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The 20 Richest Countries in the World in 2017

What makes a country the richest country in the world? Is it the available natural resources? Could it be the amount it exports or import that it garners in? To the common brain it might seem very overwhelmingly complicated, so let me break it down into simpler terms for you. The most quantifiable way to measure riches in the economy is to take into account the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a country. GDP is the monetary value of the final goods and services produced within a country, which is, finding out how much is produced in a place, for a given period of time.

The top richest countries list have some really interesting contenders on them, which just goes to show that you don’t have to be a big and mighty country to rake in the moolah. Or maybe, that’s exactly why they can stay rich. Here are 20 of the richest countries in the world as calculated by GDP per capita.

20. Iceland- GDP: $48,070

With the national currency that goes from strength to strength and increasing prices, Iceland is well on its way to trumping Switzerland for being rich. The prices of goods and real estate are climbing exponentially here as well. Much of Iceland’s wealth can be credited to the thriving fisheries in the area in addition to the tourism and energy.

19. Germany - GDP: $48,189

With its central location in Europe as well as being well connected with rivers, Germany has a strategic advantage making it accessible as well being quite self reliant on making its own energy and steel. All of this coupled with great facilities for education and a strong currency makes this country a steady fixture on the list.

18. Australia - GDP:$48,806

As the world’s 12 largest economy, Australia has its exports goods to thank. The continent is surrounded by the oceans making it a coastal hub of trade and commerce. Its major cities Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide are found in coastal areas. Its capital is Canberra inland. This country is known for its Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, a vast interior desert wilderness called the Outback, and unique animal species like kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses. The economy is a booming mixed market, with its service sector being the major contributor to the GDP.

17. Sweden- GDP: $49,678

The engineering industry is prominent in this country and so is the trade. Sweden has an abundance of iron and timber. The telecom, pharmaceuticals and the automobile industry also contribute to the strength of the economy. Sweden has one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and made it unscathed through the financial crisis that hit the world between 2008 and 2010. There are common goods that Sweden exports like paper, wood, road vehicles and iron to name a few.

16. Bahrain- GDP: $50,302

Bahrain is known to have an open economy with its currency quite valued in the world. The banking and tourism sectors generate the bulk of the returns. And they have their vast resources of oil to be grateful for. It also has the third largest reserves of natural gas in the world.

15. The Netherlands — GDP: $50,846

The kingdom of Netherlands has been known for their prosperity since the 17th century even though industrialization came upon them much later. Their income is largely generated from their oil refineries, food processing, and machine production. Their agricultural sector provides a thriving yield as well, which contributes to their exports.

14. Saudi Arabia — GDP: $54,078

This country is dripping in oil. This is the backbone of their economy and is known to have 18% of the world’s identified petroleum reserves. This sector accounts for 55% of the GDP and another 40% is from the private sector which is made up of non nationals. The kingdom has been aware of their reliance on their oil reserves and has attempted to diversify into various other sectors so that they don’t put all their eggs in one basket.

13. United States — GDP: $57,293

The U S of A has a varied and wide demography that helps in its diverse and abundant natural resources, which in turn allows them more advantages in their trade and commerce. The architecture, film industry and its general high productivity in its automotive and technological sectors work hand in hand to ensure this great nation stays on this list. It also boasts of the world’s most influential markets. It is also considered a tax heaven and being the most technologically powerful country in the world the economy is dependent on its service sector. Being the capitalistic economy it is, USA has greater flexibility than other countries in important decision making. This country still has its struggles especially in the realm of the middle class.

12. Japan — GDP: $58,094

Hong Kong, Japan's capital, features very prominently in the list of the top richest countries as it is called the gateway to China. Its financial services industry and strong rules of trade makes it a lucrative choice for business. It also offers low taxation and an almost free port trade options as well. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is also a force to reckon with.

11. Switzerland — GDP: $59,375

This beautiful country known for its chocolate, cheese and lolloping hills is also one of the finest examples of a firm economy because it has kept to a very high standard and resorted to high tariffs. Switzerland also offers subsidized agriculture which furthermore boosts the revenues considerably. Financial services contribute to the robust GDP growth along with pharmaceutical, manufacturing and tourism industries. Exports also are an important source of income along with clocks.

10. San Marino — GDP: $64,443

The republic of San Marino is considered to have a highly stable economy. It is also one f the smallest economies in the world. The republic also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the whole of Europe. Geographically it gets a bit of a shadow from Italy yet it still stands tall when it boasts of no national debts. The tourism industry is a major contributor to the revenues of the area.

9. United Arab Emirates - GDP: $67,696

The UAE has a humongous land area with a population of over 9 million. Most of the income is derived from oil, but the services and telecom sectors also contribute heavily. They have taken their cues from Saudi and have focused on diversifying and developing others sectors including technology and services. The tourism industry has received much attention and has contributed to keeping the economy afloat during the financial crisis in 2007-2009. They also offer zero income tax which makes it a hub for businesses.

8. Norway - GDP: $69,296

This Scandinavian country is known for its stripped back rustic beauty and also for its lush greenery and museums. The economy is a state owned mixed economy which has shown great progress since industrialization. Fishing, natural resources and petroleum exploration drives the economy. It follows independent monetary policy. Norway is known for its excellent living standards. It is an extremely productive country with a very low unemployment rate and free healthcare.

7. Ireland - GDP: $69,374

Dublin the capital is known for being a tourist destination as well as the birthplace of many prolific writers. The economy is dependent on trade and investment. Ireland has also pioneered the list for highest quality of life. The growth of Ireland’s economy had plateaued after 2008 but it still has a high GDP. There is lot of dependence on foreign investments. It is country that has an abundance of oil reserves. It also has many other resources like fisheries, timber, minerals and hydropower.

6. Kuwait - GDP: $71,263

Another Arab country that may seem diminutive in size yet packs a wealthy punch in oil. It has most of the revenues steeped in petroleum reserves and accounts for 95% of the export and government revenue. Apparently, Kuwait has around 10% of the world’s reserves of crude oil. They also have set their sights on diversifying and developing the other sectors so as to keep them on a better standing for the future. The constitutional emirate has a parliamentary system.

5. Brunei - GDP: $79,710

There is a great combination of foreign and domestic entrepreneurs in this small but wealthy country that contributes to the GDP. It is also well established by exports of crude oil and natural gas. There are no income taxes or sales taxes and the government provides assistance with education and health care. After gaining its independence from the British in 1984 Brunei has made huge strides in its economic growth. It has developed wealth from petroleum and natural gas. The country also has the second-highest Human Development Index among the Southeast Asian nations, after Singapore, and is classified as a "developed country".

4. Singapore - GDP: $87,082

The backbone of the city’s economy is its financial services sector as well as its liberal economic policies that welcome innovation and change every step of the way. Singapore is also known to have the second busiest port in the world , it relies on the shipping and transportation services . It also has an added advantage of being hugely multi cultural with an open trade friendly economy. The standard of living is considered quite high with positive strides made in the fields of education, health, life expectancy and growth. Singapore also features regularly on many other lists like top cleanest cities in the world and the best airport in the world making it a globally recognized country. The strong manufacturing sector and the service sector are the two main areas that contribute to Singapore’s prosperous journey. Singapore depends heavily on trade and commerce.

3. Macau - GDP: $96,147

Being the largest gambling center in the world,(sorry Vegas), the bulk of the earnings comes from the most obvious source. There are efforts to develop the tourism, manufacturing and administrative sectors. This former Portuguese colony also made its mark by being the place with the second highest life expectancy rate in the world. This is the only place in China where gambling is legal .The region is gaining much benefit from the increasing Chinese middle-class as the wealth begins to rise from the world’s second largest economy. More than 16 million tourists from China visited Macau last year.

2. Luxembourg - GDP: $101,936

This country has made its mark by being a permanent fixture n this list. The financial sector and its conservative policies as well as its robust industrial and steel sectors are all major contributors to its wealth. Banking takes up most if the economy. This small European country is mostly rural with monumental charm and aesthetic beauty. It is also considered to be quite the model country as it has found a harmonious co existence between lush green pastures and highly industrial. Tourism is also a sought after sector here. The economy is also known to be highly innovative in its nature with low inflation rates.

1. Qatar - GDP: $129,726 - The richest nation in the world

Here it is the lucky, wealthy, last. Qatar is located in south west Asia. This country ranks numero uno as it has a well developed petroleum industry which constitutes70% of the government revenues and 85% of its export earnings. It also has the privilege of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup which will be advantageous in helping the economy grow further. The population is over 21 million with a lot of expats moving in search of business and trade deals. It also has a reputation of using forced labor from Asia and parts of Africa. The tourism sector also gains foreground for earning revenues. There is definitely an edge that Qatar enjoys being a small country with large reserves of oil, it is definitely in a very good position safe from any looming financial woes in the near or distant future. This also allows them a highly influential standing with the other Arab countries in an around the area

Which country is the richest? Here it is, the entire comprehensive list of the world’s richest countries size, religion, sensibilities no bar.

Although, there must be a disclaimer on the relevance of the numbers because,in order to find out the present years amount of GDP, we have to use the data that has been available in the previous year. Every year there is quite a bit of shuffle on this list. Most of the countries seem to be here to stay but there are always a few surprises. May all these countries continue their prosperous trends, dispite who's currently crowned the richest nation in the world.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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