Why are Poor Countries Poor?

Some countries have laws and legal practices that aren't in the interests of the nation, but rather in the interest of the ruling elite and their corrupt officials. The World Bank maintains a ranking of the difficulties in starting up a business, registering property and dealing with licenses among a large selection of countries.

The worst country, on the 175th place, is the Democratic Republic of Congo. On the 152th place you find Cameroon. Tim Hartford (2006) in The Undercover Economist quotes a conversation with a local:
'Don't people complain about the roads?'
'They complain, but nothing is done. The government tells us there is no money. But there is plenty of money coming from the World Bank and from France and Britain and America - but they put it in their pockets. They do not spend it on the roads'
'Are there elections in Cameroon?'
'Yes! There are elections. President Biya is always re-elected with a 90-per-cent majority'
'Do 90 per cent of people vote for President Biya?'
'No, they do not. He is very unpopular. But still there is a 90-per-cent majority'

Links: World Bank, Book