WB releases ‘The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018’ report on wealth accounting; total wealth per capita in BiH estimated at USD 40,500

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The World Bank has released the third report on wealth accounting, called ‘The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018: Building a Sustainable Future’, which covers a broader set of assets that constitute the wealth of countries. 

The book tracks the wealth of 141 countries between 1995 and 2014 by aggregating natural capital, such as forests and minerals; human capital (earnings over a person’s lifetime); produced capital such as buildings and infrastructure; and net foreign assets.

According to the report, the overall wealth is growing, while middle-income countries are closing the gap with high-income countries and now have a greater share of wealth.

However, more than two dozen countries saw their per capita wealth decline or stagnate; the report also reads that high-income Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries hold 52 times more wealth per capita, measured at market exchange rates, than low-income countries.

Countries with large gains in per capita wealth included smaller countries like Chile, Peru, Vietnam, as well as countries rapidly recovering from civil disturbances like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Sri Lanka, as well as some of the resource rich countries in the former USSR, like Azerbaijan.

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The World Bank estimated the 2014 total wealth per capita in Bosna and Herzegovina at 40,486 USD. The country is ranked 41st among 43 countries of Europe and Central Asia, with only Moldova (USD 35,380) and Kyrgyz Republic (USD 24,429) having the lower estimated total wealth per capita.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is also well below the region’s average of USD 368,233, as well as below the average of low- and middle-income countries in the region, which stands at USD 70,530.

Report created by Glenn-Marie Lange, Quentin Wodon and Kevin Carey reads - among other things - that global wealth grew significantly between 1995 and 2014. “Middle-income countries are catching up in large part because of rapid growth in Asia, but inequality in overall wealth persists”, the report reads.

Although total wealth increased almost everywhere, per capita wealth did not. Several low-income countries experienced a decline in per capita wealth because population growth outpaced investment, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa”.

According to the report, “a country’s level of economic development is strongly related to the composition of its national wealth”. “Natural capital is the largest component of wealth in low-income countries (47 percent in 2014) and accounts for more than one-quarter of wealth in lower-middle-income countries”.

The top 10 countries in terms of per capita wealth starting from the wealthiest are Norway (USD 1,671,756), Qatar (USD 1,597,125), Switzerland (USD 1,466,757), Luxembourg, Kuwait, Australia, Canada and the United States. Countries with the least per capita wealth are the Gambia (USD 5,208), Burundi (USD 7,579), Mozambique (USD 7,718), Comoros, Guinea, Madagascar, Liberia, Malawi, Niger and DR Congo.