In order to better to understand the balance of the world’s economy it is important to look at the poorest countries in Europe. While some governments seem to have perfected the art of generating money from thin air, especially in times of war or other emergencies, the common people are usually not able to do this. Therefore, the best way to measure the wealth of any country is to examine the living standards by which the people live.
The accepted metric for examining the quality of life of any people during a particular period of time is their GDP per capita; which aims to measure each person’s economic output during the period under consideration. Of course, the figures are estimated; and some people will earn far above the stipulated figures, while others still will earn far less.
The obscene wealth of the few will therefore not change the fact that these are Europe’s poorest countries; and that the majority of the peoples live below the poverty line.
Poorest Countries In Europe By Living Standards
GDP Per Capita: $3,300
Comparable Economy: Tunisia (Africa)
Moldova is a country in Eastern Europe. This used to be part of the Soviet Union, and now has neighbors such as Romania, Ukraine. Moldova has a narrow strip of land which meets the Black Sea, although it was only granted that access in 2005. Moldova is a relatively small country; it measure about 33,843.5 km2, and has a population of 2.5 Million people.
Moldova’s population is poor because the lack of food security, and the lack of large scale industrialization. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this country has not found it easy; it had to deal with political instability, trade obstacles, and the subsequent political decline.
Many of the people are farmers, but the income is not enough. Moldova is very vulnerable from the fluctuations in the earnings of its people aboard; who send back money home.
GDP Per Capita: $3,425
Comparable Economy: Swaziland (Africa)
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe with a population of about 41 million. Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, and its neighbors are Russia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. Ukraine has coastlines along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
Ukraine has had a long battle with poverty even though it used to be one of the richest and most developed part of the Soviet Union. When the USSR collapsed, the country was unable to transition into a market economy, and that immediately led to a steep decline.
Ukraine has a lot of potential in agriculture and power generation, but everything will have to be reassessed after the war with Russia.
GDP Per Capita: $5,020
Comparable Economy: Tonga (Oceania)
Kosovo is a partially recognized country in South-East Europe. It declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. The country has a population of about 1.8 million, and covers a land area that is roughly 10,887 km2.
Kosovo is one of the poorest countries in Europe because it has not yet grown its economy to provide its population with a good quality of life despite making some improvement over the course of the last few years.
Agriculture in Kosovo is impeded because the land is usually broken into small units owned by individual families. The mining industry has not been adequately exploited, and the country has not attracted enough investors.
GDP Per Capita: $5,373
Comparable Economy: Jamaica (Americas)
Albania is a country in Southeastern Europe. Its neighbors include Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Greece, the Adriatic Sea, as well as the Ionian and Mediterranean Seas. Albania has a population of about 2.8 Million people, and a land area of 28,748 km2. Albania was also a part of the Soviet Union.
Albania is poor because even though it has successfully turned from a socialist economy into a mixed economy, most of the industries remain quite underdeveloped. The country has potential in Wine Making, Fishing, Agriculture, and Industry. Even though an impressive number of Albanians are employed, their earnings are very low.
GDP Per Capita: $6,096
Comparable Economy: Tuvalu (Oceania)
North Macedonia was called Macedonia before February 2019. It is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in 1991 as one of the states that emerged from Yugoslavia. North Macedonia landlocked; its neighbors include Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania. North Macedonia is a rather small country; it occupies an area of 25,713 km2, and has a population of 1.8 million.
North Macedonia is poor because it has not been able to engage its total human capital; unemployment stands at 16.6%. Inflation is another perennial worry; if the people are going to enjoy a better quality of life, inflation has to be brought under control.
North Macedonia is making some progress; it is working on attracting investments by reducing tax. If more industries can be brought in, the unemployment rate can go down, and the inflation rate can also be brought under control through more production.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
GDP Per Capita: $6,536
Comparable Economy: Iraq (Asia)
Bosnia and Herzegovina is located somewhere between south and southeast Europe. The county is quite small; it has a population of about 3.4 million, and occupies an area of 51,129 km2. Bosnia’s neighbors include; Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia. The county has a narrow coastline on the Adriatic Sea.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is poor because it has not recovered from its war for independence from Yugoslavia which lasted from 1992 to 1995. It culminated in an ethnic cleansing, and destruction of infrastructure. Most of the victims of the war were men, and so the duty fell to woman to provide for their families. Women are paid less than men in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and there is still a need for more investments in infrastructure.
GDP Per Capita: $6,604
Comparable Economy: Libya (Africa)
Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It occupies 207,600 square kilometers, and has a population of 9.3 million people. Belarus is near Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Belarus is one of the former Soviet Countries; its culture and language are identical to the Old Soviet Union.
Belarus is still considered poor even though its economy has recorded steady and continues growth. Belarus has struggled like other countries after the disintegration of the Soviet Union; it had a period of great difficulty after independence, but has gradually started to gain a solid economy.
Belarus has a good agricultural sector; it also produces heavy machinery such as tractors, and also energy. Belarus can brings its population out of poverty by investing more so as to increase production capacity.
GDP Per Capita: $8,599
Comparable Economy: Brazil (Americas)
Turkey is a country located between Western Asia, and Southeast Europe. It is near Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. It has access to the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Aegean Sea. Turkey has a population of 84 million, and occupies a land area of 783,356 km2.
Turkey is one of the poorest countries as far as Europe is concerned, because the earning potential of its people is still relatively low when compared with those of the more developed European countries.
About 11% of the population is at risk of poverty; despite some very good infrastructure, and relative progress in the economy, much still has to be done to achieve the country’s potential.
GDP Per Capita: $8,704
Comparable Economy: Mauritius (Africa)
Montenegro became an independent country in 2006. Before that it was Serbia and Montenegro, before that it was part of Yugoslavia. The country is located in Southeastern Europe, and its neighbors are: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania and Italy. The country has an opening to the Adriatic Sea. It occupies a land area of 13,812 km2, and has a population of 620,739.
Montenegro is considered poor because it does not meet European standards for industry and infrastructure. It is a service economy; although agriculture plays a very important role. About 50,000 families are engaged in agriculture, and the country relies heavily on foreign investments. Wages are quite low, and the government needs to make the conditions of work better, and ensure that the people have access to a source of income after their active years.
GDP Per Capita: $8,748
Comparable Economy: Gabon (Africa)
Serbia is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe. It is close to Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Perhaps its closest country is Montenegro with which it was one country until 2006. Serbia has a land area of 88,361 km2 and has a population of 7.1 million people.
Serbia is comparatively poor as far as Europe goes. This is because it has not been able to develop its economy. Serbia is susceptible to various natural problems including flooding, and the attendant consequences such as food insecurity.
Youth unemployment is around 40 percent, and that is because there is an acute need for industries to be established in the country so as to provide jobs. Education is also a very important factor; it correlates directly with a family’s earning potential.
Many of the poorest countries in Europe have recently been involved in a war. War is synonymous with destruction of infrastructure, and that breeds poverty. Even after the war is over the country may continue in a long period of decline. Economic recovery needs spending on infrastructure; it is also important to attract investors who can help turn the economy around by establishing industries which will create employment.
When the people are employed, they can then spend more money in commerce and other aspects of the economy; thus ensuring that money remains in circulation.
Further Reading: Richest Countries In Africa By Living Standards