Cyprus 32nd wealthiest country

Many of the world’s wealthiest nations are surprisingly small, with their prosperity largely unaffected by recent global challenges like the pandemic, economic slowdown, and geopolitical tensions.

According to a research by Global Finance based on date from the International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook of April 2024 that countries like San Marino, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Singapore are among the richest due to their financial sectors, attractive tax regimes, and lucrative natural resources. Others, like Qatar and the UAE, benefit from oil reserves and thriving tourism.

While GDP is often used to measure wealth, per capita GDP gives a better indication of a country’s prosperity relative to its population size. Purchasing power parity (PPP) adjusts GDP for local costs, providing a clearer picture of a nation’s standard of living.

Despite high average wealth in these countries, inequalities exist within them, particularly highlighted by the pandemic’s economic impacts. Low-income groups are often hit hardest by crises, facing job losses and limited support.

Inflation and global events like the Russia-Ukraine conflict have further strained economies, particularly affecting lower-income families. The richest countries boast per capita GDP exceeding $110,000, while the poorest struggle with less than $1,500.

However, these figures can be misleading. Some nations, like tax havens, artificially inflate their GDP. Efforts to implement a global minimum corporate tax aim to address this issue.

Despite economic challenges, these wealthy nations remain resilient, with most projected to continue growing, albeit at varying rates. However, economic growth does not always translate to improved living standards for all citizens, highlighting the complexities of wealth and inequality on a global scale.


Many of the world’s wealthiest nations are also among the smallest. Countries like San Marino, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Singapore benefit from advanced financial sectors and tax systems that attract foreign investments, professional talent, and large banking deposits. Others, like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have vast reserves of hydrocarbons or other lucrative natural resources.

Australia ranks 25th, Cyprus 32nd, and Greece 56th in the global wealth index.

The dazzling casinos and hordes of tourists are also profitable for businesses. Despite enduring nearly three years of intermittent lockdowns and travel restrictions related to the pandemic, Asia’s gambling paradise, Macau, remains one of the wealthiest states in the world, according to Global Finance.

Ayia Napa, Cyprus. Photo: George Lemon/Unsplash


Inequalities became evident in ways few could have predicted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While wealthier nations, often more vulnerable to the virus due to their larger populations, managed resources to better care for those in need, these resources were not equally accessible to all.

Furthermore, the economic impact of lockdowns hit low-wage workers harder than those in high-paying professions, fueling a new kind of inequality between those who could comfortably work from home and those who had to risk their health and safety.

As the pandemic receded, global inflation surged, Russia invaded Ukraine, worsening the crisis of food and oil prices. This was followed by Israel-Hamas, causing further turmoil in supply chains and commodity and energy markets.



As Western Europe’s top oil producer, the country has benefited for decades from rising prices. When faced with any unforeseen economic problem, Norwegians can always rely on their sovereign wealth fund worth $1.4 trillion, the largest in the world.

United States

The country has since managed to build momentum and maintain its presence at the top of the list. Not only did the US experience the smallest recession recorded in early 2020, lasting only two months, but its economy is now thriving.

San Marino

Tiny San Marino is Europe’s oldest democracy and the fifth smallest country on the map. It may have only 34,000 citizens, but it ranks among the wealthiest citizens in the world.


White chocolate, bobsleigh, the Swiss army knife, the computer mouse, the immersion blender, Velcro are just a few of the remarkable inventions that Switzerland has brought to the world.

United Arab Emirates

Agriculture, fishing, and pearl trading: these were the economic pillars of this Persian Gulf nation.


Despite a recent recovery, oil prices averaged a decline from the mid-2010s. In 2014, Qatar’s per capita GDP was over $143,222.

Oia, Greece. Photo: James Ting/Unsplash


With assets of around $16 trillion, the richest person living in Singapore is American: Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, who in 2011 left the US with 53 million shares of the company and became a permanent resident of the island nation.


A nation of about 5.3 million people, the Republic of Ireland was one of the hardest hit by the 2008-9 economic crisis. After politically challenging reform measures, such as deep cuts in public sector wages and restructuring of the banking sector, the island nation regained its fiscal health, increased its employment rates, and saw its per capita GDP rise sharply.


When the coronavirus appeared, global travel ceased, and for a while, Macau was out of the top 10 richest countries’ rankings. However, since its recovery, its per capita purchasing power managed to be around $125,000 in 2019, and it is even higher today.


While the global economic crisis and pressure from the EU and the OECD for banking secrecy reduction may have had a small impact on Luxembourg’s economy, the outbreak of the coronavirus forced many businesses to close and cost workers their jobs. The country has weathered the pandemic better than most of its European neighbors: its economy rebounded from a -0.9 per cent contraction in 2020 to growth above 7 per cent in 2021.

For the full list visit Global Finance.


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