Polarizing economies exist in the Arab world as major gaps between the rich and the poor exist among nations and societies alike.
To be able to rank countries' wealth, each respective nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), aka the total value of goods and services over a certain period of time, must be studied. Macroeconomic analysts normally use GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP) to rank countries.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its 2019 list of countries' GDP per capita. Based on the numbers, here are the Arab world's richest and poorest nations:
The 5 Richest Arab Countries
Bahrain is the 5th richest Arab country. Its economy ranks 23rd in the world ($50,870 GDP per capita). The nation's high ranking among Arab countries is most probably due to its high-income economy, oil and natural gas resources, aluminum export, and tourist attractions.
However, although considered a wealthy country, Bahrain suffers from a significant gap between the rich and the poor.
4. Saudi Arabia
Most of Saudi Arabia's economic wealth ($56,820 GDP per capita) can be credited to the kingdom's production and export of petroleum. After all, the kingdom makes up around 18 percent of the world's petroleum reserves, according to OPEC. It is the 2nd largest OPEC Member Country.
Saudi Arabia is the 4th richest country in the Arab world. Globally, it stands at No. 15.
Kuwait's economy lacks diversity as the majority of its wealth is obtained through crude oil. With a GDP per capita of roughly $67,970, Kuwait is considered the 3rd richest in the Arab world and 9th globally.
2. United Arab Emirates
With a GDP per capita of approximately $134,620, Qatar is not only the richest Arab country, but the richest nation worldwide.
The nation has one of the largest oil and natural gas reserves. With a small population of about 2.7 million, Qatar is also known for having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world (less than 1 percent).
The 5 Poorest Arab Countries
Libya was once the wealthiest country in Africa because of the copious amounts of oil reserves it holds. However, war, corruption, and chaos pushed Libya on the edge. The country is now one of the poorest nations in the world with a GDP per capita of $12,050.
It is the 5th poorest Arab country and the 107th poorest worldwide.
Jordan's poor economic status has been affected by numerous factors. The nation's high unemployment rate (19 percent) and the ever-rising inflation rate has dropped its economy into the bottom five in the Arab world (4th poorest Arab country).
With a GDP per capita of $9,650, the country ranks 117th globally.
- Illiteracy rates are high
- Financial inequality (the rich are very rich and the poor are very poor)
- Economic unpredictability
Thus, it has become the 3rd poorest Arab country and 119th poorest in the world with a GDP of $9,280.
Ongoing conflicts and protests since 2011 - between South Sudan and other parts of Sudan - have led to economic instability in the nation.
The conflicts and inability to decide on the division of natural resources has dropped Sudan's GDP to $4,090, making it the 2nd poorest Arab country, and the 148th poorest globally.
The unresolved four-year conflict in Yemen has dilapidated an economy that was already barely flourishing to begin with. The altercation has destroyed essential infrastructure and led to chronic food insecurity.
Prior to the conflict, Yemen was the poorest Arab country and it still is. Its GDP is perched at $2,400, placing the country 178th in the world economy.