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The world's fastest growing economies

Last updated on: December 22, 2010 06:34 IST

Photographs: Reuters

If you think that China is the world's fastest growing economy, think again.

However, among the major (or large) economies, China does remain the fastest growing economy. But if you take smaller nations too in the list, China slips down the list.

Similarly, India too has been for a while considered to be the second fastest growing economy after China. The reality however is different.

Asia and Africa account for the world's fastest growing economies, says Economy Watch.

Many of the nations in this list have a smaller base and even a small amount of robust economic activity impacts overall growth figures. However, it is significant to note that some of these nations which showed hardly any growth in the past are now speeding along merrily on the path to economic development and well being.

The most recent quarterly Global Economic Outlook from Fitch Ratings says that the economic recovery rate across the world is encouraging despite significant financial market volatility.

The global ratings agency says that the global economy will grow at 3.4 per cent this year, up from its previous projection of 3.2 per cent, at 3 per cent in 2011 and at 3.3 per cent in 2012.

So can you tell which are the world's fastest growing economies? . . . 

The world's fastest growing economies

Image: Local fishermen mend their nets in front of Cape Coast Castle, a former slave holding facility, in the Ghanaian town of Cape Coast.
Photographs: Reuters

1. Ghana: 20.146%

Many economists believe that Africa is the next boomtown. Several African nations are now growing at a rapid pace, trying to make lives better for their people. None more so than Ghana.

For quite a long time, Ghana received many an unflattering adjectives to describe its economy: 'worst managed', 'disastrous', etc.  However, the small African nation has since then come a long way and is the world's fastest growing economy today.

Ghana's economy is growing at a blistering 20.15 per cent, says Economy Watch. It's a $23.4-billion economy.

Blessed with rich reserves of natural resources, Ghana has suddenly turned around and is now speeding along the growth path.

Ghana suffered the most due to the ineffective economic policies of past military governments, says Wikipedia, but the new government has managed to bring the country out of economic doldrums.

Economic reforms, political stability, low crime rate, and an overhaul of earlier policies have made the nation very attractive to foreign investors.

Ghana is oil-rich, has large gold and diamond deposits, and has a booming tourism industry.

. . . 

The world's fastest growing economies

Image: A salesperson shows chaplets to shoppers at Villagio Mall, a popular shopping area in Doha, Qatar.
Photographs: Reuters

2. Qatar: 14.337%

With a GDP growth rate of 12.337 per cent, Qatar is the world's second fastest growing economy, says Economy Watch. It's a $132-billion economy.

The economy of Qatar, one of the world's largest exporters of petroleum, is primarily oil-based. High oil and gas prices have boosted the economy of this Gulf state over the last few years.

The per capita income of Qataris is $66,100, the sixth highest in the world.

The nation's economy mainly depends on its huge oil and natural gas reserves. There is no income tax in Qatar.

Qatar is an oil- and gas-rich nation with world's third largest gas reserves.

The country has excellent infrastructure which was further boosted as it hosted the 2006 Asian Games too. Within the other Gulf region, the nation is a role model for its economic and social transformation, says Wikipedia.

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The world's fastest growing economies

Image: A worker walks past gas taps of the Kazakh stretch of the new 1,833-kilometre Turkmenistan-China pipeline at Otar gas station, near Almaty.
Photographs: Reuters

3. Turkmenistan: 12.178%

Turkmenistan is blessed with the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas. The country is also the world's 10th largest producer of cotton.

It is the world's third fastest growing nation with a GDP growth rate of 12.18 per cent, according to Economy Watch. It is a $41-billion economy.

Although oil and gas is the biggest revenue generator for Turkmenistan, agriculture too accounts for a healthy percentage of its GDP.

Citizens in Turkmenistan get 120 litres of petrol free every month for car drivers, while truck/bus drivers get 200 litres of petrol free. Apart from this, electricity too is subsidised for the citizens.

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The world's fastest growing economies

Image: A view of Shanghai.
Photographs: Reuters

4. China: 9.908%

China is the world's fourth fastest growing economy at 9.908% GDP growth rate, and in monetary terms it is of the order of a whopping $6 trillion, says Economy Watch.

China, which most economists believe could soon upstage the United States as the world's largest economy, showed some signs of slowing down.

However, the rising inflation rates in China are posing a new challenge to the country.

China's gross domestic product grew 9.6 per cent in the third quarter as compared to the same period last year. The growth rate slowed down from 11.9 per cent in the first quarter and 10.3 per cent in the second quarter.

Analysts said that the Chinese government's steps to 'cool the housing market and bank lending' and the shutting down of outdated industrial capacity' led to the slowdown in its economy in the third quarter of 2010.

. . . 

The world's fastest growing economies

Image: Street vendors mob taxi cabs with their wares as they come to a stop in traffic in Monrovia, Liberia.
Photographs: Reuters

5. Liberia: 9.003%

Even though Liberia remains one of the poorest countries on earth, it has shown robust economic activity in the last few years.

This African nation is the world's fifth fastest growing economy with a GDP growth rate of 9.003 per cent, says Economy Watch. It is a $1.05 billion economy.

The nation has rich reserves of iron ore, and also exports rubber exports. In the last few years, it has been receiving a lot of foreign direct investment which has resulted in higher employment, better infrastructure and increased economic activity.

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The world's fastest growing economies

Image: The Taj Mahal in Agra.
Photographs: Reuters

6. India: 8.43%

Economy Watch says that the India, at 8.43 per cent GDP growth rate, is the world's sixth fastest growing economy. India is a $1.5-trillion economy.

However, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has exuded confidence that the Indian economy would shortly revert to 9 per cent growth rate but identified rising prices as a major concern, although inflation has declined to 8.6 per cent from double digits in June.

The India growth story is enviable. Despite plaguing problems, India has emerged stronger and resilient to the global crisis so far.

India is expected to be the world's fastest growing economy by 2018, according to Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research arm of the Economist magazine.

Driven by good performance of agriculture and manufacturing, the Indian economy grew by 8.9 per cent in the second quarter of the current fiscal, up from 8.7 per cent in the corresponding period a year ago.

The growth rate for the first quarter was revised upwards to 8.9 per cent from 8.8 per cent.

This took the overall economic expansion during the first half (April-September) to 8.9 per cent, up from 7.5 per cent in the corresponding period a year ago.

India, the second largest growing economy will overtake China as the fastest growing major economy with an average of 8 per cent in the next five years, the report stated earlier this year. China witnessed 11.9 per cent growth in the same quarter.

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The world's fastest growing economies

Photographs: Reuters

For India, the ideal inflation rate would be 4-5 per cent although it may be difficult to attain.

Attributing inflation mainly to rising food prices, Mukherjee said, "in terms of consumer price indices (retail prices), inflation in the three major groups -- industrial workers, agricultural labour and rural labour -- have come down to single digit level."

Regarding economic growth, Mukherjee said he hoped it would be 8.5 per cent (plus/minus 0.25 per cent) during 2009-10, rising further to 9 per cent in short term.

Having achieved over 9 per cent rate for the three consecutive years, the economic growth dipped to 6.7 per cent during 2008-09, mainly on account of the global financial meltdown.

However, it picked up to 7.4 per cent in 2009-10 and recorded 8.8 per cent in first quarter of the current fiscal.

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The world's fastest growing economies

Image: An Angolan man walks past office blocks under construction in the capital Luanda.
Photographs: Reuters

7. Angola: 8.251%

Angola is the world's seventh fastest growing economy at a GDP growth rate of 8.251 per cent, as per the Economy Watch report. It is a $ 99-billion economy.

Battered by a civil war for close to 25 years, Angola has since then come a long way.

Fresh pro-people and pro-reform policies have seen funding from the International Monetary Fund and other global lenders rising. These funds are being utilised to create infrastructure in the nation, thus generating employment and healthy economic activity.

Angola is an oil-rich state and most of its economy is based on the oil and gas industry, but agriculture too plays a significant role. Wikipedia says that Luanda, the capital of Angola, is the nation's economic and commercial hub.

Political and economic stability have resulted in Angola's growth rate rising at a blistering pace. However, the nation remains mired in poverty.

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The world's fastest growing economies

Image: A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier patrols at Haj Umran border crossing with Iran, in northeastern Iraq.
Photographs: Reuters

8. Iraq: 7.873%

Iraq is growing at 7.873 per cent, making it the world's eighth fastest growing economy, according to Economy Watch. It is a $93-billion economy.

The war ravaged nation of Iraq is slowly trying to come out of the devastation it suffered through wars over the last two decades.

The oil and gas industry is the mainstay of the Iraqi economy. Close to 90 per cent of its foreign exchange revenues comes from the export of oil. With some amount of stability coming to the nation, infrastructure-building/replacement is the priority for Iraq.

These reconstruction measures have led to a churn in the economic activity in the country, leading to generation of jobs.


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The world's fastest growing economies

Image: Traffic flows down a main street in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
Photographs: Reuters

9. Ethiopia: 7.663%

Economy Watch says that with an annual GDP growth rate of 7.663 per cent, Ethiopia is the world's ninth fastest growing economy. It is a $31.7-billion economy.

Over the last two decades, Ethiopia has been noticing the fruits of focussed efforts at propelling its economy. Some reforms were undertaken in spite of opposition from various political quarters in the country.

However, a constant tug of war between the political parties and the severe drought that hit the nation some years ago have had a hugely debilitating effect on the nation's economic health.

Agricultural activity, says Wikipedia, accounts for more than 40 per cent of Ethiopia's GDP. Coffee beans are Ethiopia's largest export commodity.

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The world's fastest growing economies

Image: Workers package beer at Cervejas de Mocambique, a subsidiary of giant SAB Miller, in Maputo, Mozambique.
Photographs: Reuters

10. Mozambique: 7.548%

Mozambique, a member of the Southern African Development Community, is the world's 10th fastest growing economy with a GDP growth rate of 7.548 per cent. It is a $10.5-billion economy.

The SADC free trade plan aims at eliminating tariffs and trade barriers, thus making it more competitive, says Wikipedia.

Despite having been described as a 'success story' by the World Bank and the IMF, Mozambique continues to languish in poverty. But its economic reforms have begun to bear some fruit as more and more of the nation's population gets access to better facilities, albeit slowly.

Big foreign institutional investments in large projects across various industry sectors have revived the nation's economy.

Like in India, a majority of the population in Mozambique too is engaged in the agriculture sector.

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The world's fastest growing economies

Image: An East Timorese worker moves a sack of coffee at a warehouse outside Dili.
Photographs: Reuters

11. Timor Leste (East Timor): 7.4%

Timor Leste (or East Timor) is the world's eleventh fastest growing economy with an annual GDP growth rate of 7.4 per cent. It's a tiny, $732-million economy.

East Timor's economy is mainly driven by the sectors of agriculture and oil and gas.

An invasion by Indonesia in 1999 led to more than 70 per cent of East Timor's economic infrastructure being destroyed, says Wikipedia. Later, intervention by the United Nations, UN-appointed peacekeepers, and foreign funding helped rebuild the nation's infrastructure.

Some large projects too revived the nation's economic activity. Today, it is one of the rising economic stars in Asia.

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The world's fastest growing economies

Image: Factory workers assemble garments to be exported abroad on the outskirts of the Laotian capital Vientiane.
Photographs: Reuters

12. Laos: 7.395%

The GDP growth rate of Laos is 7.395 per cent, making it the world's 12th fastest growing economy. It is a $6.9-billion economy.

Agriculture is the most important part of the Laotian economy. Over 80 per cent of the country's working people are engaged in the agri sector. The sector also accounts for about 50 per cent of the nation's GDP, says Wikipedia.

Laos's economy is dependent on trade with Thailand, Vietnam, China and other South East Asian nations. Foreign investment has recently been pouring into the country, giving a much-needed boost to the economy. Its tourism industry has been growing rapidly in the last few years.