(Ecofin Agency) - Currently, there are 34 poor countries (with annual per capita income equal or below $995), the World Bank group indicated in a report published on June 4, 2019. In 2003, there were 66 poor countries.
Out of those 34 countries, 26 are in Sub-Sahara Africa. They include Mali, Niger, Eritrea, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Between 2003 and 2019, 32 countries have joined the rank of "middle-income" category boosted notably by rapid economic growth. Oil and metal exporters benefited from the commodity supercycle. Other countries were favored by the end of armed conflicts while a third category was propelled by regional trade integration. These are namely Moldova, Nicaragua, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.
According to the World Bank’s estimations, these rapid reductions in poor countries are unlikely to continue because half of those countries still in that category are going through armed conflict or experience violence and instabilities. All of them also depend on agriculture prone to climate change’s negative impacts. Coupled with that is an ever-increasing debt, slowing growth momentum worldwide and weak local governments.