Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 19th of March 2018 to The Sounding Line.
The following map, from Visual Capitalist, shows the largest export by value for every country in world. Countries are color coded by the type of their largest export. For example, countries where fuel exports are the biggest export are colored tan, countries where food and produce are the biggest exports are colored in green, transportation in blue, and so forth. See the bottom left hand corner of the map for a legend.
(Click the image to enlarge)
The following table breaks down the number of countries by the category of their largest export. More countries have crude petroleum or refined petroleum products as their largest export than any other category. This includes the US (the largest economy in the world), Russia (the largest country in the world by area), India (the second most populous country in the world), as well as the Middle-East and much of Africa.
|Top Export (Category)||# of countries||% of countries|
|Metal, Mineral and Organic||50||26.7%|
|Food and Produce||35||18.7%|
Europe is dominated by transportation exports. Cars, car parts, or planes are the top export in most countries in the EU and Europe including: the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Romania, Belgium and many others. Packaged medicaments are the top export in a handful of other European countries.
Not too surprisingly, East Asia has the highest concentration of countries with computers or other electronics as their top export.
One takeaway from this chart is that it is mostly futile to draw conclusions about a country’s prosperity based on its largest exports. Some of the world’s wealthiest and poorest countries can be found in nearly every export category. Crude oil is the largest export in both Canada and Sudan. Integrated circuits are the biggest export in very wealthy Andorra as well as Malaysia. Iron ore is the top export in both Australia and Mauritania, and cars are a top export in both the UK and Mexico. The only thing you won’t find is a wealthy country with textiles or livestock as its top export. As far as the ‘resource curse‘ theory goes, I see very little evidence that the phenomenon really exists. Natural and mineral resources are bountiful and exploited in countries of all economic stripes. If the presence of mineral wealth ‘cursed’ a country to remain underdeveloped, Norway, Canada, and Australia would be among the world’s least developed.
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