In the previous months, we published a list of the countries with the highest minimum wage and provided our readers with some information on the economic standards of some top countres.
However, and unfortunately, the list of minimum wages by country has two sides and not every country is as lucky as Switzerland or Canada when it comes to minimum wage regulations or crime rates (see the countries with the lowest crime rates). While those countries pay their workers the highest minimum wages (mind you, it is also quite expensive to live in those ones), it is almost impossible to live on a minimum wage in some parts of the world.
In this list, we’ll take a look the other end of the countries with the highest minimum wage, that is, the countries with the lowest minimum wages. There’s one thing to notice, though, in some countries like Norway, Iceland or Somalia, there is no minimum wage set by the government. Some of them prefer to set a minimum payment on a sectoral basis, while others (mostly underdeveloped ones) have totally random payments, without any regulation whatsoever. In this list of EcoTripSos, the countries that you see are only the ones that have a legal regulation about the minimum wage.
Before moving on the countries with the lowest minimum wage, here are some more articles about socio-economics for you to have a look at:
1. Countries with the highest minimum wage
2. The most peaceful countries in the world
3. The poorest countries in the world
4. Countries where religion is not important
5. The most militarized countries in the world
6. Countries with the highest suicide rates
7. Countries with the safest roads
8. Largest countries by population
9. Countries with the lowest crime rates
Without further ado, let’s have a look at the top-10 countries where minimum wages are the lowest in the world.
Independent from Portuguese colonial rule since 1973, Guinea-Bissau, a neighbor of Senegal, is a country where making money is almost impossible. The working week set by the law lasts 45 hours and a legal worker on the minimum wage can earn $462 a year ($38,5 a month). These numbers make Guinea-Bissau the 10th country in the world with lowest minimum wage.
Like the other countries in this list, Guinea-Bissau’s main source of production is agriculture and the country produces coconuts and cashew nuts predominantly. Moreover, the country is among the last countries in the Human Development Index. More than 60% of the population is poor. Now part of an IMF reform program, the country is a bit more stabilized than its past in economic terms, however, drug-trafficking is still a huge problem within the country. A country with almost so heavy industry, Guinea-Bissau is among the countries with the lowest minimum wage in the world.
A West African country, literaly meaning “the land of free”, Liberia was once an American colony, predominantly used for slave trade. Having a large number of ethnic diversity within, the country has many languages spoken but the official language is still English. Moreover, due to its neverending economic problems, Liberia is the 9th country with the lowest minimum wage in the world with an annual minimum salary of $446, which makes $37,2 a month.
Just like Malawi, Liberia is one of the poorest countries on earth where only 15% of the population is formally employed. The main source of income for the country is unfortunately sources of foreign aid but they also sell iron, timber and rubber to some extent. Since the country has never been politically stable, the economy has never been thoroughly stabilized. The country’s diamond and timber exports were sanctioned by the United Nations several times for violations of human rights and supporting rebels in Sierra Leone. Nowadays, the country is looking for ways to drill off-shore oil and it has the most expensive electricity in the world. With almost no production, Liberia is one of the countries with the lowest minimum wage.
Yet another African country, Malawi was a British colony and now it is a British protectorate within the Commonwealth. One of the least developed countries in the world, Malawi is quite dependent on other countries to meet its needs. Moreover, the country is the 8th one with the lowest minimum wage with a minimum annual salary of $405 ($33,75 per month).
Although Malawi is among the safest investment destinations in the world, the country still has to rely on agriculture as the main source of income, producing tobacco, tea and sugar. Services and industry are also important parts within the Malawi economy. Although the country does not have to import electricity, no oil production is present within Malawi, so it has to import all the oil it needs. Malawi is also famous for the quality of its recreational drugs. In spite of all the problems in generating income, Malawi is the 8th country in the world with the lowest minimum wage.
A country in West Africa next to Senegal, Gambia is the 7th country with the lowest minimum wage with $312 per year ($26 per month). In the modern period, the country was initially a slave resource for Portugal and later it became a British colony, for the same reasons. On 18 February 1965, the country has become independent, finally.
A free market economy, Gambia’s main sources of income are agriculture and tourism. The country produces, peanuts, livestock and fish. The industry of Gambia is also agriculture related, whose main focus is the processing of agricultural products. Although Gambia has a growing economy, it is still among the countries with the lowest minimum wage.
Beautiful Tanzania, having Serengeti National Park where a huge number of wild species reside, started declaring independence from Britain in 1961 under different country names. In the country where the economy doesn’t look as bright as the nature, a worker on the minimum wage can make $290 a year or $24,2 a month upon completing the legal 45-hour working week . Taking this into account, Tanzania is the 6th country in the world where minimum wage is the lowest.
There is a high rate of hunger and malnutrition in Tanzania, making the country one of the poorest countries in the world and more than 65% of the population have to live under $1,25 for a day. The country’s economy is based on agriculture, specifically, maize, potatoes, rice, bananas and cassava. Coffee and tobacco is also produced in Tanzania, where another source of agricultural income is livestock farming. As for the industry in Tanzania, the country produces income through mining, construction, electricity and natural gas. However, most Tanzanians still do not have access to electricity, which also impacts industry negatively. Natural beauty brings Tanzania a lot of tourists, which also serves as a serious means of income. Nevertheless, the country is yet to solve the problems which make it among the countries with the lowest minimum wage.
Among the biggest countries in the world by population, Bangladesh is not so big when it comes to economy. Having declared independence from Britain (British India) in 1971, the country is able to pay only $232 a year ($19,3 or 1500 Taka a month) to a legal worker on the minimum wage for 48 hours of working per week.
Within the country, the service sector takes up the most space in business, followed by industry and agriculture. Moreover, Bangladesh has the second largest textile industry in the world. In the recent years, the country has made a leap in terms of the production of pharmaceuticals, leather, electronics and shipbuilding. Also having quite fertile soil, Bangladesh produces large amounts of tea, wheat, rice, sugarcane and cotton, backed by vast productions of fish and sea products. Moreover, the country has natural gas and coal reaching large amounts. Despite all the productivity, Bangladesh is the fifth country with the lowest minimum wage.
A member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (which I find strange), Kyrgyzystan became an independent country in 1991, when USSR dissolved. The country does not have a strong economy and the minimum wage is among the lowest of the low. In Kyrgyzystan, which is the 4th country in the world where minimum wage is the lowest, a working week lasts 40 hours and you’re paied $217 (970 Som) a year or $18,08 a month for that .
A former Soviet Union country, Kyrgyzystan is the second poorest country in Central Asia. Having lost their market following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzystan had to face a lot of economic problems. These days, agriculture is the main source of income within the country’s territory, making money on livestock, wool, meat, dairy products, wheat, potatoes, tobacco and vegetables. As for the mineral resources, the country has large amounts of coal, uranium and gold but lacks oil and natural gas. It also exports energy which is produced hydroelectrically due to the water sources in the country. With these sources of income and expenses, Kyrgyzystan is among the countries with the lowest minimum wage.
The third country with the lowest minimum wage in the world is a Caucasian country, Georgia, namely. A part of the Soviet Union until its disintegration, the country declared independence on 9 April 1991, which led to many conflicts and the Russo-Georgian War in 2008. The minimum salary in Georgia is (on average) $136 annually.
Due to its beautiful nature and weather, Georgia’s economy is mainly based on tourism and agriculture. Economic indicators also show that ‘ease of doing business’ in the country is quite high, but so is the unemployment rate (over 11%). The country still has to import oil, gas, machinery and other equipments. The main source of income for the country, as stated above, is tourism, along with taxes, which have been increased in the recent years and resulted in a budget surplus. Nowadays, the average income for a household in Georgia is about $200 and the economy is shifting its focus from agriculture to services. So, this is the economic situation in the country with the third lowest minimum wage in the world.
Cuba, famous for its cigars and Castro, declared independence from Spain in 1878. From 1902 to 1953, the country remained a republic. Since 1953, though, Cuba has been a Marxist – Leninist Single Party State. As a matter of fact, it is not really surprising that Cuba is weak in payments since the country already provides its residents with accommodation, health services (in which they may be the world leader) and education free of charge. For that reason, the state doesn’t actually have to pay high wages to its workers. In the country, a working week is 44 hours, through which one could make $108 a year or $9 a month. Cuba is the 3rd country in the world with the lowest minimum wage.
As for Cuba’s economy, the state owns most of the production means, along with the labor force. However, as of today, 22% of the country’s employment rate belongs to the private sector. However, the payment is a bit different since the country still, to some extent, relies on the principles of socialism. A private firm usually makes the payment to the government, then the government pays the employee, deducing the taxes. This way, the average monthly salary in Cuba could be stated as $19, or around 450-500 Cuban pesos. The country’s economy runs on Covertible Pesos and US Dollars. The country produces its export income through the sales of tobacco, sugar, fish, medicine, coffee and fruits. These days, buying and selling property is also allowed within Cuba. The country also has resources of nickel and crude oil, the latter of which is still tested to be drilled. Tourism is also among the main sources of income for the country. Although Cuba is among the countries with the lowest minimum wage in the world, it seems to be growing day by day through the economic precautions recently adopted.
Another African country, Uganda is the world leader in “the lowest minimum wage”. Having declared independence from Britain in 1962, Uganda today has to struggle with a lot of internal conflicts (child abuse, terrorism etc.). When it comes to wages, an Ugandan worker on the minimum wage has to work 40 hours a week for a yearly minimum salary of $29 or a minimum monthly salary of $2,42 (around 6000 Ugandan shillings). Uganda is the top country where minimum wage is the lowest.
The main goods that Uganda exports are coffee, tea, fish and some other products which consitute the country’s source of export income. The country has also vast resources of fertile areas for agriculture, cobalt and copper, also receiving regular rainfall throughout the year. Having also natural gas and crude oil underground, more than half of Uganda’s economy relies on agriculture and service sector also generates a large amount of the country’s economic resources. Although the country’s economy grows annually, so does poverty, which seems to be a problematic issue. Moreover, the men in the country are reported to be working 12 – 18 hours on a daily basis, which could easily make one ask why they have the lowest minimum wage in the world despite working so hard.
As you can see in the list, African workers have to work under really difficult conditions and for almost no money. In Uganda, for instance, one has to work 160 hours a month for only $2,41.
But the numbers provided are only for the institutions which are aware that some rules and laws exist. There is yet a huge number of people who has to work illegally under serious violations of human rights.
So you’d like to have a look at the other end of the list? Check out our “Countries With the Highest Minimum Wage” list. If you’re interested in crime rates, you can also check out the Countries With the Lowest Crime Rates!
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