Data from the International Monetary Fund shows that energy-rich Qatar is the wealthiest country in the world.
With a modest population, extending towards three million, petroleum and natural gas are the mainstays of the Arab country’s economy, accounting for more than 70% of total government revenue.
Qatar has invested its sovereign wealth, amassed from oil and natural gas, wisely – investing in real estate in London, including ownership of the The Shard skyscraper.
Wealthy countries are measured in terms of their GDP, while a country’s prosperity is its per capita GDP – a country’s output per person (obtained by dividing its GDP by the population) – calculated in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).
Simply put, residents of the countries whose GDP has the highest PPP per capita have the most money.
Qatar leads the race in this regard with $133,254 per person. Macau, the autonomous gambling mecca on the south coast of China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong, is second on the list, at $126,584 per person, with Luxembourg third ($112,622 per person)
- Qatar: $133,254
- Macau: $126,584
- Luxembourg: $112,622
- Singapore: $102,026
- Brunei: $86,479
- Ireland: $81,686
- Norway: $76,620
- United Arab Emirates: $72,182
- Kuwait: $69,257
- Hong Kong: $67,557
- Switzerland: $66,779
- San Marino: $63,045
In Africa, the small island nation of Mauritius leads the wealth stats. The sharp rise in Mauritius’ wealth over the past decade is primary due to its fundamentals – having a strong economic growth and a stable government – and also its ability to draw wealthy individuals to do business, and live there.
South Africa is sixth in Africa when it comes to wealth, plagues by a massive divide between the rich and poor, and hobbled by a stagnant economy.
- Mauritius: $24,966
- Maldives: $21,319
- Botswana: $18,582
- Algeria: $16,085
- Egypt: $14,080
- South Africa: $14,041
- Tunisia: $12,862
- Nigeria: $6,129
A report by Bloomberg in 2018, suggested that Qatar is on track to lose its wealth status to Macau.
The global casino hub’s economy will reach the equivalent of about $143,116 per person by 2020, according to projections from the International Monetary Fund. That will put Macau ahead of the current No. 1 Qatar, which will reach $139,151 in the same time frame.
A former Portuguese outpost on the southern tip of China, Macau has become a gambling mecca since returning to Chinese control almost two decades ago. It’s the only place in China where casinos are legal, turning it into a magnet for high-rollers from the mainland. Macau’s gross domestic product has more than tripled from about $34,500 per capita in 2001, the IMF data shows.
The wealth gap between the two places is also expected to widen beyond 2020, with Macau’s GDP per capita set to reach about $172,681 by 2023, according to data compiled from the April edition of the IMF’s Global Economic Outlook database. Qatar’s, meanwhile, will grow to just $158,117.
Elsewhere, financial hub Singapore’s GDP per capita is expected to top six digits by next year and is on track to grow to about $117,535 by 2023, while Hong Kong – across the water from Macau – will touch almost $80,000 by that time, the IMF projections show.
Three European countries – Luxembourg, Ireland, and Norway – made the top 10 places expected to be the world’s wealthiest by 2020, while the US came in at No. 12.