The 10 poorest countries in Asia

In 2024, Asia grapples with economic disparities, highlighting the Top 10 Poorest Countries. Despite regional growth, these nations face unique challenges, underscoring the ongoing struggle for sustainable development.

Being the largest continent on earth, Asia has been a vital part of shaping the world’s history. However, some countries it inhabits happen to be impoverished to such an extent that progress feels like a far-fetched dream. Over the years, Asia has witnessed numerous developments, setbacks, revolutions, and progress. At the same time, most of these poorest countries are in Asia.

They possess a plethora of natural resources, but due to poor planning, these resources are not utilized properly. Combined, India and China have the world’s largest population.

However, in terms of economy, the poorest countries in Asia stand in the very last line of wielding power. Although these poorest countries have witnessed progress in some form in the years, they are still falling behind in terms of GDP compared to other countries

Top 10 poorest countries in Asia

The countries mentioned below have the poorest economies. However, it is worth noting that despite their unsatisfactory economy, the countries fare very well in aspects of culture, education, tourism, etc. It is, more often than not, their infrastructure and economic policies that obstruct their development and progress. The list below showcases the top 10 countries in Asia.

1. Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a landlocked nation that has been the land of wars and economic and political instability for over 40 years now. In addition to being one of the poorest countries in Asia, the country has also been losing its safety factor, especially for women. 

And ever since the Taliban takeover after the US troops withdrew, the country’s stability has collapsed like never before. Corruption, illiteracy, overzealous individuals in positions of power, and social inequality are just some of the many factors affecting the poorest country’s development.

2. Syria

Syria is a country in the Middle East that has been on the receiving end of extreme violence over the years. World Bank, which originally termed Syria as a lower-middle country, recently recategorised it as a low-income country. There are various reasons apart from obvious violence for Syria being one of the poorest countries in Asia. 

The civil war, which annihilated the health care and educational institutions, paved the way for impoverishment and suffering. The drought, which recently caused serious damage in terms of crop yielding, has also contributed to this poorest country’s stagnation.

3. Yemen

According to Gazette Review, Yemen’s political turmoil and severe impoverishment have caused it to be one of the poorest countries in Asia. The citizens of Yemen have been continuously denied basic health care due to its mismanaged governance. 

The majority of people live below the poverty line. Its infant mortality rate has skyrocketed to 54 per 1000 live births, which is 10 times more than the infant mortality rate of the US.

Read also: Who are the Houthi rebels of Yemen, and why are they at the center of global attention?

4. Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the largest South Asian countries in terms of size. Over the years, the country has gone through political turmoil and other internal struggles that have made Myanmar one of the poorest countries in Asia. 

Despite having abundant natural resources, the country’s lack of planning and failure to utilize them has affected its development. The World Bank statistics state that 32% of its citizens live below the poverty line and often live without electricity. Since most of the population inhabits rural areas, they rely on fishing and farming for sustenance.

5. Tajikistan

Tajikistan is not just one of the poorest countries in Asia but of former soviet republics as well. The civil war in the 1990s destroyed major educational institutions, grabbing away the children’s right to study. 

Most of its inhabitants live in an unclean environment, relying on unsanitary water. Due to its underdeveloped economy, most people live by practising agriculture, which has also witnessed setbacks due to rising temperatures.

6. Nepal

Nepal, the land of vibrant spiritual practices is ranked as the poorest country in Asia. Despite it being promoted to developing country status, the lack of proper utilisation of available resources has made it insufficient and substandard. 

Corruption looms large, and it is one of the reasons why the country is impoverished. Ever since the housing prices have skyrocketed, people started to live as squatters.

7. Kyrgyzstan

The economic situation in Kyrgyzstan may not be as bad as other Asian countries, but the fact that it could use improvement and initiatives is undeniable. In the country, 32% of its population lives below the poverty line. 

Although Kyrgyzstan has numerous natural resources that can be used to export, a lack of knowledge among the people may have led them to ignore that.

8. Pakistan

Pakistan is well-known for its political unrest. It does contain some of the world’s valuable resources, like copper chromite and gold, but it is not utilized properly. 40% of its population lives in poverty as per the report. 

Corruption by the government is practiced by large, and that is one of the reasons why the country is poor. To corroborate that fact, in 2017 its Prime Minister had to step down due to corruption charges.

9. Cambodia

The nation possesses only a handful of human resources and income inequality looms large. Cambodia has many strong and justifiable reasons for being one of the poorest countries in Asia. The reasons are war, political unrest, corruption and poverty. The government has yet to take the initiative on its progress.

10. Timor Leste

One of the most immediate obstacles to Timor Leste’s economic growth is poor infrastructure, low adult literacy rate etc. Having recently become independent from Indonesia, the island country has yet to make proper use of its natural resources. 

These poorest countries in Asia may be going through a hard time. War, corruption, famine, and instability are a few causes which are hindering their growth. However, with a stable and fair government and proper utilisation of resources, these countries can bounce back and may astoundingly witness growth in the coming years. 

Read more: The 8 richest countries in Asia

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