World Facts

The Richest And Poorest Economies In The Middle East

Qatar is the richest economy in the Middle East while Yemen is the poorest economy in the region.

The Middle East is home to some of the world’s largest deposits of oil and natural gas. Due to these large deposits and a growing global demand, the countries in the region have some of the largest GDPs in the world. Countries in the Middle East are also among the least populated in the world, translating to some of these countries having the highest GDP per capita in the world.

The Richest Economies In The Middle East

1. Qatar

Qatar is one of the smallest countries in the Middle East, occupying only an area of 4,473 square miles. However, what the country lacks in size, it makes up with wealth in natural resources with Qatar having 25 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, the third largest in the world and proven oil reserves of 15 billion barrels. This wealth of natural resource translates to a GDP of $166.9 billion. Qatar has a small population estimated at about 2.5 million and a GDP per capita of $129,700, the highest not only in the Middle East but also the world. The GDP per capita registered a record-breaking growth of 1,156% in the 1970s.

1. Kuwait

Kuwait is another tiny country in the Middle East with an area of 6,880 square miles. Kuwait is also one of the richest countries in the world with a GDP per capita of $71,300, the 10th highest in the world and second in the Middle East. The GDP per capita is attributed to the country's rich natural resources combined with a relatively small population of 4.3 million. The country’s oil production capacity stands at 2.5 million barrels a day with its oil reserves estimated to be about 94 billion barrels. Kuwait’s official currency is known as the Kuwaiti dinar. It is the world’s highest-valued unit of currency.

3. United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The United Arab Emirates is a small country located on the Arabian Peninsula. The 32,300-square-mile country is the third richest country in the Middle East with a GDP per capita of $67,700. The country’s economy relies partly on its rich mineral deposits with oil revenues contributing for a third of its $377-billion GDP. The huge GDP per capita is attributed to the country’s small population - estimated to be about 9.3 million with the majority of the residents being expatriates (7.8 million).

The Poorest Economies In The Middle East

1. Syria

Syria is a Middle Eastern country bordering Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Iraq. The country’s population is estimated to be 17 million people residing in its 71,500-square-mile area. Syria’s economy is among the most diverse in the region with agriculture, services, industry, and oil being the main pillars. The country’s GDP per capita is among the lowest in the Middle East, estimated to be $2,900. The ongoing Syrian War has ravaged the country and had a devastating effect on the Syrian economy with the economic loss attributed from the war being estimated to be over $237 billion.

2. Yemen

Yemen is a country located in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula and covers an area of 203,850 square miles. The country has a GDP of about $73.445 billion and a population of over 25 million, translating to a GDP per capita of $2,500 which is the lowest in the Middle East. Oil accounts for about 90% of the country’s exports with the country having over 4 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

The Richest And Poorest Economies In The Middle East

RankCountryGDP Per Capita
1 Qatar$129,700.00
2 Kuwait$71,300.00
3 United Arab Emirates$67,700.00
4 Saudi Arabia$54,100.00
5 Bahrain$50,300.00
6 Oman$43,700.00
7 Israel$34,800.00
8 Turkey$21,100.00
9 Lebanon$18,500.00
10 Iran$18,100.00
11 Egypt$12,100.00
12 Jordan$11,100.00
13 Iraq$16,500.00
14 Syria$2,900.00
15 Yemen$2,500.00

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