Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Top 10 Richest Countries in the World

Rich or wealthy countries are those who have higher Gross Domestic Product per capita.

What is GDP? 

Gross Domestic Product is a measure of all the goods and services produced domestically, thus, refers as a measurement of how wealthy a country is. Lower GDP means a country is struggling economically.

The basic formula of getting GDP is: Consumption + Investment made by industry + excess of exports over imports + government spending. This formula implies that the more the population increases its spending habit on goods and services and the more the country engages in export business the higher its GDP would become .

Here are the countries with highest GDPs therefore considered as the wealthiest countries in the world.

1. LUXEMBOURG                  
Continent: Europe                   
GDP per capita: $80,800                         
Land Area: 2, 586.4 sq.km
Population: 511,840
Form of government: Constitutional Monarchy
Head of State: Grand Duke Henri
Head of Government: Prime Minister Jean Claude Juncker
Official languages: French and German
Currency: Euro

Officially known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, this small nation in Western Europe has a highly developed economy topping the list as the world's richest nation in terms of GDP per capita according to International Monetary Fund. The country follows a constitutional monarchy form of government with a Grand Duke as its head of state, its government is headed by a Prime Minister. The current Grand Duke is Henri, a first cousin of King Albert II of Belgium and a third cousin to all current European crown heads.

2. QATAR                                
Capital city: Doha
Continent: Asia                       
GDP per capita: $75,900                   
Population: 1,450,000                
Land Area: 11, 437 sq.km
Form of government: Absolute Monarchy  
Head of State: Emir (Prince) Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Head of Government: Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani
Official language: Arabic
Currency: Riyal  

Qatar heavily relies on oil and natural gas as its main export products. The country has the world's largest production of natural gas with an amazing economic growth of 19.40% considered as the highest growth rate in the world. This country is one of the poorest nations before 1940s but due to its discovery of oil and natural gas, it has transformed into one of the best performing economies in the world.

3. NORWAY                            
Capital city: Oslo
Continent: Europe                   
GDP per capita:  $55,600
Population: 385, 252 sq.km
Land Area: 4,996, 700 sq.km.
Form of government: Unitary Parliamentary Democracy/Constitutional Monarchy
Head of State: King Harald V
Head of Government: Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
Official language: Norwegian
Currency: Norwegian krone
                      
A constitutional monarchy in the Scandinavian peninsula, Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum, hydropower, oil and natural gas and currently exporting these commodities to other countries. This country is currently ruled by King Harald V, a second cousin to Queen Elizabeth II of England.

4. KUWAIT 
Capital city: Kuwait City
Continent: Asia
GDP per capita: $55,300
Form of government: Hereditary Constitutional monarchy
Population: 3,566, 437
Land Area: 17, 820 sq.km.
Head of State: Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Head of Government: Prime Minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah
Official language: Arabic
Currency: Dinar

Kuwait often hug headlines in the Philippines due to its known reputation of having abusive employers and recently, the country is in hot water again after a Filipina Domestic Helper died there last year for unclear reasons. Despite this unsettling image, Kuwait has one of the fastest growing economies in the world due to its rich natural gas resources and oil reserves, 80% of its government revenues come from exporting oil. It is strategically located on the Persian Gulf surrounded by Saudi Arabia and Iraq and known for having no taxes for its citizens. Iraq is ruled by an Emir and its government is headed by a Prime Minister.

5. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE)
Capital city: Abu Dhabi
Continent: Asia
GDP per capita: $55, 200
Population: 8, 264, 070
Land Area: 83, 600 sq.km
Form of government: Constitutional Federation of Absolute Monarchies with an executive president elected
Head of State: Each emirate is ruled by an Emir or Prince
Head of Government for all UAE: President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Prime Minister Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Official language: Arabic
Currency: UAE dirham

A country with rich oil and natural gas reserves automatically enjoys the reputation of being a wealthy nation. In most cases, you can easily spot which countries have highly developed economies because of their imposing buildings, take for example UAE, after creating numerous artificial islands, the country has just finished building the world's tallest structure--Burj Khalifa located in Dubai. UAE is a federation of seven emirates (principalities) which ruled individually by an Emir or Prince. UAE has a single national President. Its official language is Arabic.

6. SINGAPORE
Capital city: Singapore city
Continent: Asia
GDP per capita: $48,900
Population: 5, 183, 700
Land Area: 710 sq.km
Form of government: Unitary Parliamentary Republic
Head of State: Lee Hsien Loong
Head of Government: President Tony Tan Keng Yam
Official languages: English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil
Currency: Singaporean dollar

Singapore is an island country in Southeast Asia and one of the most progressive small nations in the world. It is one of the five founding members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN. In 1965, Singapore became fully independent and has since enjoyed the enormous increase in wealth. Singapore's economy relies heavily on its industry and service sectors, it is also considered as the 4th largest foreign exchange trading center in the world. Singapore is one of the FOUR ASIAN TIGERS (with Hongkong, South Korea and Taiwan).

7. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA)
Capital city: Washington D.C
Continent: North America
GDP per capita: $46,000
Population: 312, 936,000
Land Area: 9, 826, 675 sq.km.
Form of government: Federal Republic
Head of State: President Barak Obama
Head of Government: President Barak Obama
Official language: English
Currency: US Dollar

The United States is often called the "New World" because of its highly revolutionized economy and technological innovations. It is also called as the most powerful nation in the world. It is home to many world billionaires according to Forbes magazines with four Americans in the top 10 list: Bill Gates (2nd), Warren Buffet (third), Laurence Ellison (6th) and Christie Walton (10th). Years following World War II saw the sudden rise of the United States in terms of industrial innovation and economy surpassing the once Great Powers in Europe: Great Britain, Germany and Russia.

8. IRELAND
Capital city: Dublin
Continent: Europe
GDP per capita: $45, 600
Population: 4,600,000
Land Area: 81,638.1 sq.km.
Form of government: Parliamentary Democratic Republic
Head of State: President Michael Higgins
Head of Government: Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Official language: Irish, English
Currency: Euro

The Republic of Ireland is the third largest island in Europe with six largest islands but only five of these islands comprise the Republic of Ireland because Northern Ireland belonged to the United Kingdom. Ireland is also known as "Emerald Isle" because of its spectacular greener sceneries. The country is also known as the Celtic Tiger referring to its massive economic growth between 1995 to 2007, it is the largest maker of computer software in the world.

9. EQUATORIAL GUINEA
Capital city: Malabo
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $44, 100
Population: 676,000
Land Area: 28, 050 sq.km
Form of government: Unitary Presidential Republic
Head of State: President Teodoro Obiang
Head of Government: Prime Minister Ignacio Milam
Official languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese
Currency: Central African CFA Franc

You would think that wealth is only exclusive for countries in North America. Middle East and Europe, but surprisingly, there's one country in Africa, a continent that heavily battered with poverty, that makes it to the list of wealthiest countries. Equatorial Guinea's escalating economy is due to its oil reserves, in fact, this country is the largest producer of oil in Africa. But despite its economic growth the living condition of most of its citizen is not improving and most of its population are still living in poverty. Corruption is widespread and the gap between the rich and poor is getting wider, probably the largest gap in the world. According to Freedom House's annual survey, Equatorial Guinea has the record of having the worst of the worst human rights violation in the world.

10. SWITZERLAND
Capital city: Bern
Continent: Europe
GDP per capita: $39,800
Population: 7,866,500
Land Area: 41,285 sq.km.
Form of government: Federal Republic
Head of State: Doris Leuthard
Head of Government: Chancellor Corina Casanova
Official languages: German, French and Italian
Currency: Swiss Franc

Switzerland is a landlocked country in Western Europe surrounded by Austria, Germany, Italy and France. It is known to the world as the largest producer of cheese, chocolates and jewelry and home of the finest, most luxurious and expensive watch brands in the world: Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. Switzerland has a long history of neutrality and has not been involved in any wars since the 17th century. It is also home to Nestle, Chopard, Rolex, Toblerone and Logitech.

Rounding the top 20 richest nations in the world are: Japan, Brunei, Hongkong, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Top Ten Asia's Richest Nations

1. Qatar
2. Kuwait
3. UAE
4. Singapore
5. Japan
6. Brunei
7. Hongkong (Special Administrative Region of China)
8. South Korea
9. Taiwan, Republic of China
10. Malaysia

Source: International Monetary Fund



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