Qatar and the UAE were ranked among the top 10 wealthiest countries out of a list of 182 nations in terms of per capita gross domestic product (GDP).
US magazine Forbes in its latest ranking of the world’s richest countries, placed Qatar in the number one position and the UAE in the sixth.
Qatar, which relegated Luxembourg to the second spot, registered an estimated GDP per capita of more than $88,000 for 2010 after adjusting for purchasing power parity (PPP), while the UAE boasts a GDP per capita of $47,500.
Kuwait was placed 15th on the list.
Qatar, with a population of 1.7 million, has the third largest reserve of natural gas in the world. “Qatar has lured multinational financial firms to the country, as well as satellite campuses of US universities,” Forbessaid in its online report.
The report said the Qatar government is also investing heavily in infrastructure, including a deepwater seaport, an airport and a railway network, “all with the eye to make the country a better host for businesses and the 2022 World Cup”.
Luxembourg is ranked second on the Forbes list with a GDP on a PPP basis of just over $81,000. “The country of half a million people became a financial hub in the later half of the 20th century, in part, thanks to strict banking secrecy laws that earned it the reputation of a tax haven,” said the Forbes report.
Singapore falls in third place with a GDP per capital of nearly $56,700 thanks to a thriving technology, manufacturing and finance hub, which has allowed it a space on the top three richest countries in the world.
Norway was ranked the fourth richest country, thanks to its petroleum, which accounts for nearly half of exports and is the main contributor to its PPP-adjusted GDP per capita of nearly $52,000.
Forbes has ranked Brunei as the fifth richest country due to its extensive petroleum and natural gas fields giving the Sultanate just over $48,000 per capita.
Following the UAE was the US on the seventh rank. Others ranked among the top ten include Hong Kong, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Burundi, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where GDPs per capita are $400, $386 and $312, respectively were listed as the poorest countries on the planet.
Forbes said to rank the world’s wealthiest countries, it looked at GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power. It used data compiled from the International Monetary Fund from 2010, which was the most recent available set of figures.
“The PPP (purchasing-power parity)-adjusted GDP, preferred by economists when making international comparisons, takes into account the relative cost of living and inflation rates rather than just exchange rates, which may distort real differences in worth,” stated the Forbes report.
This measure, which economists prefer, considers the relative cost of living and inflation as compared to just using exchange rates. But some economists believe such GDP comparisons are misleading, which is also partly because the quality of goods per country does vary.