A World Bank report published last weekend reveals that Saudi Arabia has maintained its position as the strongest Middle East economy in 2008.
Riyadh's gross domestic product (GDP) totaled $468 billion last year, compared to $381 billion in 2007, making Saudi Arabia the 23rd strongest economy in the world.
According to Qatar's al-Raya newspaper, which quoted the World Bank figures, Iran's
economy – which is ranked separately from those of the Arab world – was deemed the second strongest in the Middle East and the 26th in the world, with a GDP of $385 billion in 2008.
Algeria had the second strongest economy in the Arab world last year, with a GDP of $174 billion. One of the Arab world's largest oil and gas exporters, Algeria was ranked the 45th strongest economy in the world, up four spots compared to the 2007 ranking.
The United Arab Emirates ranked third in the Arab world and 49th in the world, and Egypt ranked fourth and 50th respectively. Yemen's economy was at the bottom of Arab economies' ranking with a GDP of about $26.5, giving it the 83rd place in the world.
The per capita income (PCI) ranking presents a completely different picture. According to the World Bank, Qatar leads the Arab world with an individual annual income of $59,000, making it fifth in the world in 2008 – down two places compared to its record ranking in 2007.
Kuwait ranked 17th in the world (PCI of $38,500) and Saudi Arabia came in at the 53rd place with a PCI of $15,500.
have the lowest per capita income - $2,000 and 1,800, respectively.
Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.