20 Richest Countries in the World (2021)


Yaaay! The word ‘rich’ jumped right off at me too. But no, this is not 20 ways to get rich in 2019 (I’m sorry) but 20 Richest countries in the world. What’s your business with that?  You’ll find out soon, just stay with me.

20 Richest Countries in the World ([year])

So, the 20 richest countries in the world, you might want to know how this is determined. I mean why your country not on the list is too. Countries are examined based on the monetary value of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product). GDP is the value of all goods and services generated at a particular period of time, usually annually. To simply put, The GDP calculates:

  • The output of every form of enterprises,
  • How much value is placed on the product when compared to the total amount expended by people
  • Profit gained when income expended on productive factors are considered, that is the money spent on production must be equal to the value of the product.

That’s it, so I know already why my country might not make the list. But let’s go!




Qatar is generally known as the Economic miracle of the world. Before the discovery of oil, the economy of Qatar was focused on fishing and pearl hunting. However, Qatar’s pearling industry crashed after Japan introduced the cultured Pearl into the world market in the 1920s. Oil was discovered in Qatar in 1940 and their growth began. Located in Western Asia with a population of 2.6 million, Qatar has the highest income per capita in the world with no income tax and an unemployment rate of 0.1%

Their economic growth rate was  by 12.9% each year from 2000 to 2010 (we all know it is not easy to stay at the top) Qatar’s per capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) was $106,000 (QR387,000) in 2012, helping the country retain its ranking as the world’s wealthiest nation. How have they achieved this? The economic growth of Qatar has been exclusively based on natural gas and oil reserve. Qatar is also high on investments; in 2012, it was estimated that Qatar would invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years and now  Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has assets of $115bn. In fact, due to billions of dollars in surplus, Qatar invests in the United States, Europe and the Asia Pacific. All these wealth achieved mainly by gas exports and high oil prices.


You’ve also never heard the name before right? I guess riches don’t make much noise. Luxembourg is a small country located in Western Europe and a population of 602,005, Luxembourg’s consistent economic growth is largely comprised of low inflation and high-end innovation.

The industrial sector was formerly dominated by the production of steel until the 1960s but has since then diversified to include chemicals, rubber, and other products. However, during the past decades, growth in the financial sector has more than made up for the decline in steel production. Services, especially banking and finance account for the bulk of economic output. (In other words, they use money to make money-Smart)

Luxembourg is also the world’s second largest investment fund centre. The Luxembourg government have attracted internet start-ups such as Skype and Amazon who now have their headquarters located in the country. Another reason the country is considered a safe haven for businesses is their low tax rate.

Luxembourg’s small but productive agricultural sector is highly subsidized and employs about 1-3% of the total workforce. The Gross Domestic Product on a Purchasing power basis of 62.8% and a GDP per capita of $106,373 and debt of 23.o%. All together Luxembourg has done well.


Another economic miracle, Singapore is a country known for its transition from a developing to a developed country in a single generation and is known as the Asian Tiger. Let’s see why. With almost zero natural resources, Singapore grew based on trade, foreign reserves, skilled workforce and zero tolerance for corruption. Singapore is a globally known hub for education, entertainment, finance, healthcare, human capital, innovation, manufacturing, technology, tourism, trade, and transport.

In numerous International rankings, Singapore is rated most  “technology-ready”, world’s smartest city, world’s safest country, second-most competitive country, third least-corrupt country, third-largest foreign exchange market, a major tax haven, third-largest oil refining and trading centre, fifth-most innovative country, with the best Airport and Airline. (Aye! Jack of all trade, Master of all)

Singapore is marked by a steady economic growth rate that averages 6% per annum and GDP nominal of $71,318. Singapore is the #Countrygoals.


Pronounced something like /a¬ I¬ r- land/ for my Yoruba counterparts. It is an island in the North Atlantic; It is separated from Great Britain to its east and Second largest Island in the British Isles.

Ireland is home to three of the world’s heritage tourism sites in the world, the Brú na Bóinne, Skellig Michael and the Giant’s Causeway and there have been calls from members of the business community and policymakers to take advantage of economies of scale and boost competitiveness.

The Republic has a huge committal to renewable energy such as wind energy and this is no surprise, Ireland has an ancient industry based on peat (known locally as “turf”) as a source of energy for home fires and is a form of biomass energy. Ireland is a major in electricity and natural gas distribution.

Exploration of hydrocarbon is now on following the first major find at the Kinsale Head gas field. In 1999, economically significant finds of natural gas were made in the Corrib Gas Field, with a GDP of 69,330.69 USD ‎(2017), Ireland is an admirable Island.


I call them the Wealth Wizard (That’s only because of the Witzer in the country name) Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and highest Gross Domestic product with a GDP of 80,189.70 USD ‎(2017) Switzerland also ranks high in national performance, quality of life, human development and competitiveness.

The wealth of Switzerland refers to both financial and Non-financial assets. The country’s most important economic sector is manufacturing which ranges from chemicals, health, scientific equipment, and musical instruments to the financial sector such as Banking insurance, tourism. So there we have it, Wizard!


Norway is a Nordic country in North Western Europe. The state has large ownership in key sectors such as petroleum, oil reserves, hydroelectric energy, aluminium production, Freshwater and the fourth highest per capita income in the world according to IMF. It also houses the largest bank and telecommunications’ provider. 30% of the labour force is employed by the government and disability pensions paid to the old, almost free health care services and parental leave paid by the government. Norway was the first to ban deforestation in 2014 so as to preserve its rain forest. Norway’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power plants, more than any other European country. Export revenues from oil and gas have risen to almost 50% of total exports and constitute more than 20% of the GDP; one of the largest oil and petroleum exporters in the world (and yet not a part of OPEC). Norway seems to be that winning Country your country wants to be like someday.


Definitely the most popular country in the world and one of the most powerful in the world, composed of 50 states, with a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country.

The United States is a highly developed country with the world’s largest economy by nominal GDP with a nominal GDP of $20.66 trillion (I guess you have always known all this, so what’s the catch. The United States is largely known and wealthy for its post-industrial activities. This largely includes services and knowledge-based activities. The United States is the world’s largest exporter of goods. Chemical production has been one of the largest manufacturing fields in the U.S and also known to be the leading force in technological innovations and scientific research. From the 19th century, manufacturing Bicycles and Sewing machines to the 21st Century of personal computers.


Iceland is a country located in the North Atlantic, with a population of 348,580, this makes it the most sparsely populated country in Europe.[

Iceland is a geographical and volcanic active area. So what makes them rich?

A huge part of the primary energy supply in Iceland is derived from the domestically produced renewable energy source. The use of hydroelectric and geothermal power has made Iceland the largest electricity producer

Although Iceland’s economy is said to be vulnerable since the decline in fish stock and fall in the world’s prices for fish which is Iceland’s major material export, Iceland’s economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, including software production, biotechnology, and finance and still remains one of the most developed countries in the world.


Denmark is considered to be one of the most economically and socially developed countries in the world also with one of the highest per capita income. Denmark’s economy stands out as one of the freest, with the highest ratio of tertiary degree holders and the highest minimum wage in the world.

Denmark used to be a predominantly agricultural-based economy but started to diversify in the industrial sector. The country’s main export goods are dairy products, wind turbines, pharmaceuticals, machinery and instruments, meat and meat products, dairy products, fish, furniture and design. As a net exporter of food and energy, Denmark has grown to be one of the countries with the highest living standards in the world. When I hear ‘food’, all I can say is ‘good for them’


Australia is a sovereign country that comprises the mainland of the Australian continent. The large size of Australia gives it a diverse landmass of deserts, mountain ranges, rain forests. With one of the highest living standards in a country, Australia has its service sector to thank; financial services, education and tourism which accounts for about 70% of the country’s GDP. Australia is also a major exporter of agricultural products, particularly wheat and wool, minerals such as iron-ore and gold, and energy in the forms of liquefied natural gas and coal.

Although agriculture and natural resources account for only a little per cent of the country’s GDP, they contribute essentially to its export achievement. Australia is also the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine and this contributes $5.5 billion per year to the nation’s economy. This has little to do with energy production and technological innovations but goes to show that whatever you have to do, do well and success!


Saudi Arabia is a country in the Asian continent and geographically largest in the Middle East. Petroleum was discovered in 1938 and since then, Saudi Arabia became the world’s largest oil exporter and also the fifth largest oil reserve. It has the third highest total estimated value of natural resources, valued at US$34.4 trillion in 2016 and a GDP per purchasing value of  $1,773.55 billion in 2017. In addition to petroleum and gas, Saudi also has a significant gold mining sector, an agricultural sector, based on vegetables, fruits, dates and livestock with the largest dairy farm and olive plantation in the world, one cannot also forget to include a large number of temporary jobs created by the roughly two million annual hajj pilgrims


The Netherlands is located mainly in North-western Europe. The Netherlands literally means ‘lower countries’ in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, but there is absolutely nothing low life about this country. The world’s second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products owing to its fruitful soil, favourable climate and highly concentrated agriculture. The Netherlands remains one of the largest investors in the United States. After discovering natural gas, the sale of natural gas generated enormous revenues for the Netherlands for decades, and although the country has no mining resources, the presence of oil gas fields has generated great riches. The exploration of the Slochteren oil gas field has resulted in €159 billion in revenue since the mid-1970s. Agriculture in the Netherlands is also highly mechanised, and has a strong focus on international exports and accounts for 21 per cent of the country’s total export value.


A country located in Central and Western Europe. Germany is known for its rich cultural heritage and home to influential successful people from all fields. Germany is among the top tourism destinations in the world. But that is not all, with a skilled labour force, low level of corruption, high level of innovation in major sectors such as energy; Germany is the world’s largest exporter of goods and highest nominal GDP of $44,469.91 (2017)

The automotive industry in Germany is recognized as one of the most competitive and creative in the world. The country is also recognized for its specialized small and medium scale enterprises and also one of the greatest transport hubs in the world with the densest road network and airlines. Germany is also a global leader in science and technology.


Located in Northwestern Europe. Sweden is one of the sixteenth largest countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product with a high standard of living for citizens. Timber, hydropower and iron ore constitute the resource base of the economy with a heavy emphasis on foreign trade, the Engineering, locomotive and telecommunications sector. Sweden is also one of the highest exporters of Arms in the world. All these accounts for its GDP worth 538.04 billion US dollars (2017). An all-around country won’t you call it?


Located in Western Europe, bordered by the Netherlands to the East and Germany to the west (Friends of a feather flock together yeah?) It is generally known to be one of the safest countries in the world. Its major exports are machinery and equipment, chemicals, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, and foodstuffs. Belgium was the first country to undergo an industrial revolution. The country rapidly developed by steel and mining and even with a decline in that market and experience of famine some times in history, Belgium still has a GDP of $492.7 billion with huge and significant contributions to science and technology and huge growth in rail and motorway network.


Don’t bite your tongue; just go by the first word. Brunei is located in South Asia. Here’s how they got wealthy: foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulations, good village culture. Brunei’s government are high on investments and substantial income from here meets with domestic production of Rice which has allowed for rice sufficiency in this country.  90% of its GDP is gotten from crude oil and natural gas production. About 167,000 barrels (26,600 m3) of oil are produced every day which makes it the ninth largest exporter of the substance in the world.

The government provides for all medical services and subsidizes food and housing, just great.


Kuwait is located in Western Asia. Oil reserves were discovered in commercial quantities in 1938. From 1946 to 1982, the country underwent large-scale modernization which is what we will be talking about. Petroleum is the main export product of Kuwait, The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest-valued unit of currency in the world and petroleum accounts for half of the country’s GDP and 90% of the Government’s income. When Kuwait is not all about the petroleum business, then its non-financial sector is the banking and small business enterprises. With its relatively small territory, Kuwait has proven crude oil reserves of 104 billion barrels, estimated to be 10% of the world’s reserves


Firstly, an exciting name and then a good standard living condition to go with it. Hong Kong ranks seventh on the UN Human Development Index, Also with characterised by low taxation, minimal government market intervention, and an established international financial market, Hong Kong with a nominal GDP of approximately $360 billion. Hong Kong has its wealth for being one of the largest in import and export, majorly shipment of goods. Tourism also accounts for a huge part of the economy. And though, with few natural resources, importing most of its food and raw materials, Hong Kong boasts of a compulsory pension scheme, a minimum wage and generally good standard of living.


Canada is a country in North America. Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally and the country achieved this by relying majorly on natural resources and well-developed international trade networks with a nominal GDP of approximately US$1.73 trillion. The nation has transformed from a largely rural economy to an industrialized one due to the growth of its mining, service and manufacturing sectors. It is also a service based economy with forestry and petroleum as a large component of the country’s economy. Although Canada is one of the few developed countries who does not export energy, it holds huge shares in global oil reserves and is a major supplier of agricultural goods such as Wheat, Canola and other grains. Canada also invests highly in domestic scientific researches and has developed one of the world’s most successful rockets. Canada also has a strong banking sector. Sounds like a humble rich person to me.


A country located in Europe. Finland can be considered late to industrialisation, this did not begin until 1950. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development and has once ranked most stable country in the world with a GDP of $251.9 billion. How did it achieve all these:  Finland has significant timber, mineral and freshwater resources.

Forests also contribute greatly to the country’s wealth, making it one of the world’s leading wood producers and providing raw materials at competitive prices for the crucial wood-processing industries. Finland has a free and privately owned energy industry which allows for a competitive market and a low industrial payment.

It was great having to compile this list, unravelling the growth process of many countries. Reminding us, we can also be one of them.





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