Photo: Peter Garnhum on flickr
According to the International Monetary Fund, there is a 1 in 6 chance that global growth dips below 2% in 2013, which would throw advanced economies back into a recession.But the IMF’s recently released World Economic Outlook, which includes economic growth forecasts for 185 countries, wasn’t completely negative.
We selected 20 countries with the highest projected compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013 through 2017, based on the IMF’s estimates.
None of these countries are located in the Western Hemisphere – all are from Africa or Asia – which underscores that global economic growth will be driven by emerging markets and developing economies.
A cautionary note – this isn’t a list of the world’s best economies, or countries with the highest standards of living. Many of these countries start with extremely low levels of GDP, and as such have an easier time attaining a high growth rate over this selected period.
Some features of these countries:
- 10 are found in Sub-Saharan Africa, 8 in Asia (2 from the Commonwealth of Independent States), and 2 from the Middle East/North Africa;
- 10 are underdeveloped, as evidenced by little infrastructure and mass subsistence farming;
- 8 rely upon oil or gas as a key export; and
- 7 have law and order, corruption, or security issues as impediments to growth.
Est. 2012 GDP: +7.70%
Est. 2013 GDP: +7.50%
GDP CAGR: +8.23%
Economy: Rwanda has an easier time attaining high growth rates due to its low starting GDP, relative to developed European economies or the United States. Over 90% of the workforce is engaged in subsistence farming. The Rwandan government has invested in information technology as well as education in efforts to promote sustainable economic growth.
Est. 2012 GDP: -1.62%
Est. 2013 GDP: +9.66%
GDP CAGR: +8.35%
Economy: Gambia has few natural resources and an underdeveloped agricultural sector. The country is reliant upon transfer payments from abroad and foreign aid. Its position on this list is due to low base GDP, which artificially skews growth projections upwards relative to other nations. Tourism, particularly eco-tourism, is booming.
Est. 2012 GDP: +6.45%
Est. 2013 GDP: +6.68%
GDP CAGR: +8.46%
Economy: Cambodian textiles amount to over 70% of the nation's exports. Recent oil discoveries and continued development of mineral resources will have a positive impact on GDP growth. Educating and creating jobs for Cambodian youth is paramount to the country's long term development -- the majority of its population is under 25 years old.
Est. 2012 GDP: +8.13%
Est. 2013 GDP: +6.99%
GDP CAGR: +8.63%
Economy: The Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans, and also produces and exports a sizable amount of other commodities, such as coffee, palm oil, and gold. Foreign investment has been reduced due to political instability and civil war, which threaten the nation's growth.
Est. 2012 GDP: +8.18%
Est. 2013 GDP: +7.83%
GDP CAGR: +8.92%
Economy: Ghana's developed Services sector contributes 50% of GDP, while oil, gold, and cocoa production provides the basis for future growth. Inflation is expected to outpace even robust real GDP growth over the next two years, and reducing the debt load remains a challenge for this middle-income African nation.
Est. 2012 GDP: +7.97%
Est. 2013 GDP: +7.69%
GDP CAGR: +9.18%
Economy: Agriculture accounts for 10% of GDP in Turkmenistan, but employs about half the workforce. Oil and natural gas exports to China are the source of the country's wealth and balance of trade surplus. Corruption within the ruling authoritarian regime hinders the nation's growth prospects.
Est. 2012 GDP: +8.29%
Est. 2013 GDP: +8.05%
GDP CAGR: +9.19%
Economy: 75% of Laos' workforce practices subsistence farming, which accounts for around 30% of GDP. Foreign investment in hydro, mining, and construction has spurred Laos' growth and reduction of poverty over the past two decades. Laos' debt burden is modest compared to many of its Asiatic counterparts.
Est. 2012 GDP: +6.47%
Est. 2013 GDP: +8.19%
GDP CAGR: +9.24%
Economy: Privatization of copper mines provided an impetus for growth since the 1990s. Economic growth is vulnerable to price shocks in copper. The IMF forgave $6 billion of Zambia's debts in 2005. Along with high growth, the IMF also forecasts rising inflation in Zambia.
Est. 2012 GDP: +7.50%
Est. 2013 GDP: +8.40%
GDP CAGR: +9.29%
Economy: The majority of Mozambique's population lives below the poverty line, and foreign aid accounts for half of its government's budget. aluminium comprises a third of the nation's exports, and volatility in the commodity's price has an impact on GDP growth.
Est. 2012 GDP: +4.93%
Est. 2013 GDP: +5.29%
GDP CAGR: +9.31%
Economy: This nation is reliant upon oil exports -- and their projected growth is linked to rising oil prices. Decades of chronic civil war contribute to an unstable business environment that continues to pose a threat to economic growth. Serving the nation's debt obligation is also proving a challenge, and the Republic of the Congo received nearly $2 billion in debt relief via the IMF in 2010.
Est. 2012 GDP: +7.67%
Est. 2013 GDP: +3.99%
GDP CAGR: +9.72%
Economy: Subsistence agriculture provides a livelihood for 85% of the nation, but PNG's natural resources -- oil, natural gas, copper, and gold -- are what drive its exports and GDP growth. Infrastructure remains scarce due to a rugged terrain. The country was insulated from the global recession because of continued demand for its commodities.
Est. 2012 GDP: +7.83%
Est. 2013 GDP: +8.23%
GDP CAGR: +10.02%
Economy: The world's largest exporter and second biggest economy has gradually transitioned from an isolated, state-planned economy and introduced elements of free markets. An ageing population, decreasing farmland, lack of domestic consumption, and reducing regional imbalances are downside risks to Chinese GDP growth. China is on the forefront of alternative energy development, particularly in solar.
Est. 2012 GDP: +121.90%
Est. 2013 GDP: +16.69%
GDP CAGR: +10.38%
Economy: Libya's wealth is derived from its exports of oil and natural gas to Europe and China. Construction and service sectors are growing, both in value and as a share of GDP. The Libyan GDP per capita is among the highest in Africa, though income inequality remains high. Foreign investments to develop Libya's natural resources are contingent upon political stability and national security.
Est. 2012 GDP: +10.00%
Est. 2013 GDP: +10.00%
GDP CAGR: +11.92%
Economy: Offshore drilling for oil and gas is the principal source of government revenues. The government has increased spending on infrastructure to continue to repair damages caused by Indonesian troops in 1999. Unemployment and dependence upon O&G are roadblocks to growth.
Est. 2012 GDP: +10.17%
Est. 2013 GDP: +14.67%
GDP CAGR: +13.56%
Economy: Foreign investment inflows are expected to increase in the wake of US Troop withdrawals. Oil exports, the impetus for the nation's wealth, have returned to pre-war levels. Adoption of free market principles, strengthening the legal framework for businesses, and developing Iraqi infrastructure are keys to the country's growth.
Est. 2012 GDP: +12.67%
Est. 2013 GDP: +15.74%
GDP CAGR: +13.83%
Economy: Mongolia successfully transitioned from a Cold War Soviet satellite state into semi-modern, mixed capitalist economy. Mineral deposits of copper, gold, coal, uranium, tin, and tungsten are the major sources of Mongolia's wealth. Commodity exports -- overwhelmingly to China -- and foreign investment will drive GDP growth.
Est. 2012 GDP: +9.91%
Est. 2013 GDP: +13.51%
GDP CAGR: +14.46%
Economy: The majority of citizens in this underdeveloped economy are reliant upon agriculture and forestry. The lack of infrastructure in the country is due to the rough, mountainous terrain. India is the nation's closest trading partner, and increasing hydropower exports are expected to drive Bhutanese employment and economic growth moving forward.
Est. 2012 GDP: +4.79%
Est. 2013 GDP: +5.01%
GDP CAGR: +16.27%
Economy: Guinea is among the world's richest in natural resources, possessing half of available bauxite reserves in addition to iron ore, gold, and diamonds. Corruption is the nation's primary barrier to economic growth. Access to international aid and foreign investment is contingent upon addressing this issue.
Est. 2012 GDP: -54.98%
Est. 2013 GDP: +69.62%
GDP CAGR: +19.85%
Economy: The majority of South Sudan's adult population still engages in subsistence farming. Government revenues come nearly wholly from oil, the country's most abundant and valuable natural resource. As well, South Sudan has sovereignty over the White Nile valet, one of the most fertile grounds for agriculture in Africa. Poverty and insufficient infrastructure remain the top issues for the nation to address.
Est. 2012 GDP: +4.5%
Est. 2013 GDP: +5.5%
GDP CAGR: +31.50%
Economy: This nation enjoys oil reserves in the Gulf of Guinea, and is transitioning from a cocoa-producing to a petroleum-producing nation. A burgeoning tourism industry, the institution of free markets, and inflows of foreign investment are the green shoots for this island economy. São Tomé and Principe are vulnerable to price shocks on their many imported goods.
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