For the longest time, the richest countries in the Middle East have attracted tourists worldwide. Many people love to visit these countries because of their delicious cuisine, gold images, and the fine things in life. Middle Eastern countries are famous because they are rich in oil. This region has rich oil reserves, and its countries are the biggest oil exporters. Oil is an expensive natural resource, which has made many countries in this area ranked as some of the wealthiest nations in the world. A survey done in 2022 shows the following ten countries as the richest in the Middle East.
10. Lebanon-2022 GDP Per capita $6,168
Lebanon is a country located between Syria and Israel. The economy of Lebanon can best be described as a liberal economy with perfect mobility of capital and labor. It is a typical open economy based on private ownership and competition. 70% of the economy's Gross Domestic Product is contributed by the services and banking industries. Industrialization contributes to 20% of the GDP while the rest, 10%, comes from the agricultural sector. The major sectors are tourism, financial services, and commerce.
Lebanon is amongst the richest countries in the Middle East through its economy cannot be compared to the likes of UAE and Qatar. Nevertheless, it still has a thriving economy. The country's capital city is Beirut, where most of the economic activities occur. The Port of Beirut plays a major role in Lebanon's economy. After World War II, the Port of Beirut became one of the essential ports in the eastern Mediterranean. The government then introduced a free port for re-exporting products adding to Lebanon's economic growth. Tourism is another major contributor to the economy. Lebanon's natural beauty and mild climate, not to mention the beautiful snow-capped mountains, attract tourists worldwide.
9. Turkey-2022 GDP Per Capita $12,600
Turkey, officially known as the Republic of Turkiye, lies on the Anatolian Peninsula. The International Monetary Fund describes the country's economy as an emerging market. Economists and political scientists consider Turkey to be a newly industrialized country. The World Bank classifies Turkey as an upper-middle-ranking company in terms of per capita GDP. Like many other countries, the economy of the nation was negatively affected by the covid-19 pandemic. According to World Bank, Turkey ranks 50 among the world's richest countries.
The country has undergone major transformations in the financial and social sectors in the last two decades. There has been significant growth in average income and employment since 2020. The last few years have seen a decline in the country's economic progress due to internal and external factors. One of the major issues affecting the country is a decline in economic reforms from the government. Many environmentalists speculate that this move has made the economy highly dependent on the contracting and construction sector.
8. Oman-2022 GDP Per Capita $15,150
When you think of Middle East countries, the first thing that comes to your mind is oil. You are right. Oil has made Oman one of the richest countries in the world. The country has the least oil reserves in the Arabian and Persian Gulf, meaning it has to exploit more oil. This factor has greatly contributed to the nation's wealth. Oil was first discovered in the country in 1964, and they started exporting it in 1967. After this period, the production and export of petroleum dominated the country's economy.
According to Britannica, oil revenue contributes 40% of the Gross Domestic Product and approximately 75% of the government's income. Many gulf countries have been witnessing a decline in their oil reserves. Since 1996, the government of Oman has been preparing for a post-oil era. They have focused on improving the nation's natural gas resources for export in liquefied form to increase the domestic industry. Besides this, the country has resorted to diversifying and privatizing the economy. In addition, they have also resorted to implementing the policy of Omani zing the workforce. This has made it a step ahead of other Middle East countries.
7. Bahrain- 2022 GDP Per Capita $21,000
Bahrain is ranked the fifth richest country in the Middle East and 23rd globally. The country's economy has grown because of tourism, aluminum exports, oil reserves, and natural gas. In 2017 the GDP of Bahrain was considered to be higher than that of Japan and France. According to Book My Forex, the world data shows Bahraini Dinar is ranked as the second-most valued currency in the whole world. Bahrain tops the list of the richest countries because it has a mixed economy. Petroleum and natural gas dominate the economy and contribute about 60% of the annual revenue.
Bahrain is the first gulf nation to discover oil. The nation has limited oil reserves, a factor that has significantly contributed to the diversification of the economy. The country's officials have worked round the clock to stabilize oil production to about 40,000 barrels per day.
6. Saudi Arabia-2022 GDP Per Capita $21,287
Number four on this list is Saudi Arabia. Being one of the richest Middle East countries, Saudi Arabia's economy is largely dependent on the production and exporting of petroleum. Saudi is the second largest OPEC member. OPEC is made up of nations that deal with producing and exporting crude oil. It is estimated that Saudi Arabia contributes 18% of the total oil produced globally.
Saudi Arabia has an estimated 267 billion barrels of oil that can sustain the country for the next 80 years. This has made the nation earn respect in the global market. According to Eng Majalla, the country's per capita makes it the 4th richest in the Middle East and 15th in the world. The world is slowly turning to renewable energy sources to mitigate the negative effects of global warming. The transition might not take place overnight and might take decades before adopting other energy sources. That said, Saudi officials are looking for ways to achieve the economic transformation to reduce over-reliance on oil which is the main contributor to the country's Gross Domestic Product. The country has a Kingdom Vision 2030 that aims to grow the nation's industrial sector through tax-free exemptions and credit facilities.
5. Cyprus-2022 GDP Per Capita $32,200
Cyprus is an island country east of the Mediterranean Sea. The World Bank considers the country a high-income economy. In 2001, the International Monetary Fund listed Cyprus as one of the most advanced economies in the world. The country's economy has grown since it adopted the Euro as the official currency. It is ranked number 37 of the richest countries in the world. Cyprus' economy is heavily dependent on its tourism.
The 2020 pandemic proved that Cyprus has a resilient economy. This is the second time the economy bounced back after the 2013 banking crisis. It is estimated that 83% of the Gross Domestic Product comes from services, 7% from industrialization, 6% from agriculture, and 4% from forestry and fishing. Cyprus has managed to diversify its economy in the last two decades. Diversification has been successful because of the growing international economy in the country. The economy is mainly anchored in the tertiary sector. Tourism and maritime transportation are the two main pillars of Cyprus' economy.
4. Kuwait-2022 GDP Per Capita $33,000
Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the Middle East because of its abundant supply of crude oil. The country's oil reserves are strategically placed and have helped the nation to be ranked top among the world's wealthiest nations. The nation is geographically small and has an open economy with about 102 billion barrels of crude oil reserves. This accounts for 6% of the total world reserves. Petroleum contributes to approximately half of the country's GDP and 90% of government income. To increase the nation's wealth, Kuwait officials plan to scale production to 4 million barrels per day.
With the fall in oil prices in 2015, the authorities reduced fuel subsidies. The decline was further implemented, earning the government $8 billion from international bonds. Kuwait is heavily dependent on its natural oil reserves. Despite this, the government is trying to cushion itself from the uncertainties in the oil industry by at least 10% of the country's annual revenue. The country has been trying to diversify its economy, but this has proved difficult because of delays in awarding private sector contracts and an uncertain political environment.
3. Israel- 2022 GDP Per Capita $35,766
Israel is a rich country in the Middle East because of its free market economy. The country's prosperous economy allows it to possess nuclear weapons, a powerful modern military, and sophisticated citizen welfare. Besides these, Israel has a modern infrastructure similar to that of many western countries. They also have a high technology sector. According to the World Business Index, Israel has the second largest startup company after the United States of America. Many American companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Intel have built the country's first research development centers.
Industrial manufacturing and high technology are the main contributors to the country's overall Gross Domestic Product. Israel also trades in diamonds contributing to about 23% of all its exports. The nation has few natural resources, such as petroleum, and they have capitalized on industrialization to drive the economy. As much as the country heavily depends on importing natural resources, the money they spend is recovered through production and manufacturing. Israel's high-quality universities and research institutions have contributed to rapid economic growth. They also have numerous incubation centers producing valuable goods and services.
2. United Arab Emirates-2022 GDP Per Capita $41,800
The mention of the name the United Arabs Emirates rings a bell of elegance and luxury. The UAE is a country formed by a federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, and Ras Al Khaimah. Before the 1950s Fishing, agriculture, and trading pearls were the major economic activities of this gulf nation. In the 1950s, oil reserves were discovered in many parts of the country, which changed everything. A combination of visionary leaders and export income from oil saw the country transform into the richest country in the Middle East and the world. After that, the oil reserves reduced significantly, and now the country makes its wealth from tourism.
Dubai is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Statistics show that Dubai received approximately 7 million tourists in the first half of 2022. Tourism alone contributes to almost 20% of the country's GDP. UAE has a cosmopolitan population. The seven emirates are characterized by considerable wealth, glitzy shopping centers, and numerous immigrants attracted by tax-free salaries. According to The National News, UAE countries are known to have the most beautiful architecture featuring enormous skyscrapers. Dubai has the world's tallest building, known as Burj Khalifa.
1. Qatar-2022 GDP Per Capita $62,100
Regarding GDP Per Capita, Qatar is the richest country in the Middle East. Qatar has maintained this position for several years. Qatar will appear among the top if you search the 'richest list' on any platform. Not only is Qatar the richest country in the Middle East, but it is also among the wealthiest in the world. The country has a population of 2.7 million and has a less than one percent unemployment rate. According to Mappr, this is one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. Qatar has a rich oil reserve which is the main source of wealth for the nation. The country has large oil, petrochemicals, and gas reserve compared to its population.
Tourism is another major source of wealth for this country. Many tourists visit Qatar and marvel at its luxury shopping malls, ultramodern architecture, and expensive dining that have captured the world for the last 20 years. It is estimated that only 12% of the population comprises Qatari nationals. During the pandemic, the country suffered like many nations in the world. Curfews, quarantines, and lockdowns imposed negatively affected the economy. However, the economy has shown great resilience and increased by 1.5% in the previous year.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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