The chart below shows the growth in GNP(above) and GNP/cap (below) between 1965-1998. The blue areas denote countries with shrinking GNP (and GNP/cap). One striking observation in the GNP/cap graph is that the land-locked countries (Africa inland strip from Bukina Faso to Zambia, and Mongolia) performed worst. This is a statistical evidence that economic evidence is hurted by lack of access to trading.
How about inland countries in Europe (Switzerland, Austria, Czech/Slavia, Hungary)? The infrastructure is well developed, and the distance to sea is not too long. They also border wealthy neighbor and hence access to over-land trade.
Other countries with shrinking GNP/cap
- Iran: the invasion by evil Saddam Hussein (supported by US) and embargo from US after the 1979 revolution. Hopefully this will change.
- UAE and Kuwait puzzled me. change in oil price (oil price at 1998 was below $20/barrel)? or dilution by foreign labor?
- Georgia: turmoil after USSR collapse + lack of natural resources compared with other ex-USSR republics
- Ethiopia, Sierra Leone: prolonged civil war
- Cote D'Ivore and Ghana are also puzzles when compared with neighbor land-locked Mali
- Madagascar: I believe (hope) the lemur country will recover soon
- Nicaragua: civil war again
- Venezuela is another puzzle. But this at least shows us Chavez should not shoulder all the blame as he is no wrose than his predecessors, contrary to what the neo-cons in US have alleged.
The poorest countries are not always the ones that receive most aid. Israel is among the top recipients ($105/cap).
Nor is the richest countries the ones that contribute most, as illustrated by the some UN ODA (Official Development Aid) numbers below (Source).
Judging by ODA alone may not be fair, "Center for Global Development attempts to factor in some quality measures and has an attempt at “Ranking the Rich” based on their commitment to development for the world’s poor. This index considers aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology."
Finally, a quiz, which country/area (i.e. ignore politics, and consider Taiwan as a country/area) has the highest GDP/cap?