Resources are the endowments of nature which are engines of growth for all countries. They are the ‘boon’ to various countries on the globe. Resources not only boost growth and economic development in the country but also lead to higher degrees of self-dependence on the countries. They tend to lower their reliance on other nations for any form of imports of natural resources because their own endowment is enough for their development. Moreover, given the scarcity of resources, many of which are just enough to last less than a century, possession of these indispensable natural assets has become a necessity.
We are living in the era of World Wars, attack threats and inter-country disputes, all basically with the implicit motive to gain the possession of resources. But among the resource rich countries on earth, there exist many others, who have been not as lucky as their counterparts. They lack even in the basic resources of land, oil, coal to name a few. But, quite contrary to our presumptions, these countries have been able to carve a niche for themselves on the global scene. Take a look below for our list of 10 of the most resource deprived countries in the world.
1. Vatican City
Vatican City has the world’s strangest economy, which is almost non-existent and runs on the financial support of Roman Catholics. It has the smallest population of just 840 people and the smallest are of 110 acres. Having absolutely no natural resources of its own, Vatican City is involved in providing financial services to other nations.
2. Costa Rica
Located on the Central American isthmus, Costa Rica is a very small country with virtually no resources at all! Ironically, in Spanish Costa Rica means- “rich” coast. But, despite the scarcity, Costa Rica has managed to be globally recognized for its environment sustainability as well as for having a much higher human development index. A high level of literacy thrives in the country yet it faces the issues of scanty investment and maintenance projects.
Well, this name reminds us of the tick-tock of watches and the shine of Rolex. It also overpowers the senses with the taste of Nestle. Yes, it’s Switzerland. Though it’s a very small country and has almost no resources it has managed to achieve high rates of growth. Switzerland does not have a very strong base of heavy industries but it has certainly developed in terms of lightweight commodities production. It relies heavily on import of raw materials and so has to suffer from an unfavourable balance of trade.
Belgium has forever been overshadowed by developed counterparts in Europe. It has even fallen a step behind in terms of natural resources which are almost non-existent in this small country. But, Belgium has not given up. Besides being a large entrepot, Belgium has the largest diamond cutting industry in the world. It also has a leading manufacturing base in terms of light industries. Though the Euro Zone crisis has made Belgium lose its sheen yet, it remains among the highly developed countries of the world.
Economists and Social scientists revere this country. Taiwan practically has nothing to boast of. It even resorts to importing sand and gravel from China to meet its construction demands. In times when wars are waged over oil and natural resources, Taiwan has just some coal and natural gas but no iron ore, no forests, no precious gems. But it has done what others have not. It has made a huge investment in its just human resource of over 20 million. And with their talent, skills and energy and determination, Taiwan has become a leading manufacturing giant in the world today.
Japan has raced ahead of all fellow nations in terms of technological advancement. From a completely closed economy (except trade relations with Holland), Japan has gradually transformed into a technology hub where new technology and advanced gadgets are always waiting round the corner. With its multinational automobile giants like Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Daikin and Suzuki one is left wondering about the vast, non-exhaustive resources that this country might possess to support such a high level of industrial advancement.
But the fact is, Japan is among the least blessed nations in those terms. She is an island country which is regularly lashed by typhoons, charred with volcanic ash and roughly shaken by earthquakes. But, this nation has stood against all odds, heavily depended on foreign imports of food, energy as well as metals and surpassed all its competitors. Today, Japan is heavily under debt (about two hundred times its gross domestic product!) and is growing old with its ageing population but the dedicated masses with their workaholic culture threaten to overshadow even the most developed countries in terms of technology.
7. Hong Kong
Here comes another Asian Tiger. Resource poor Hong Kong grows in close proximity with the resource rich China. It has no support of natural sources of energy and so Hong Kong has to rely on trade for the same. But it has managed to achieve high growth rates after the bouts of industrialization in the second half of the twentieth century. Hong Kong is remarkably the world’s largest entrepot. It has advanced processing and assembling units that sell off the final product in international market for handsome prices. Though Hong Kong is a small country but it has certainly made a place for itself in the global markets.
8. Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen is a part of the kingdom of Norway and lies in the Arctic ocean. Some authority over these volcanic islands has been transferred to the Norwegian Armed Forces and it depends on the Kingdom of Norway for its administration and governance. The economy of Jan Mayen runs basically on providing services for the radio communication and meteorological stations on the island. Besides, Jan Mayen has pristine gravel but it has not been exploited yet.
Singapore’s success story hardly needs an introduction but what is worth a mention is the fact that Singapore has achieved it all despite being absolutely zero in terms of resource possession. It is deprived to the extent that it has to even import drinking water from neighbouring country of Malaysia. Singapore is a tiny island but it stands among the leaders in terms of re-exports, economic growth figures as well as development policies of the government. It imports raw material, processes and refines it, manufactures products and exports those commodities which fetch high prices for this country. Despite being small in size, Singapore has managed to bag a seat among the Four Asian Tigers.
Sharing its northern border with Spain, Gibraltar is a very small country with absolutely no resources to its service. It is famous for the Rock of Gibraltar. Although Gibraltar is an independent country which can handle its own affairs but, important matters of defence and foreign affairs are handled by the Government of UK. Since this country cannot engage in any production of products as such, its economy basically runs on tourism, financial services, internet gaming as well as shipping.