The 5 poorest countries in Europe

Oluwatoni Olujinmi

With an extent of 10,180,000km² (3,930,000 square miles), Europe is the second-smallest continent in the globe. The entire continent of Europe lies in the Northern Hemisphere, namely the Eastern Hemisphere.

Along with the US and China, the combined economies of the European Union are among the world’s most powerful. Many people around the world picture affluence and stability in the economy when they think of some European countries. 

Nevertheless, there is a noticeable disparity in the level of economic prosperity across European nations. The nations of Eastern Europe, especially those hit hard by the collapse of the Soviet Union, are among the poorest in the world right now. This article seeks to explore five poorest countries in Europe.

The 5 poorest countries in Europe 

1. Moldova

Situated between Ukraine and Romania, the economically struggling country of Moldova is now one of Europe’s poorest. The challenges faced by Moldova are reflected in its Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, which stands at $5,340.

Based on these data, Moldova is classified as an economy with a lower-middle income. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moldova, which was formerly a part of the USSR, had a number of challenges, including political unrest, economic downturn, and trade barriers.

A number of factors, such as a failure to industrialize on a major scale, food insecurity, economic collapse during the shift to a market economy, and social policy mistakes, contribute to the country’s poverty. 

Moldova has been undergoing changes to diversify its economy, improve governance, and attract foreign investors. In its pursuit of economic development, Moldova receives assistance from international organisations and partners.

2. Ukraine

The GDP per capita in Ukraine was affected by the country’s economic woes. Ukraine is the poorest European country with a gross national product per capita of around $3,540, placing it in the lower-middle income bracket.

Once the Soviet Union’s second-largest economy, Ukraine struggled to adapt to a capitalist economy after its collapse, plunging many into poverty.

The country’s economic woes have grown in complexity due to Russia’s invasion in February 2022. War, economic changes, corruption, reliance on commodities, and external debt are further factors.

3. Kosovo

Due to its status as one of Europe’s youngest nations, Kosovo had to deal with economic difficulties, which affected its GNI per capita. Kosovo is the third-poorest GNI per capita in Europe, at around $4,440. 

After declaring independence in 2008, Kosovo faced post-conflict difficulties, which impacted the economy. Significant obstacles, including the need to diversify the economy, construct institutions, and develop infrastructure, have been left to the country as a result of the conflict.

Russia and China are among the countries who refuse to acknowledge Kosovo’s independence, despite the fact that many other states have recognized it. Potentially impacted by this lack of global renown are international investments and business alliances. Economic growth in Kosovo is hindered by high unemployment rates, especially among young people. The “brain drain” that many young Kosovars are trying to stem is a problem the government is working to solve.

Read also: These are the States currently not recognized by the UN

4. Albania

The GDP per capita in Albania was affected by the economic difficulties that the country experienced. With a gross national product per capita of around $5,210, Albania was the fifth poorest European country.

After the communist government of Albania was toppled in the early 1990s, economic reforms were instituted. There has been some improvement, but there are still problems related to the change, such as corruption and the prevalence of informal economic activities.

As a means of bolstering its economy, Albania has been hard at work upgrading its infrastructure. Improving the country’s competitiveness and investor appeal requires investments in energy, transportation, and other vital areas. In terms of European integration, Albania’s long-term goal is to join the EU.

5. North Macedonia

The North Macedonian economy had its share of difficulties, which in turn affected the GNI per capita. With a gross national product per capita of around $5,100, North Macedonia ranked as the ninth poorest European country.

The people of North Macedonia have faced several obstacles, including ethnic strife and territorial disputes with its neighbors. Economic development can only flourish in an atmosphere that is politically stable and where there is mutual respect among different ethnic groups.

Consistently high unemployment rates have been a problem for North Macedonia. In order to build a more robust economy and lessen reliance on any one sector, diversification must be our top priority.

Nearly 90% of GDP is derived from trade. The goal of North Macedonia’s economic development should be to enhance regional integration and trade linkages. By working together and improving connectivity, neighbouring countries can unlock new markets and opportunities.

Read also: European migrant emergency, what the pact between Italy and Albania provides for

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