Düsseldorf The corona economic shock hits poorer countries particularly hard for several reasons: Investments from richer countries are being scaled back, international investors are withdrawing their capital. The states themselves can raise few funds for economic stimulus programs and emigrants send less money to their countries of origin.
This could have serious consequences, especially for the poorest countries, warns the World Bank in its latest report. Accordingly, the corona crisis is expected to plunge at least 60 million people into absolute poverty this year. “There could be more,” said World Bank President David Malpass in an interview after the publication in early October.
But which are the poorest countries in the world? There are several ways to measure poverty. Some research only focuses on the financial data. Others are based on surveys of residents’ feelings or consider factors such as access to food, education and clothing.
This ranking measures the gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant. The data come from 2019 from the International Monetary Fund; current figures for 2020 are not yet available. The list shows which ten countries are among the poorest on earth.
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These are the ten poorest countries in the world in the 2021 ranking
10th place – Niger, West Africa
The gross domestic product in Niger in 2019 was 553.92 dollars per capita. It ranks tenth among the poorest countries in the world. In comparison: In Germany, the gross domestic product per capita in 2019 was 48,634 dollars.
9th place – Sierra Leone, West Africa
Sierra Leone ranks ninth among the poorest countries in the world. Here, at $ 539.12, GDP per capita is somewhat lower than in Niger.
8th place – Madagascar, Africa (Indian Ocean)
In Madagascar, GDP per capita is $ 525.3 in 2019. This brings the country to eighth place in the ranking of the world’s poorest countries in 2019.
7th place – Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa
With a gross domestic product of $ 508.95 per capita, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranks seventh in 2019.
6th place – Afghanistan, South Asia
In 2019, the gross domestic product per capita in Afghanistan is almost two dollars lower than in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With a gross domestic product of $ 507.29 per capita, Afghanistan ranks sixth.
5th place – Mozambique, Africa
Mozambique had a per capita GDP of 487.69 dollars in 2019. The country is the fifth poorest country in the world according to GDP per capita.
4th place – Central African Republic, Africa
The Central African Republic ranks fourth among the poorest countries in the world. Here there is a gross domestic product of $ 479.86 per inhabitant.
3rd place – Malawi, Africa
With a GDP of $ 377.72, Malawi ranks third among the poorest countries in the world.
2nd place – South Sudan, Africa
South Sudan has an even lower gross domestic product per capita. The North African state has a gross domestic product of only 368.84 dollars per capita.
1st place – Burundi, Africa
The poorest country in the world is Burundi. Here comes a GDP of only $ 269.83 for each inhabitant.
The 10 poorest countries in the world in the table
GDP per inhabitant
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
Those: Statesman / IMF
For comparison: The ten richest countries in the world.
The presidential and legislative elections scheduled for Sunday, December 27, in the Central African Republic should take place. The country’s constitutional court on December 26 rejected any postponement of the vote, despite the violence that has agitated a country plagued by civil war since 2013. Friday, December 25, three Burundian peacekeepers were killed in Dékoa, in the center of the country, by “Unidentified armed combatants”, announced the UN. Other attacks are said to have taken place in Bakouma, to the south.
→ EXPLANATION. In the Central African Republic, the situation is deteriorating on the eve of the presidential election
The holding of elections in the Central African Republic, whose territory is still two-thirds controlled by armed groups, is a major stake for the outgoing president, Faustin Archange Touadéra. The rebel coalition had decreed on Wednesday a “Unilateral cease-fire” three days expiring before the vote, while asking President Touadéra to “Suspend the elections, the conditions of which have never been met”. A request rejected by the president, and, on December 26, by a decision of the Constitutional Court of the country.
Breaking of the ceasefire
In front of “The irresponsible stubbornness of the government”, Coalition “Decides to break the 72-hour truce that it had hitherto imposed on itself and to resume its relentless march to its final objective”, indicates a statement from two rebel groups confirmed by AFP. After a slight lull Thursday morning, fighting resumed in Bakouma, about 800 km northeast of Bangui, according to Vladimir Monteiro, spokesperson for the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca). “From now on, either the government disperses us, or we march on Bangui, which is our final objective”General Bobo, commander in the 3R movement (Return, Claim, Rehabilitation), one of the pillars of the coalition, told AFP.
Concerns about the elections
Since December 23, the rebel advance seems to have been halted by the takeover of the country’s fourth city, Bambari, by the peacekeepers, the army, as well as hundreds of reinforcements sent by Rwanda and Russia as part of the bilateral cooperation agreements. Thursday evening, Minusca also received the support of 300 Rwandan peacekeepers “As part of the integrated plan to secure elections”.
On December 20, the G5 +, which includes France, Russia, the UN, the European Union and the World Bank, estimated that the elections, in which the international community has invested more than 30 million ‘euros, had to “To keep within the constitutional deadline”. On Wednesday 23 December, the UN declared “Deeply alarmed” by the violence that “Present serious risks to the safety of civilians and the exercise of the right to vote”.
A Doctors Without Borders official and several civilians died as a result of a shootout on the 28th on a bus in the Central African Republic.
According to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the shooting took place on a public bus in the city of Grimari, about 200 kilometers from Bangui, with the death of several civilians and an organization worker, who was out of service, and four other passengers. were injured.
Several international organizations, including the United Nations and the African Union, have expressed concern about the increase in violence in this country over the presidential and legislative elections held last Sunday.
On Wednesday, the opposition called for the annulment of the elections, disturbed by threats from rebel groups, but the votes were considered “credible” and “legitimate” by the government and international observers.
In a country with two-thirds of the territory occupied by armed groups, thousands of people were prevented from voting or deprived of their voter cards because of insecurity due to the civil war that has been raging in the CAR for almost eight years.
The first partial results are expected on January 4 and the final results on January 19.
A possible second round is scheduled for February 14.
Portugal currently has 243 military personnel on RCA, of which 188 are part of Minusca and 55 are participating in the European Union (EUTM) training mission, led by Portugal, by Brigadier General Neves de Abreu, until September 2021.
Three French Mirages flew over the axes threatened by the rebel coalition on Friday.
After hesitating for a long time, France in turn entered the crisis in the Central African Republic. On Wednesday, three Air Force Mirages flew over the capital, Bangui, then, at low altitude, the main roads around. Since Friday, these axes have been the scene of fighting between loyalist forces and a coalition of rebels which threaten the stability of the capital. For Paris, the objective of the maneuver is to clearly show its support for the government and for President Faustin-Archange Touadéra.
It was not easy. Relations between France and President Touadéra are notoriously strained, especially since the latter made Russia his main ally. On Saturday, an official letter from the Central African authorities to France requesting such overflights had not been answered. On Wednesday morning, President Emmanuel Macron finally spoke on the phone with his counterpart to, according to a French source, “Specify requests”. The other subjects
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The Central African government on Saturday accused former President François Bozizé of “Coup attempt” while a coalition of armed groups is leading an offensive in several localities in the west of the country, and could threaten the capital Bangui.
“François Bozizé is currently on the outskirts of the town of Bossembélé (150 km northwest of the capital, editor’s note) with the clear intention of marching with his men on the city of Bangui (…)This is clearly an attempted coup d’etat ”, said government spokesman Ange-Maxime Kaagui.
The day before, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) had deployed “Forces in Bossemptélé and Bossembélé, (…) targets of attacks (carried out) by armed elements of the 3R, the MPC and the anti-Balaka”, according to a statement.
The merger of the three main armed groups
These three of the most important armed groups which occupy two thirds of the Central African Republic announced their merger and the creation of a coalition in a statement released on Saturday.
While the first round of presidential and legislative elections is scheduled for December 27, but the opposition fears massive fraud, this coalition is now threatening the capital Bangui with a blockade from a distance. Members of armed groups decide “To merge all our movements into a single entity, designated the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), placed under unified command”, they wrote in a statement, inviting “All other armed groups to join”.
A conflict of “low intensity”, but multiple abuses
Tensions are very high in the Central African Republic, where President Touadera’s regime on Wednesday accused former President François Bozizé, excluded from the ballot by the constitutional court, of preparing a “Plan to destabilize the country” while the opposition fears massive fraud in the elections.
The Central African Republic was ravaged by civil war after a coalition of predominantly Muslim armed groups, the Seleka, overthrew General Bozizé’s regime in 2013. Clashes between Seleka and Christian militias and “anti-balaka” animists had caused thousands of deaths.
Since 2018, the war has evolved into a low-intensity conflict, where armed groups compete for control of the country’s resources, mainly livestock and minerals, while regularly perpetrating abuses against civilians.
The troubled role of François Bozizé
Since his return from exile in December 2019, François Bozizé crystallized the concerns of the presidential majority, which accused this recidivist putschist of fomenting a new coup. François Bozizé is suspected of having organized a bloody counterinsurgency since his exile, but he has remained relatively popular despite UN sanctions, which accuse him of supporting guilty anti-balaka militias, according to the UN , war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2013 and 2014.
→ ANALYSIS Former President François Bozizé dismissed from the presidential campaign
Ferdinand-Alexandre Nguendet (g) and former president François Bozizé (c), in Bangui, November 24, 2020 in the Central African Republic / AFP / Archives
“The alliance of several armed groups born in 2019 to challenge the authority of the Bangui regime has been in action for several days with support at the highest level of the State, in Chad and Congo Brazzaville” says Nathalie Dukhan, researcher for the NGO The Sentry and specialist in armed groups in the Central African Republic, interviewed by AFP.
On Wednesday, the spokesperson for Minusca, responsible for securing the elections with its 11,500 peacekeepers, called François Bozizé “To work sincerely for a genuine return of peace (…). La Minusca notes that, following the invalidation of the candidacy of former President Bozizé, and after his recent meetings with the three armed groups (…), security incidents have multiplied and intensified. “
François Bozizé had however reaffirmed his attachment to the electoral process by declaring on Wednesday his support for Anicet Georges Dologuélé’s candidacy to beat President Touadéra.
With the large electorate acquired by François Bozizé, Anicet Georges Dologuélé, an economist by training and prime minister from 1999 to 2001, now appears as the main challenger of President Faustin Archange Touadéra.
In the Central African Republic, the President and Parliament will be elected on Sunday. A fallen ex-head of state is not allowed to run after a judgment. The government accuses him of attempting a coup and asks Russia for protection. The situation is tense.
Russia and Rwanda sent hundreds of soldiers to the Central African Republic ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday. News from the Central African Republic caused “serious concern,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. A march of armed rebels on the capital Bangui was stopped according to UN information. Armed groups control two thirds of the country, around a quarter of the 4.7 million inhabitants are on the run. “We are of course monitoring and analyzing the situation,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Peskov. However, he did not comment on the troop transfer reported by Bangui.
The government in Bangui accuses former head of state François Bozizé of planning a coup. Bozizé denied this allegation. According to the government, Bozizé is said to have been with militia fighters who had marched on Bangui last. Russia has sent several hundred soldiers and heavy military equipment, said Central African government spokesman Ange Maxime Kazagui. The Rwandan troops are already involved in fighting. Private Russian security firms have also been deployed to protect President Faustin Archange Touadéra, who is running for re-election.
UN mission reports stable situation
The French presidential office said that the elections should be held according to plan to avoid a period of “uncertainty”. The French Presidential Office did not receive any response on the dispatch of troops from Russia and Rwanda. Russia has been heavily involved in the exchange for gold and diamond concessions in the former French colony of Central Africa since 2018.
The day before, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission Minusca in Central Africa announced that the situation was “under control”. The rebel groups had left the city of Yaloke, which is on one of the routes towards Bangui. They also backed away in two other areas.
The Minusca sent blue helmets to the city of Mbaiki, where there was fighting on Saturday to stop the advance of the rebels, the Minusca spokesman said. Three of the largest Central African militias were on Friday on roads that are essential for the supply of the capital. Therefore, the government feared a blockade in Bangui. The three rebel groups also announced that they had joined forces.
Court bans ex-president’s candidacy
The rebel groups accuse President Touadéra of wanting to manipulate the elections. A complex conflict has been smoldering in the Central African Republic since a civil war. The Christian President Bozizé was overthrown in 2013 by the predominantly Muslim rebel group the Séléka. Thousands of people have been killed in fighting in recent years.
Bozizé returned from exile a year ago. He actually wanted to compete against Touadéra in a week’s election and was considered its main competitor. The constitutional court forbade his candidacy. As a reason, the judges cited UN sanctions that had been imposed on Bozizé for allegedly supporting militias. Bozizé assured him that he accepted the judgment.
What is castle life like when your name is Marie-France Bokassa? What is the life of a princess like when you are one of the 56 children born to Jean-Bedel Bokassa, a flamboyant tyrant, self-proclaimed emperor of the Central African Republic in 76, deposed and exiled in France in the 1980s?
A thousand and one nights of questions in the head of our guest who introduces us behind the scenes of her childhood on the arm of an extraordinary father and a Taiwanese mother, tossed between the ocher land of Bangui, the Swiss boarding schools and the railings of a French castle. To leaf through for almost 1 hour, In G Major At the castle of the ogre, the courageous and loving autobiography of Marie-France Bokassa.
Rodrigue Apénou, 22, is a student in 2th year of IT management, in Lomé. He doesn’t know anything about sleeping sickness. “I don’t know about sleeping sickness. I never heard of it”, he tells VOA Africa.
Rodrigue Apénou was not born when Togo experienced its last case of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). It’s the same for his comrade Joël Atohoun, aged 21, who had to use his previous knowledge to remember.
“It is a disease thought to be caused by a fly called a tsetse fly. We were taught that in elementary school “, he said proudly as if to taunt Rodrigue. Playing the experts, Joël continues, “as a sign, it can be noted that the person who is bitten will sleep a lot. It’s a bit like that “.
It was in 1996 that Togo recorded its last case of HAT, commonly known as sleeping sickness. The latter is characterized by sleep disorders as confirmed by Dr Kossi Badziklou, former coordinator of the HAT control program in Togo.
“What we see in patients at a given level is a little messy sleep. That is, people who can spend the whole day sleeping and in really abnormal conditions. Someone to whom we serve a dish, who is at the table and who begins by sleeping without eating for example. Someone who goes to the field, who takes his hoe to work, he sits and sleeps all day “, explained this doctor. “Without proper treatment death is inevitable “, added Dr Badziklou.
Eliminating sleeping sickness as a public health problem should not lead to slackening, warns the former coordinator of the disease control program.
“What we should not forget is that the disease can come back. Already in the 1960s many countries were at this stage “, he said. “But there was a relaxation and we were surprised by the resurgence of this disease”, recalled Dr Kossi Badziklou.
By eliminating sleeping sickness as a public health problem, Togo becomes the first in Africa to achieve this feat. WHO has acknowledged that the country has met all the criteria.
“To eliminate human African trypanosomiasis, it must be proven that there have been no indigenous cases at least during the last 10 years. Beyond that, it was necessary to follow up and then present a file. A very good file because it is necessary to document the entire history of the disease since it started in the country “, detailed Dr Fatoumata Binta Diallo, WHO resident representative in Togo.
After the elimination of sleeping sickness, Togo will work to verify that its transmission has stopped. The last level, which is its total eradication, concerns all endemic countries, as was the case on August 25 for wild polio in Africa.
According to a WHO file, the disease is present in 36 African countries.
It is a news that is repeated with some frequency: the Portuguese military deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR) got involved again in combat, what happens for the second time since the current contingent, mostly special paratroopers of the Portuguese Army, arrived in the country in March this year.
The first incident was in May, in the Ndélé region, 650 kilometers northeast of the capital, Bangui, during a patrolling operation that detected the movement of armed groups. On August 14, the second was now advanced by the Armed Forces General Staff, the Portuguese force “has been in combat for more than three hours”, after detecting a camp by an armed group in an operation in the Bocaranga region, 550 km northwest of the capital.
But this is, counting the operations that have been given public news, at least for the sixth time that the Portuguese military members of MINUSCA, the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic, are engaged in combat with some of the armed groups that multiply, in a country where the government controls only one fifth of the territory, in the region surrounding the capital. The rest of the CAR is dominated by about ten and a half militias, with a long history of massacres against civilians – one of the main functions of the international force is, moreover, to protect the population from attacks by these armed groups.
A “particularly dangerous” context
For decades in a situation of instability, the Central African Republic plunged into chaos in 2013, when armed groups aggregated in Séléka (“coalition”) deposed President François Bozizé, which led to the opposition of other militias, grouped under the name anti-Balaka. A civil war that worsened the situation of a country that appears in the rankings as the second poorest in the world.
Major General Carlos Branco was in the Central African Republic in 2019, at the invitation of the United Nations, for an inspection of the logistical support that is provided to the international contingents present in the territory. You speak of a country in a “dramatic situation”, where “health services, electricity, running water and other basic infrastructure are practically non-existent beyond Bangui”.
“It is a country about the size of France, but only about 600 km of paved road. Land displacement during the rainy season beyond the capital, Bangui, is an epic. Life in the most peripheral areas of the country, close to the border with Chad, is very similar to that of the Neolithic “, he tells DN.
It is in this context that the 180 Portuguese soldiers who are part of MINUSCA operate, in what the major-general says is a “particularly dangerous” context. “Not only because of the military capacity of the armed groups” – which despite everything “does not come close to what the Portuguese contingents faced in Afghanistan” – but due to the combination with other types of adversity: “infectious diseases, low levels of health and great limitations of medical evacuation resulting from the combat, either in the country or in rear health facilities “. “This combination of elements increases the risk tremendously”, he stresses.
One of the “best equipped” contingents. Only “the helicopters” are missing
The Portuguese military provide service at MINUSCA Headquarters, in Bangui, and in the Rapid Reaction Force, which has been called upon to act in various parts of the territory, giving rise to the various combats in which the Portuguese military have been involved. “They are ready to act anywhere in the territory, to face unforeseen situations”, explains the major-general, who points out an “excellent relationship” between the Portuguese military and the population.
But it was not always so. “In the beginning, the Portuguese forces were confused with the French [antiga potência colonial da RCA]. The positive and extremely cordial relationship with the population that exists today was won. Over time, they gained notoriety, the result of the decisive way in which they intervened against armed groups. On several occasions, it was the populations in difficulty who asked the Portuguese for help “, says the Major General, which speaks of an “unusually capable performance” by the Portuguese military.
And duly supported by operational means, he considers. “Not only in terms of personal protective equipment, but also in terms of small arms, light armored vehicles (the VAMTAC that replaced the Humvee)” – from Portugal to RCA, 45 armored vehicles followed the military. “Furthermore, it is the only contingent that integrates a team of tactical air traffic controllers. It is not an exaggeration to say that it will be one of the best equipped contingents. What are really missing are the helicopters “says Carlos Branco.
Portugal has been present in the Central African Republic since the beginning of 2017, currently having what is already the 7th National Detached Force on the ground, consisting of 180 military personnel (177 from the Army and three from the Air Force), currently constituting the mission with more Portuguese military personnel abroad.
The previous Portuguese contingents who were part of MINUSCA – the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Mission for the Stabilization of the Central African Republic – were also in a situation of combat on several occasions.
In September 2019, a column of Portuguese military personnel was ambushed in Yadé, north of Bangui, by an “armed group”. In January of the same year, Portuguese parachutists had already been involved in intense combat for five hours, after having been the target of “a violent attack”. “They spent five hours in direct combat with elements of the armed group ex-Seleka UPC (Union for Peace in the Central African Republic), with the aim of protecting civilians and restoring peace, standing between the opposing group and the civilian population. helpless “, then referred the EMGFA. In October 2018, an attack on a patrol also resulted in several hours of fighting with armed groups, which resulted in minor injuries to one of the Portuguese soldiers of the 4th National Force Detached to the CAR. In April of the same year, a soldier from the previous contingent was injured by the shrapnel of a grenade during fighting with armed groups.
In none of these operations were seriously injured, which ended up as a result of a road accident that, in June 2019, when a Portuguese soldier suffered “severe trauma to the lower limbs” which forced the amputation of both legs.
“One of the most unstable countries in the world”
Despite being a country rich in natural resources such as oil, uranium and gold, the Central African Republic is the second poorest country in the world. THE ranking defined by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which is based on the Human Development Index (HDI) of each country (which considers factors such as the nation’s wealth, level of education, average life expectancy or mortality child, among others), gives the Central African Republic an HDI of 0.381 on a scale whose maximum is 1 (for comparison, Portugal’s HDI is 0.850). Only the poorest is Niger.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also puts the country in the same position, with a GDP per capita of 822.5 dollars (the Portuguese was 23.107 in 2019).
Felipe Pathé Duarte, a researcher and analyst on international security issues, recalls that “since independence (in the 60s) that CAR has been marked by violence and instability”. But he is skeptical about the idea that this is a religious conflict: “There is a religious identity, yes. But it fits an ethnic tension led by the Seleka – alliance of mainly Muslim groups – against the government. In response to the brutality of the Seleka, “antibalaka” – Christian militias have emerged that have widespread attacks against Muslim civilians, displacing tens of thousands of people to areas controlled by the Seleka in the North. It was this context, he concludes, that “came to give a” religious “emphasis to the conflict”.
But there are other reasons that explain it. “It is a challenge for Bangui the almost continuous intrusion of its regional neighbors, who exploit the security vacuum to access some of the country’s vast mineral resources”, says Felipe Pathé Duarte. As the name implies, CAR is in the center of the African continent, bordering Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon.
For the researcher, the Central African Republic is “clearly” a failed state – “It is one of the most unstable countries in the world and the second poorest. The government in Bangui is unable to assert itself beyond the surroundings. Therefore, most of the territory is out of control. And this is where militias and gangs proliferate easily. “
The conflict in the Central African Republic, which is roughly the size of France, but with a population that is about half the Portuguese (4.6 million people) has already provoked 700 thousand displaced people and 570 thousand refugees.