unrest or natural disasters. [12]

 Gambia Flag
$ 449
Gambia is the smallest country on the African mainland; it consists of a narrow strip of territory on either side of the Gambia River that forms an enclave in Senegal. The capital is Banjul; spoken languages are English (official), Malinke, Creole and various indigenous languages. Main religion is Islam (95%). The country ranks 172 out of 189 countries in the UN 2020 Human Development Index. Despite some progress in recent years, poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition have remained unchanged or have worsened in the last ten years. [13]

 Guinea Flag
$ 678
Guinea is a Sub-Saharan country bordering the North Atlantic Ocean in the west. Capital city is Conakry; spoken languages are French (official), Pular, Fulani, Maninka, and other native languages. Almost 90% of the population are Muslim.
Guinea ranks 178 out of 189 countries in the UN 2020 Human Development Index and faces major socioeconomic challenges. 55% of people live in poverty. [14]

 Guinea-Bissau Flag
$ 595
Guinea-Bissau is a multiethnic country on the western coast of Africa, situated between Senegal and Guinea. Capital city is Bissau; spoken languages are Crioulo (lingua franca), Portuguese (official), and other West African languages. Main religions are Islam 45%, Christianity 22% and Animism 15%.
Since independence from Portugal in 1974, the country has been marked by political instability, leading to a lack of development and high levels of poverty. Nearly 70% of the population lives below the poverty line. Guinea-Bissau ranks 175 out of 189 countries in the UN 2020 Human Development Index. [15]

 Lesotho Flag
$ 1,296
Lesotho is a small landlocked country surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. The capital is Maseru. Spoken languages are Sesotho and English. The majority of the population are Christians of different denominations.
Lesotho faces major socioeconomic challenges. 80% of the population lives in rural areas, but the mountainous country has little arable land, leaving the population vulnerable to food shortages and dependent on remittances. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line. Also, Lesotho's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is the second-highest in the world. [16]

 Liberia Flag
$ 431
Liberia is a multiethnic country in West Africa bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. Capital city is Monrovia; spoken languages are English (official) and an English-based pidgin. The main religions are Christian 85%, Muslim 12%.
Liberia is a low-income, food-deficit country; it ranks 175 out of 189 countries in the 2020 Human Development Index. 83% of the people live on less than US$1.25 a day. [17]

Madagascar Flag
$ 486
Madagascar is an island in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world and home to the Republic of Madagascar. Capital city is Antananarivo; official languages are Malagasy and French. Main religions are Christianity 85%, indigenous faiths 4.5%, and Islam 3%.
Although the island has fertile soils, numerous raw materials, and many untapped natural resources, Madagascar remains one of the world's poorest countries. The population is expected to double to 50 million in the next 30 years, increasing pressure on natural resources. The country's democratic institutions and civil society are poorly developed. [18]

Malawi Flag
$ 331
Malawi is a small, landlocked, multiethnic country in the Great Rift Valley on Lake Nyasa's western shore in Southeast Africa. The nation gained independence from the United Kingdom on 6 July 1964. Capital city is Lilongwe; official languages are English and Nyanja. The main religions are Christianity of various denominations and Islam 14%.
Still, rapid population growth and high population density are putting severe pressure on Malawi's land, water, and forest resources. Smaller plot sizes and increased vulnerability to climate change further threaten the sustainability of Malawi's agricultural economy and will exacerbate food shortages. About 80% of the population is employed in agriculture. The country ranks 174 out of 189 nations in the United Nations' 2020 Human Development Index. [19]

Mali Flag
$ 801
Mali is a vast landlocked country in Northern Africa, southwest of Algeria. Capital city is Bamako; spoken languages are French (official), Bambara, Peuhl/Foulfoulbe, Dogon and other tribal languages. More than 90% of the population are Muslims.
Mali spans three bioclimatic zones. The northern part is in the Sahara. The center is in the semi-arid Sahel, and in the south are cultivated land areas in the tropical savannah.
Frequent drought, armed violence, and widespread insecurity have contributed to a progressive deterioration of livelihoods in the country. Poverty is on the rise, affecting nearly 80% of people. Food insecurity levels are twice as high in families headed by women – a reflection of widespread gender inequalities. The country ranks 184 out of 189 on UNDP's 2020 Human Development Index. [20]

Mauritania Flag
$ 1,230
Mauritania is a desert country in West Africa bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. Capital city is Nouakchott; spoken languages are Arabic (official and national), Pular, Soninke, Wolof, and French. The official religion is Islam. Mauritania is a bridge country between the Arabs of the Maghreb of North Africa and the black people from sub-Saharan Africa. The largest ethnic groups are the Haratines (Black Moors) 40%, the ruling caste are the Beydane, Arabic-speaking White Moors, considered the ethnic elite in the country's social system.
Mauritania abolished slavery only in 1981, but the millennia-old practice persists, mainly because anti-slavery laws are rarely enforced, and the custom is so deeply rooted in the country's society.
Mauritania's rapidly growing population also faces other significant challenges, including food insecurity, malnutrition, gender inequality, and land degradation. [22] [23]

Mozambique Flag
$ 564
Mozambique is a low-income, food-deficit country on the east coast of southern Africa. Capital city is Maputo; spoken languages in the former Portuguese colony are Portuguese (official), Makhuwa, Tsonga, and other Bantu languages. The predominant religion is Christianity, with various denominations; about 19 % of the population are Muslims.
The sparsely populated country has high fertility (5 children per woman) and mortality rates (HIV/AIDS). It ranked 181 of 189 countries in the 2020 Human Development Index. About half of the population lives below the poverty line, and the vast majority of the country's labor force is still employed in subsistence agriculture. [24]

Niger Flag
$ 393
Niger is a landlocked country in the Sahel. The largest country in West Africa is historically a gateway between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The capital is Niamey; spoken languages are French (official), Hausa, Djerma, and other West African languages. The country's main religion is Islam (99%).
The majority of Niger's population lives in the outermost border region with Nigeria and Benin. Niger has the highest total fertility rate of any country in the world (7 children per woman). Due to high fertility rates, the majority of Nigerians rely on subsistence farming on ever-smaller arable land, and declining rainfall and the resulting shrinkage of arable land prevent food production from keeping pace with population growth. [25]

Rwanda Flag
$ 707
Rwanda is a small, landlocked, rural country in eastern Central Africa, bordering Lake Kivu. Capital city is Kigali; spoken languages are Kinyarwanda (a Bantu language), English, and French. Main religion is Christianity with various denominations.
It is one of Africa's most densely populated countries, and Rwanda's birth rate remains very high. Its high population growth and increasingly small agricultural landholdings will put additional strain on families' ability to raise foodstuffs and access potable water. These conditions also hinder government efforts to reduce poverty and prevent environmental degradation such as deforestation, overgrazing, biodiversity loss, and widespread poaching. [26]

São Tomé and Príncipe Flag
$ 1,684
São Tomé and Príncipe is the second-smallest African country (after the Seychelles); it consists of several islands in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western coast of Central Africa. Capital city is São Tomé; spoken languages are Portuguese (official) and Portuguese Creole. The main religion is Christianity, with various denominations, of which Catholic is the largest (55.7%).
The country suffers from high levels of unemployment and poverty. Around one-third of the just over 219.000 inhabitants live on less than US$ 1.9 per day, and more than two-thirds are poor, based on a poverty line of US$ 3.2 per day. In addition, the island nation faces significant challenges due to its insular remoteness, which translates into high import and export costs. [27]

Senegal Flag
$ 1,004
Senegal is a country on the coast of West Africa. Capital city is Dakar; spoken languages are French (official), Wolof, Pular, Jola, Mandinka, and other West African languages. The main religion is Islam (96%).
The country still faces serious development challenges, despite significant economic growth and decades of political stability. More than one-third of the population lives below the poverty line, and 75 percent of families suffer from chronic poverty. The agricultural sector in the tropical country is dominated by subsistence farming, with limited access to good seed and fertilizer. Deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, desertification and periodic droughts further complicate agricultural success. [28]

Sierra Leone Flag
$ 582
Sierra Leone is a small but densely populated country in West Africa with a coastline on the North Atlantic Ocean. Capital city is Freetown; spoken languages are English (official), English Creole (Krio), Temne, Mende, and other West African languages. The main religions are Islam 78.6% and Christianity 20.8%.
Poverty levels in the country are high, with 53% of the population living below the income poverty line ($1.25 per day). Sierra Leone's infant, child and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world and result from poverty, lack of potable water and sanitation, poor nutrition, limited access to quality health services and widespread female genital cutting. [29]

Somalia Flag
$ 95
Somalia is a country on the peninsula known as the Horn of Africa; it borders the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Capital city is Mogadishu; spoken languages are Somali and Arabic (both official). The dominant religion is (Sunni) Islam.
The country has struggled to rebuild a functioning state after the collapse of an authoritarian regime in 1991. Somalia is now split into several semiautonomous regions. Its territory is divided among the federal government, five federal member states, the jihadist Shabaab militant group, and a separatist government in Somaliland.
Somalia scores very poorly on most humanitarian indicators and suffers from poor governance, protracted internal conflict, underdevelopment, economic decline, poverty, social and gender inequality, and environmental degradation. [30]
* Population counting in Somalia is complicated by the large number of nomads and by refugee movements in response to famine and clan warfare.

South Sudan Flag
South Sudan
$ 1,303
South Sudan is a landlocked country in central-eastern Africa, west of Ethiopia. Capital city is Juba; spoken languages are Arabic, English, and regional languages, including Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Zande, and Shilluk. The main religions are Christianity (60%), traditional faiths (33%), and Islam (6%).
Since independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011, the country has struggled with good governance and nation-building and has sought to control opposition forces operating on its territory. Yet South Sudan is among the world's poorest countries, ranking at the bottom of many socioeconomic categories (HDI 2020 185 out of 189). Problems are exacerbated by ongoing tensions with Sudan over oil revenues and land borders, fighting between government forces and rebel groups, and inter-community violence. [31]

Sudan Flag
$ 1,452
Sudan is a sparsely populated country in northeastern Africa, south of Egypt, with a coastline on the Red Sea. Capital city is Khartoum; spoken languages are Arabic (official), English, Nubian, Ta Bedawie, Fur, and others. Main religion is Sunni Islam (97%), and there is a small Christian minority.
Sudan has experienced protracted social conflict and the loss of three-quarters of its oil production due to South Sudan's secession. According to the Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan 2020, 9.6 million people will require humanitarian assistance in 2020, including 6.2 million food-insecure people. High inflation continues to erode household purchasing power, and people are unable to meet their basic needs. [32]

Tanzania Flag
$ 902
Tanzania is the largest and most populous East African country; it consists of a mainland territory (former Tanganyika) and the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean. Capitals are Dar es Salaam (administrative capital) and Dodoma (legislative capital); spoken languages are Kiswahili and English (both official), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), and many local languages. Main religions are Christianity 61%, Islam 35%, folk religion 2%.
Tanzania's agricultural sector is primarily dominated by smallholder farming and accounts for a quarter of the national GDP, but production is stagnant while the population is expected to double by 2050. In addition, the effects of climate change are exacerbating the vulnerability of agriculture to disasters. [33]

Togo Flag
$ 555
Togo is a country in West Africa between Benin and Ghana, with a short coastline on the Bight of Benin. Capital city is Lomé; spoken languages are French (official), Ewe, Mina, Kabye and other West African languages. Main religions are Christianity 44%, traditional faiths 36%, and Muslim 14%.
The population suffers from recurring ethnic tensions and periods of political unrest. The country's economy depends heavily on commercial and subsistence agriculture, with both sectors employing 60% of the labor force. 1.3 million people in Togo need humanitarian assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [34]

Uganda Flag
$ 661
Uganda is a landlocked country in east-central Africa with a long coastline on Lake Victoria. Capital city is Kampala; spoken languages are English (official), Luganda, Swahili, and other Nilo-Saharan languages. Main religions are Christianity 85% and Muslim 14%.
Uganda has extensive natural resources, including fertile soils. Agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the country's economy, employing over 70% of the labor force. But rapid population growth will further strain the availability of arable land. In addition, the Ugandan government has not invested adequately in health, education, and economic opportunities for the rapidly growing, predominantly young population. [35]

Zambia Flag
$ 1,561
Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, divided from Zimbabwe by the Zambezi River. Capital city is Lusaka; spoken languages are English (official) and various Bantu languages. Main religion is Christianity (95)%.
The country's population is made up of nearly 70 different ethnic groups. Although Zambia is Africa's second-largest copper producer, and despite some economic progress, more than half of the population still lives below the poverty line. An acutely deteriorating economy threatens government efforts to deliver social services, alleviate poverty, reduce malnutrition, and achieve zero hunger. [36]

Map of Africa
Reference Map of Africa.


Oxcart at Koe-Thaung temple in rural Rakhine State
An oxcart in rural Rakhine State of Myanmar near the town of Mrauk U, with the massive Koe-Thaung temple in the background.
Image: kk
Afghanistan Flag
  $ 633
Afghanistan is a mountainous landlocked republic at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Capital city is Kabul; official languages are Pashto and Dari (the local form of Persian). The main religion is Islam (99%).
The multiethnic country is poor due to decades of complex and protracted conflict combined with a changing climate, gender inequalities, rapid urbanization, and a lack of jobs. Over half of the country's population lives below the poverty line. Food insecurity is on the rise, caused by conflicts that cut off entire communities from livelihood opportunities. Concerns about corruption, transparency, and illegal industry (such as the illicit opiate industry) further exacerbate the situation. [37]

Afghanistan Flag
$ 1,274
Bangladesh is situated in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta, between India and Myanmar. Capital city is Dhaka; the main religions are Islam (89%) and Hinduism (10%).
The most densely populated large country in the world has a population of more than 167 million people; more than 30% live in poverty. Since about 80% of the country lies in the floodplains of the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and some other rivers, Bangladesh is prone to severe flooding with negative consequences for agriculture and the population. A lack of education, an unskilled workforce, a fast-growing population rate and rising landlessness are the main reasons for poverty in Bangladesh. [38] [39]

Bhutan Flag
$ 2,401
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small landlocked country located between China and India on the southeastern slopes of the eastern Himalayas. Capital city is Thimphu; spoken languages are Dzongkha (official) and other Tibeto-Burman languages, and Nepali. The main religions are Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepali-influenced Hinduism 22%.
Investments in health and education and a peaceful transition to a democratic constitutional monarchy have reduced poverty from 23.2 percent to 8.2 percent in just a decade. [40]

Cambodia Flag
$ 1,075
Cambodia is located on the Gulf of Thailand in the southern part of the Indochina peninsula between Thailand and southern Vietnam. Capital city is Phnom Penh; official language is Khmer. The official religion is Buddhism (98%).
Cambodia remains on the list of developing countries, despite recent economic growth. 33% of the state's workforce is employed in agriculture. Although Cambodia's relative economic performance has been stronger than that of other ASEAN countries in recent years, its low GDP has made it the region's poorest country. [41]

Flag of Laos
$ 1,996
Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, between Thailand and Vietnam. Capital city is Vientiane; spoken languages are Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages. An estimated 66% of the Laotians are Buddhists.
Laos is a communist one-party state in which the ruling party dominates all aspects of politics and severely restricts civil liberties. Even though poverty in the Lao People's Democratic Republic has declined over the past decade, almost a quarter of the Lao population still lives in poverty. An estimated 80 percent of the country lives on less than $2.50 per day. [42]

Flag of Myanmar
$ 1,255
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a multiethnic country bordering Thailand, Laos, China, northeastern India and Bangladesh. It has a coastline on the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Capital city is Naypyidaw, the largest city and former capital is Yangon. Spoken languages are Burmese (official) and regional languages. Main religions are Buddhism (88%), Christianity (6%), and Islam (4.3%).
Since the opening of the country, its economy has been growing rapidly. Although Myanmar has valuable mineral resources such as jade and rubies, its economy largely depends on natural resources and agriculture. Inadequate infrastructure, limited "know-how," and administrative constraints have stifled the manufacturing sector. Poverty levels are at an estimated 26% of the population. [43]

Flag of Nepal
   $ 745
Nepal is a mountainous landlocked country in the Himalayas between Tibet (China) and India. Capital city is Kathmandu; spoken languages are Nepali (official) and 122 other Nepalese languages. Main religions are Hinduism (81%), Buddhism (9%), and Islam (4.4%).
In 2015, the former kingdom ratified a new constitution in a peace process that restructured the country as a federal democratic republic after decades of conflict that ended in 2006. Still, Nepal is among the world's poorest countries and suffers from severe food insecurity and malnutrition. A quarter of the population lives below the national poverty line, on less than $0.50 per day. [44]

Flag of Timor-Leste
$ 2,656
Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor, is a multiethnic country on the eastern part of the island of Timor at the southern end of Maritime Southeast Asia (Malay Archipelago). Capital city is Dili; spoken languages are Portuguese, Tetu (both official), Indonesian, English, and indigenous languages. The main religion is Roman Catholic (97.6%).
The former Portuguese colony declared itself independent in 1975. In 1976 it was invaded by Indonesia, which annexed and claimed it as their 27th state.
In the UN's Human Development Index 2020, Timor-Leste is ranked 141 out of 189 countries. Its economy is based on oil-export and subsistence farming. Capital city is Dili; Tetun and Portuguese are official languages. It is one of only two predominantly Christian nations in Southeast Asia. [45]

Yemen Flag
$ 954
Yemen is a country in the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Capital city is Sana'a; the official language is Arabic.
High unemployment, poor economic conditions and corruption sparked public rallies in Sana'a in 2011 against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. A year later, Saleh formally transferred all presidential powers to then-Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. And that was only the beginning of the country's violent descent into chaos. Today, Yemen is split into several complicated power relationships. A Saudi Arabia-led coalition is fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group, and UAE-backed separatists are clashing with Saudi-backed fighters, with the Yemeni people and the UN peacekeeping force in the middle.
Even before fighting broke out in early 2015, Yemen was one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. The conflict has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and made 3.65 million people internally displaced. The impact on the country's infrastructure has been devastating. [46]

Map of Asia
Reference Map of Asia.


Beach scene on Tuvalu with lots of civilization garbage.
Beach scene on Tuvalu with lots of civilization garbage.
Image: Tomoaki INABA
Flag of the Solomon Islands
$ 1,763
Kiribati (pronounced Kiri-bass) is a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator. It consists of 33 widely scattered islands; only 20 of them are inhabited. The official languages are English and I-Kiribati.
Low incomes and weak infrastructure due to the country's remote location away from international markets foster poverty in the island nation. It is estimated that about one in five households and nearly one in four Kiribati residents live below the basic needs poverty line. Families affected by poverty face difficulties every day. [47]

Flag of the Solomon Islands
$ 1,763
The Solomon Islands are an island nation in the South Pacific. The sprawling archipelago belongs to Melanesia, a subregion of Oceania, and lies east of the island of New Guinea. Capital city is Honiara; spoken languages are English (official), Pidgin, and local Austronesian languages. The majority of the population are Christians of various denominations (94%).
The island nation did not gain independence from the United Kingdom until 1976. What followed were years of sustained and economically destructive ethnic violence until a multinational force under Australian leadership (RAMSI) disarmed ethnic militias, restored law and order and rebuilt state institutions in 2003. [48]

Tuvalu Flag
$ 5,388
Tuvalu is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean (formerly known as the Ellice Islands). The capital of one of the world's smallest countries is Funafuti (island); official languages are English and Tuvaluan (a local Austronesian language). Main religion is Christianity (92%).
The United Nations designates Tuvalu as a least developed country because of its limited potential for economic development, absence of exploitable resources, and its small size and vulnerability to external economic and environmental shocks. [49]



A road in Cap Haitien after heavy thunderstorms with flooding.
A street in Cap-Haïtien after heavy thunderstorms with flooding.
Image: Alex Proimos
Haiti Flag
$ 814
Haiti is a country that occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. Capital city is Port-au-Prince; official languages are Haitian Creole and French. Main religions are Christianity (83%) and Vodou.
Hispaniola lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and is subject to severe storms, occasional flooding, and earthquakes. Since 2004, nearly 10,000 peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti have helped maintain civil order in Haiti. Haiti ranks 170th of 189 countries on the 2020 Human Development Index. Chronic poverty is still widespread throughout the country, and many people do not have easy access to electricity, water, sanitation, or health care. [50]


More about Developing Countries:

Third World Countries
Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs)
Human Development Index (Countries with low human development)
List of countries with the lowest standard of human development.
Countries of the First World
Countries of the Second World
Countries of the Third World
Countries by GNI per capita and PPP

Rich and poor countries
Categories of development of countries in the world today.

Countries by Gross National Income (GNI)
A list of world countries and regions in comparison to their gross national income based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) per capita in international dollars.

Related Categories:

 Population by Country
From the most populated countries to the least populous nations in the world.
 Current World Population
Demographic Data for Continents and Regions of the World.

 Global Village, a Summary of the World
Earth as a village of 100 people.

 Countries by Area
A list from the largest to the smallest countries in the world.

 US States by area
A list of the 50 US States by area size.