The Middle East region is home to the richest countries in the world. Although they depend directly on oil and gas exports, most of them have made an effort to diversify their sectors away from dependence on oil. Qatar is currently the richest country in the region and is expected to increase its growth in view of the projects dedicated to the 2022 World Cup. The UAE is also making great efforts to attract foreign investment and open its doors to foreign companies.
In this article we will talk about the richest countries in the Middle East in 2022 and their particularities and prospects for their economies. Let’s get started!
Qatar, the richest country in the Middle East 2022
As a result of the Coronavirus, Qatar’s real GDP contracted by 3.6% in 2020, but increased by 2.6% in 2021, less than the average growth of 4.1% in the Middle East and Africa. Qatar’s GDP per capita remains among the highest in the world, ranking fourth with $65,599 in 2021, compared to the Middle East and Africa average of $4,045. Private spending, public consumption, and the recovery of the hydrocarbon sector helped support the country’s economic performance during the year.
In terms of the main industries, mining and quarrying remains the largest contributor to the country’s economy, accounting for 33.2% of total GDP.
Over the period 2022-2040, Qatar’s economy is projected to expand at a year-on-year growth rate of 3.9%, compared to the Middle East and Africa average of 3.6%. Near-term economic growth will be supported by new investments in the gas sector and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, for which more than one million visitors are expected to arrive, according to Qatari authorities. The influx of visitors is expected to bring in some $20 billion.
The UAE is the second richest country in the Middle East and ranks sixth in the world by GDP per capita
After a 5.9% contraction in 2020 due to the coronavirus, the UAE’s real GDP increased by 2.4% in 2021, albeit below the average growth of 4.1% in the Middle East and Africa. Nevertheless, the country’s GDP per capita remained among the highest in the region, reaching US$44,096 in the UAE in 2021, compared to the average of US$4,045 in the Middle East and Africa. During the year, the country’s economic performance was supported by a rebound in the oil sector, supportive macroeconomic policies and improving domestic demand, thanks to rising private consumption and investment. Throughout 2021, the hydrocarbon sector benefited from higher oil prices and increased crude oil production, as OPEC+ restrictions were gradually eased. In addition, Expo 2020 boosted the recovery of the country’s tourism sector and domestic activity.
For the period 2022-2040, the UAE’s economy is expected to grow at a rate of 2.6%. By 2022, the UAE has launched 50 new initiatives, including increased investments in technology, industrial development and easing of visa regulations, to boost the country’s economic competitiveness and attract more FDI and skilled labour to the country. Under the UAE’s new industrial strategy, announced in 2021, the country aims to increase the economic contribution of the industrial sector to $81.7 billion over the next 10 years. By 2030, the construction and real estate, energy and finance and insurance sectors are expected to experience the largest increase.
Bahrain is the third richest country in the Middle East.
While Bahrain is considered the fifth most prosperous country in the Arab region, it is ranked 23rd globally. The economy of this country is thriving thanks to its exports of aluminum, tourist attractions, and natural gas and oil resources
After real growth of 2.9% in 2021, Bahrain’s economy is expected to expand by an annual average of 3.0% during 2022-2040. Despite being a small country, Bahrain’s per capita income is one of the highest in the region and ranks third according to Euromonitor data. It also ranks 23rd in the world. The growth is mainly due to exports of products within the mining group, as well as the export of metals.
This country’s GDP is currently higher than Japan, France, the UK, and Canada. Also, the currency used in Bahraini is the second-highest valued currency in the entire world, contributing to its ranking on this list.
Saudi Arabia the fourth richest country in the middle east and an influential oil and gas producer
Saudi Arabia could not be missing from our list of the richest countries in the Middle East. Although its economy is mainly based on oil exports, it is clear that in recent years it has become a key business centre in the region. Following in the footsteps of other Arab countries, it has invested its oil revenues in the development of other sectors such as tourism and logistics.
After a 4.1 percent decline in 2020 due to the coronavirus, Saudi Arabia’s real GDP grew by 2.8 percent in 2021, although it lagged behind the Middle East and Africa average of 4.1 percent growth. In 2021, Saudi Arabia’s GDP per capita reached USD 25,215 compared to the Middle East and Africa average of USD 4,045.
Over the period 2022-2040, the Saudi economy is expected to grow by 2.3%, compared to an average rate of 3.5% for the Middle East and Africa. In the short to medium term, the country will benefit greatly from increased business activity and a strong oil market. As part of the Saudi Vision 2030, the country plans to promote the development of sectors such as finance, high-tech manufacturing, tourism and entertainment, and culture. In addition, under the same framework, the kingdom plans to increase the role of the private sector in the economy, with the goal of increasing the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40% to 65% by 2030.
Do not forget that is the second-biggest OPEC member. Saudi Arabia contributes to approximately 18% of the total petroleum production globally, which earns the nation significant respect in the global market. Thanks to the per capita of this country, it is the fourth most prosperous Arab country and ranked 26th in the world.
Kuwait ranks fifth among the richest countries in the Middle East
Kuwait’s economy depends almost exclusively on oil extraction, but its strategic position and ports have made the country a commercial centre for the sector. It is worth noting that some of the most powerful countries in the Arab region surround Kuwait, including Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The strategic location and huge oil reserves have contributed to making Kuwait one of the richest country in the world.
After real growth of 1.2% in 2021, Kuwait’s economy is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.8% in real terms during 2022-2040. The country ranks fourth in the Middle East region and 29th globally.