Often, the assumption is that the world’s poorest countries must have a low cost of living; unfortunately, the average annual income (GNI) in poor countries is often too low to purchase many of the things Western Civilization considers basic necessities of life. With this discrepancy, it is possible to see how so many people are going without food and an education. Below is a list of what you can buy with $10 in the World’s 10 poorest countries.
Afghanistan (GNI = $426): $10 buys 35 pounds of Pakistani sugar, or 17 pounds of rice
Madagascar (GNI = $450): $10 buys five dozen eggs, five liters of domestic draft beer or two seats for an international film release at the cinema
Malawi (GNI = $900): $10 buys 22 pounds of rice
Niger (GNI = $3,716): $10 buys 20 cigarettes
Central African Republic (GNI = $800): $10 buys four and a half pounds of apples, or 11 pounds of potatoes
Eritrea (GNI – $403): $10 buys ten liters of gasoline
Liberia (GNI = $436): $10 buys 15 liters of mineral water
Burundi (GNI = $160): $10 buys five and a half pounds of rice, or one combo meal at a local fast food joint
Zimbabwe (GNI = $150): $10 buys a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, or five cappuccinos
Democratic Republic of the Congo (GNI = $120): $10 buys financial literacy training material for one woman
This list demonstrates how important it is to provide the means rather than the product; shipping water across the ocean rings up an endless bill, but digging a well could save hundreds and is a one-time labor. A small loan is all it takes to provide a woman with the knowledge to later provide for herself and her children.
The cost of food skyrockets when there is a shortage and evaporates when there is abundance, so rather than a single meal, they often need support for their agricultural systems to provide a cushion for farmers. Our money would be well served providing farmers with the knowledge and equipment to maintain a reliable price on their product. This would not only allow farmers to feed and care for their families, but keep food available and affordable for the masses.
– Lydia Caswell