Malawi remains bottom on World Bank income ranking

Post was last updated: January 26, 2016

A recent paper by the World Bank ranking countries by income for 2016 has shown that Malawi remains at the bottom of the list.

According to the working paper, released early this month, Malawi is in the same group with Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzan ia and Mali among others, 31 countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) of less than US$1,045.

GNI is converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates of a country. The report said since 50 years ago, Malawi’s position has remained the same.

“The World Bank has used a specific measure of economic development – gross national income (GNI) per capita – for the purpose of ranking and classifying countries for over 50 years.

The first compendium of these statistics was called the World Bank Atlas, published in 1966 – it had just two estimates for each country: its population, and its per capita gross national product in US dollars, both for 1964.

“Then, the highest reported average income per capita was Kuwait, with US$3,290. In second place was the United States, with US$3,020, third was Sweden, a fair way behind, with US$2,040. The bottom three were Ethiopia, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), and Malawi, with GNP per capita estimates of US$50, US$45 and US$40 respectively. It probably comes as no surprise that today Norway is top. Malawi is still bottom,” reads the report in part.

Presently, economies are divided into four income groupings: low, lowermiddle, upper-middle, and high.

Income is measured using gross national income (GNI) per capita, in U.S. dollars, converted from local currency using the World Bank Atlas method while estimates of GNI are obtained from economists in World Bank country units.

Popu lat ion s ize i s estimated by World Bank demographers from a variety of sources, including the UN’s biennial World Population Prospects.

For the current 2016 fiscal year, low-income economies are defined as those with a GNI per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method, of $1,045 or less in 2014; middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita of more than $1,045 but less than $12,736; high-income economies are those with a GNI per capita of $12,736 or more. Lowermiddle- income and uppermiddle- income economies are separated at a GNI per capita of $4,125.

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