The world’s richest countries

Over the past decade, emerging markets have shown massive economic growth, earning a place amongst the wealthiest nations in the world, as measured by GDP.

According the IMF’s 2014 World Economic Outlook report, the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013 stood at approximately $73.98 trillion.

The IMF expects total global output (real GDP) to increase by 3.6% in 2014 to US$76.8 trillion, with an annual growth rate of just under 4% to follow through to 2019 to reach just over US$100.8 trillion.

Actual figures released by the IMF in its World Economic Outlook database shows which countries in the world are the richest, contributing the most money (in dollar terms) to the global GDP.

The data provides a snapshot of the world’s economic situation as at April 2014.

Looking at the data over the past decade (2004 – 2014), it’s clear that emerging markets have shown massive growth, led by China which saw its GDP output increase by 420% to $10 trillion.

The World’s richest countries by GDP

# Country GDP 10 year growth
1 United States 17,852.38 42.8%
2 China 10,027.55 419.1%
3 Japan 4,846.32 4.1%
4 Germany 3,875.75 41.9%
5 France 2,885.69 40.2%
6 United Kingdom 2,827.51 27.2%
7 Brazil 2,215.95 233.8%
8 Italy 2,171.48 24.9%
9 Russia 2,092.20 253.9%
10 India 1,995.77 176.6%

Looking at Africa, however, there has only been one real shift amongst the continent’s largest economies, namely the rebasing of Nigeria’s GDP measure year to 2010, pushing the country’s total GDP contribution above former leading economy, South Africa.

The World Bank has retro-actively applied the rebasing in its data, pushing Nigeria ahead of South Africa in the GDP rankings – however, data from the IMF at April 2014, still places South Africa ahead of Africa’s new economic king.

Notably, however, over the past decade, Africa’s top economies all showed triple-figure growth except for South Africa, which showed GDP growth of 61.4%.

South Africa is also the poorest performer of all BRICS nations.

In the second quarter of 2014, South Africa reported growth of just 0.6%, after falling o.6% in the first quarter of the year. The IMF projects the country’s economic growth to hit 2.3% in 2014.

Africa top 5

# Country GDP 10 year growth
1 South Africa 354.15 61.4%
2 Nigeria 316.04 259.8%
3 Egypt 286.11 263.0%
4 Algeria 219.45 157.2%
5 Angola 129.78 611.2%

GDP per capita

Total GDP tells one story – but GDP per capita is often a truer reflection of the economic might of a country.

While the world’s GDP ruler, the USA, still ranks within the top 10 by this measure, it’s wealth, averaged amongst a population of over 314 million, means its only the 9th richest.

With a population over 550,000, Luxembourg’s $64.16 billion GDP means that the nation ranks top for GDP per capita, with $116,134 per person.

The world’s richest countries by GDP per capita

# Country GPD per capita 10 year growth
1 Luxembourg 116,134.46 56.0%
2 Norway 99,573.67 76.1%
3 Qatar 96,635.26 119.4%
4 Switzerland 86,145.06 69.5%
5 Denmark 61,888.81 36.5%
6 Australia 61,137.03 86.3%
7 Sweden 59,726.82 48.6%
8 Singapore 55,568.45 105.4%
9 United States 54,979.94 31.4%
10 Austria 52,215.65 46.2%

In Africa, the Seychelles, with a GDP contribution of $1.5 billion, boasts a GDP per capita figure of $15,848. The island country has a population of 94,000 people.

Tellingly, despite having a smaller GDP than Nigeria, South Africa’s GDP per capita measure is far higher than Africa’s top economy at $6,595 per person.

Nigeria’s GDP per capita figure is $1,816, according to the IMF data.

Africa top 5

# Country GDP per capita
10 year growth
1 Seychelles 15,848.41 55.7%
2 Gabon 13,032.24 116.7%
3 Mauritius 9,712.17 82.0%
4 Libya 9,439.44 57.5%
5 Botswana 7,183.15 48.34%

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The world’s richest countries