Reading this map requires two leaps of the imagination. First, picture a world in which every country keeps its shape, but all countries have the same size. The Netherlands and Canada, Singapore and Brazil: all equally big. But then, inflate the size of each country to reflect annual economic growth between now and 2024, as predicted by Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID).
That’s why India is the biggest country on this map: The CID forecasts an annual growth rate of 6.98 percent for India, more than any other nation on Earth. And more than China, much smaller because it has to content itself with a mere 4.28 percent (at #27).
If you get the impression that Africa looms even bigger on this map than on a normal one, that is no coincidence: eight of the other nine countries in the CID’s Top 10 are located in Africa — eastern Africa, in the main. In descending order: Uganda (6.04 percent), Kenya (6.0 percent), Tanzania (5.96 percent), Egypt (5.83 percent), Madagascar (5.78 percent), Senegal(5.77 percent), Malawi (5.66 percent), and Zambia (5.55 percent).
The only other Top 10 country is the Philippines, at #8 with 5.68 percent. Other Asian countries also predicted to perform well over the coming decade are Pakistan (5.07 percent), Malaysia (4.87 percent), Indonesia (4.82 percent), Vietnam (4.75 percent), and Thailand (4.70 percent).
But even outside South Asia and East Africa, two regions oversized to reflect their growth potential, there are other, often surprising candidates for rapid economic progress. Guatemala (5.22 percent at #11) and Zimbabwe (4.93 percent, at #13), for example. Or Jordan (4.81 percent, at #16). How about Mali (4.71 percent, at #18) and Yemen (4.23 percent, at #28)?
At the lower, smaller end of the scale, we find many of the “mature” markets that constitute the developed world — for now. The CID predicts Germany will grow by no more than 0.35 percent per year between now and 2024, according it the last but one place in the list, at #120. It is dwarfed even by middle-league neighbours such as Belgium (2.61 percent) and Switzerland (3.12 percent). Australia will fare little better, with 1.07 percent. And even the U.S. (2.58 percent) is bested by Mexico (4.37 percent).
On the other hand, some poor countries will only manage “mature” growing rates, including Cuba (0.95 percent), and Libya (1.04 percent).