Thursday, January 7, 2010

Iraq Ranked Towards The Bottom of Per Capita Income Amongst Arab Countries

A new report by the Arab League ranked Iraq twelfth in per capita income amongst Arab nations, placing it towards the bottom of the list. Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman were at the top of the list, while Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Mauritania, and Yemen made up the bottom five. Qatar had a per capita income of $70,651 with a population of 1.448 million, followed by $52,574 for the UAE with a population of 4.76 million, $40,046 for Kuwait with a population of 3.43 million, $21,675 for Bahrain with a population of 1.123 million, and Oman with $20,908 with a population of 2.86 million.

In the 1970s Iraq had a rising standard of living due to the increase in oil prices following the OPEC boycott and generous social spending by the government. Saddam’s decision to go to war with Iran, followed by the invasion of Kuwait, and international sanctions destroyed most of those achievements. A U.N. study found that living standards dropped 66% from 1988 to 1995 as a result. The economic conditions in Iraq were only made worse by the U.S. invasion. Its only been very recently that parts of Iraq’s economy and services have begun to recover. That’s been seen in a growth of per capita GDP to levels close to those in the 1980s. Compared to its neighbors however, Iraq’s GDP, GDP per capita, purchasing power, and as the Arab League report points out, per capita income, are still some of the lowest in the region. These numbers can also be misleading for oil dependent countries such as Iraq and others in the Gulf because a nation can be bringing in billions from petroleum, but that doesn’t mean that it is trickling down to the population.

Arab League Ranking of Per Capita Income In Arab World
1. Qatar
2. United Arab Emirates
3. Kuwait
4. Bahrain
5. Oman
6. Saudi Arabia
7. Libya
8. Lebanon
9. Algeria
10. Tunisia
11. Jordan
12. IRAQ
13. Morocco
14. Egypt
15. Syria
16. Sudan
17. Mauritania
18. Yemen

Iraq’s Per Capita GDP
1980 $3,812
1994 $180
2002 $770
2008 approx. $3,100

Comparison Of Iraq’s GDP With Region
Saudi Arabia $458.1 billion
Iran $319 billion
United Arab Emirates $240.3 billion
Egypt $159.2 billion
Algeria $152.3 billion
Kuwait $148.4 billion
Qatar $95.8 billion
Morocco $87 billion
IRAQ $84.7 billion
Libya $67.9 billion
Syria $50 billion
Oman $46.4 billion
Tunisia $38.9 billion
Lebanon $28.02 billion
Yemen $22.3 billion
Jordan $20.1 billion
Bahrain $18.6 billion

Purchasing Power Parity In Region
Qatar $58,004
Kuwait $40,826
United Arab Emirates $29,063
Saudi Arabia $23,928
Bahrain $23,702
Oman $23,652
Libya $16,431
Iran $11,748
Lebanon $10,742
Algeria $8,344
Tunisia $7,894
Egypt $5,689
Jordan $5,051
Syria $4,763
Morocco $4,405
IRAQ $3,880
Yemen $2,290


Al Mada, “Iraq is ranked twelfth in the list of the richest Arab,” 1/2/10


Anonymous said...

If the major factors are oil produced per citizen, then Iraq has the greatest potential for improvement because of its large undeveloped reserves.

Joel Wing said...

Iraq has major problems to overcome before it can reach its potential with its oil industry, but if they're successful, all of those numbers would go up.

The problem as I noted at the end, is that may not mean much for the average Iraqi. 250,000 young people enter the job market each year and there's not many jobs for them, and services are still spotty. Oil is not a labor intensive industry either, which is what they need, something to provide jobs. The hope is that the extra revenue will be put into services and to diversify the economy, but if other oil dependent countries are a model, this is unlikely to happen.

Maury said...

Iraq has incredible potential. Right now,farmers and manufacturers are being pounded by cheap Iranian imports. Iran has a 150% import tariff and subsidizes exports. The government needs to protect these industries and encourage growth. Oil is nice,but it won't provide every Iraqi with a job.

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