All these extremely fragile and underdeveloped economies have either recently been through a civil war or are suffering from ongoing sectarian or ethnic conflicts.
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One of Africa’s smallest nations, Malawi has significantly improved its position from last year when it was the world’s third poorest country with per capita GDP of $819.69. Its improved economic growth rate has been overseen by a stable and democratic government which has received considerable financial support from both the IMF and the World Bank. The country has traditionally suffered from poor fiscal control, but there are signs that this is now improving. However, with its vital agricultural sector largely dependent upon rain-fed crops, the economy has recently experienced weather-related shocks which have delayed the predicted recovery. Risk management against drought, pests and disease continues to be a significant challenge as agriculture retains a central position in Malawi’s economy. Whilst living standards in urban areas are generally improving, continuing inflation and high levels of food insecurity mean that poverty in rural areas is currently increasing. According to the World Bank, an estimated 17% of the population were unable to meet their food requirements in 2015/16 and the need for outside aid remains high.