Top 7 Countries That Developed Without Natural Resources (2023)

Natural resources are natural components and materials that exist in the world without any input or effort from humans; they occur naturally. These resources are very different and come in diverse qualities, they range from living to non-living, renewable resources to non-renewable resources, tangible to non-tangible resources and many more.

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Natural resources are very essential in the survival of all humans as well as other living organisms. All products of the world use natural resources as their component; this may come in the form of natural chemicals, air, water or energy. The high demand for natural resources across the globe has led to their rapid depletion; as a result of this many countries of the world are calling for better means of managing and sustaining the use of these natural resources.

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Table of Contents

Types Of Natural Resources

Due to their complexity and diversity, natural resources can be classified into different categories as outlined below:

  • Renewable Natural Resources

This kind of resource referred to the resources that can naturally regenerate themselves even after use. Renewable respires include natural vegetation, water, wind, animals as well as solar energy; all these resources are present in nature and often in abundance.

  • Non-renewable Natural Resources

Non-renewable resources are those components and resources that take too long to replenish after it has been used, it also comes in very limited quantities. These products include precious materials, rocks, crude oil, minerals, and the likes. In addition to that, some other endangers animals are classified among non-renewable due to the fact that their mortality rate is way higher than their rate of reproduction.

  • Biotic Natural Resources

Biotic natural resources are those living resources that are existent naturally in the environment we live in; they are things we see all around us. Biotic natural resources include wildlife, forests, fossil fuels and more.

  • Non-biotic Natural Resources

Non-Biotic natural resources include natural products in the environment, however, unlike biotic mayoral resources, non-biotic are non-living. Some of these resources include metals, water, rock, mineral resources, and many others.

  • Stock Natural Resources

There are many natural resources in the world, while many of them are being utilized, a lot of them are still yet to be exploited due to lack of human skills, power, and technology that could be used to extract some of these natural materials. Due to these reasons, such natural resources are classified among stock resources; implying that they will be of more use in the nearest future.

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These 7 Countries Developed Without Natural Resources

All countries of the world are not created equally, some possess more natural resources while others have less. A country that has more natural resources will not need to import them as the availability of many raw materials has the opportunity to increase the economic growth and development of the country. They also gain more liquidity from the export of their raw materials, contrarily, countries with less natural resources seem to suffer from this process. Due to few, little or no resources in their country, they will have to import a lot of natural resources from other countries, this makes them spend more on importation.

While some of these countries have to spend more on natural resources, a lot of them still tend to thrive and perform well economically. Some of these countries that are well developed without natural resources are but not limited to:

  1. Japan

Due to the nature of their country- a volcanic island and mountainous country- Japan has a very less amount of natural resources to give adequate support to its economic growth and development. The country had to depend on the importation of raw materials to support its large population and growing economy. However, with exports of electronics, automobiles, semiconductors, conductors, steel, iron and copper, Japan was able to sustain economic growth. Other exports include processed foods, textiles, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, bio-industry, and aerospace.

  1. South Korea

South Korea makes export of over $550 billion through massive industrialization. With very little natural resources and overpopulation, South Korea was able to survive its economy with core exportations in automotive, telecommunications equipment, computers, ships, steels, high tech electronics, petrochemicals, and information displays. South Korea still seems to be expanding economically while ranking as one of the best performers among developed countries of the world.

  1. Italy

Although Italy does not boast of beautiful and mindblowing skyscrapers, it remains one of the top world countries with a growing economy. While Italy lacks the power of natural resources, it remains a world-class industrial nation making over $530 billion in clothing and textiles, engineering products, transport equipment, automotive, chemicals, beverages and tobacco, food, refined metals as well as high-end luxuries consumer products.

  1. Hong Kong

Due to Hong Kong’s size, it has a very small land with less natural resources, therefore, it imports raw materials and most of its food from other countries. Even at this huge rate of importation, Hong Kong has been able to manage its own industrialization to make over $440 billion from exportation.

  1. Singapore

With no natural resources and having a very small population among other countries on this list, Singapore proves to the world how a tiny island can become one of the most prosperous nations across the globe. Aside from becoming prosperous, Singapore also becomes an advanced country raking in $420 billion from the exportation of machinery and equipment, food and beverages, electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and refined oil. Singapore has to import everything they needed including water from their neighboring country- Malaysia.

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  1. Belgium

Except for coal, which is no longer economical for exploitation, Belgium has no natural resource that it can utilize to make some funds for the development and growth of her country. Thus, it imports raw materials from other countries of the countries, especially when it is surrounded with industrially powerful countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom, Belgium has never had the opportunity to build a very strong manufacturing base. Instead, it focuses more on high tech and light industries; thereby becoming major exporters in finished diamonds, machinery, and equipment, foodstuffs as well as metal and metal equipment.

  1. Switzerland

Switzerland seems to be in a very different condition when compared with other countries on this list, this is due to the fact that the country is landlocked; however, Switzerland has proved that being landlocked is never a barrier to the growth and development of a comité I-economically- while raking in over $350 billion with no natural resources. Being around high power countries like France, Germany and the likes, Switzerland had fewer chances of thriving with technology and industrialization, instead, it engages in food processing and confectionary which earns her many multinational food companies like Nestle and the likes.

Countries With the Least Natural Resources

In any country, natural resources are the basic determinant of how rich or poor the country will be in terms of economic development. Natural resources also increase the possibilities of the country to be self-dependent and self-sufficient.

Contrarily, some countries have probes that how rich or poor a country would be is not determined by its natural resources. The latter said it is also made visible in countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia which has an abundance of raw materials but has a very slow economy. Also, the likes of Singapore and Hongkong clearly shows how a country with little or no raw materials can thrive economically. That being said, here is a list of countries with the least natural resources.

  • Vatican City
  • Costa Rica
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Taïwan
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • Gibraltar
  • Singapore
  • Italy

Countries With the Most Natural Resources

Natural resources have been made well known in previous lines to be commodities and raw materials that came to development and existence without any action or effort by human beings on the surface of the earth. These natural resources are raw materials that are utilized in the production of many products which we use in this present age. The cost of these resources usually varies from how useful they are, their quality, how to find them as well as whether they are high in demand or otherwise. In most cases, these materials, either raw or processed, are usually costly, therefore; they rwmainsntje backbone of countries that possess them. Some countries that have them in abundance include:

  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Canada
  • India
  • Russia
  • Brazil
  • United States
  • Venezuela
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Australia

Countries that Became Rich and Prosperous Through Natural Resources

When you hear about rich countries in the world, what comes to your mind? Also, what comes to your mind when you hear of the smallest nations of the world? Read through these lines and find what will amaze you about countries that became rich through the abundance and utilization of their natural resources.

While some countries have gathered riches through industrialization and exporting food materials, a lot have been able to develop and grow through their raw materials and natural resources; some of these countries include but not limited to:

  • Qatar
  • Macao
  • Luxembourg
  • Iran
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Ireland
  • Norway
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Kuwait
  • United States

Poorest Countries With Natural Resources

While many countries of the world have been able to develop their economy through natural resources, it is interesting to know that what some countries lack and still develop (natural resources), some countries possess them in abundance and have still remained poor over the decades. Some of these countries suffer from natural disasters, overpopulation and oftentimes bad government- usually poor and dictatorship leaders. These countries include:

  • Liberia
  • The central African Republic
  • Burundi
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Niger
  • South Sudan
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Sierra Leone
  • Madagascar
  • Comoros
  • Togo
  • The Gambia
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Haïti
  • Burkina Faso
  • Thailand

To sum up, all that has been said, it becomes obvious that proper utilization and management of natural resources is a practice that all nations should be involved in. This is to avoid the tragedies of countries that have them in abundance and have failed to create wealth with their raw materials.



Which country has no natural resources but still developed? ›

Countries like Japan did not have any natural resources still they are rich and developed countries because they have invested in people especially in the field of education and health. These people have made efficient use of other resources like land and capital.

What is an example of a developed country without any natural resources? ›

When one, on top of this, adds that some of the world's fastest-growing economies over the past decades – such as Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore – have no natural wealth the picture that emerges is that resources seem to be negative for development. Based on the World Development Indicators database (World Bank).

Which country has excelled in development despite lacking natural resources? ›

How has Japan become a developed country despite being poor in natural resources?

Which country is the #1 country for natural resources? ›

01: 1. Russia. Russia heads the list when it comes to natural resources, boasting diamond, gold, platinum, palladium, coal, natural gas and petroleum as well as iron ore, manganese, chromium, nickel, titanium, copper, tin, lead and tungsten.

What country has no natural resources? ›

Vatican City is the country with the least natural resources. The country has almost no natural resources at all. The country is suffering from a complete lack of coal reserves. The natural gas reserves are also not existent.

What countries have a lack of natural resources? ›

Countries With the Least Natural Resources
  • Vatican City.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Switzerland.
  • Belgium.
  • Taïwan.
  • Japan.
  • Hong Kong.
  • Gibraltar.

Does China have natural resources? ›

China. China has natural resources estimated to be worth $23 trillion. 2 Ninety percent of China's resources are coal and rare earth metals. Timber is another major natural resource found in the country, as is arable land.

Is Russia rich in natural resources? ›

Russia holds the world's largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal reserves, and the eighth largest oil reserves.

Which country has the least development? ›

According to the Human Development Index, Niger is the least developed country in the world with an HDI of . 354. Niger is afflicted with widespread malnutrition and 44.1% of its people live below the poverty line.

Which country in the world has no mineral resources? ›

Switzerland is known for having no mineral deposits.

Why Japan is a developed country even after having less resources? ›

Japan became a developed country despite being poor in natural resources : (i) They have invested in human resources. (ii) They import the required resources for their industries. (iii) Efficiency of the people has made the country rich.

Is Africa rich in natural resources? ›

Africa is rich in natural resources ranging from arable land, water, oil, natural gas, minerals, forests and wildlife. The continent holds a huge proportion of the world's natural resources, both renewables and non-renewables.

Which continent is the richest in natural resources? ›

The African continent is no doubt the most resource-abundant continent. Resources such as gold, diamond, oil, natural gas, copper, uranium, among others are mined in different parts of the continent.

Which country have the most oil? ›


Does Japan have no resources? ›

Japan has always been described as a country with virtually no major natural resources such as natural gas, oil, gold, coal, copper, and iron. The country depends on imported raw material and energy.

Does China lack natural resources? ›

Based on total proven mineral reserves, China is only second to the US and Russia, ranking third in the world. This certainly supports the saying that China has a large territory and ample resources.

What country has no natural water? ›

The Vatican is an extremely unusual country, in that it is actually a religious city within another country. As it is only a city, it has almost no natural terrain within it, and therefore no natural rivers.

Does Europe lack natural resources? ›

Europe has limited deposits of oil and natural gas, which are drilled for energy and fuel. Russia has some of the largest oil deposits on the planet, although most of them are in the remote Asian part of the country. Russia is also the world's largest exporter of natural gas.

What countries are most affected by resource scarcity? ›

Fragile states in Africa and the Middle East are most at risk of experiencing food and water shortages, but China and India are also vulnerable.

Why are some countries with natural resources poor? ›

The resource curse, also known as the paradox of plenty or the poverty paradox, is the phenomenon of countries with an abundance of natural resources (such as fossil fuels and certain minerals) having less economic growth, less democracy, or worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.

What are the 4 most developed countries? ›

Developed Countries List 2022
RankCountryHuman Development Index 2019
4Hong Kong0.949
110 more rows

What are the top five most developed countries? ›

Here is the list of the top 10 developed countries according to Gross Domestic Product sorted alphabetically.
  • Canada. ...
  • France. ...
  • Germany. ...
  • Italy. ...
  • Japan. ...
  • Switzerland. ...
  • United Kingdom. ...
  • United States of America. In terms of GDP, the United States of America stands at number one position.

Does North Korea have a lot of natural resources? ›

North Korea contains the great bulk of all known mineral deposits on the peninsula. It is estimated that some 200 minerals are of economic value. Most important are iron ore and coal, although greater emphasis has been given to the extraction of gold, magnesite (magnesium carbonate), lead, and zinc.

Is China developed or developing? ›

China was the richest developing country on Earth in 2021 with a total GDP of $17.73 trillion.

What is China famous for? ›

What is China famous for? China is known for its architectural wonders such as the Great Wall and Forbidden City, its staggering variety of delicious food, its martial arts, and its long history of invention. More than just tea and temples, China is a fast-changing mix of the ultra-modern and the very ancient.

Who is richer US or Russia? ›

The United States, by contrast, has a nominal GDP of $20.89 trillion—roughly 14 times the size of Russia's economy. And nominal GDP per capita is $63,413. Even three U.S. states have larger GDPs than Russia: California ($3.1 trillion), Texas ($1.78 trillion) and New York ($1.7 trillion).

Is Ukraine rich or poor? ›

Economy of Ukraine
GDP per capita rank112th (nominal, 2021) 107th (PPP, 2021)
GDP by sectorAgriculture: 12.2% Industry: 28.6% Services: 60% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line1.3% (2018) 0.4% on less than $3.20/day (2020f)
Gini coefficient26.1 low (2018, World Bank)
35 more rows

Who holds Russian debt? ›

The Russian government owes about $40 billion in debt denominated in U.S. dollars and euros, and half of those bonds are owned by foreign investors. And Russian corporations have racked up approximately $100 billion in foreign currency debt, JPMorgan estimates.

What are the 3 least developed countries? ›

UN list of least developed countries
  • Sudan.
  • Timor-Leste.
  • Togo.
  • Tuvalu.
  • Uganda.
  • United Republic of Tanzania.
  • Yemen.
  • Zambia.

What are 3 less developed countries? ›

The following 46 countries were still listed as least developed countries by the UN as of November 2021: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, ...

What are the 25 poorest country in the world? ›

Additionally, all of the 25 poorest countries, with the exception of Zimbabwe and Tajikistan, are considered Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by the UN.
Mapped: The 25 Poorest Countries in the World.
CountryGDP per capita (USD)
South Sudan$303.15
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)$456.89
6 more rows
22 Apr 2021

Why does Switzerland have no minerals? ›

Explanation: Possibly because you are confused over the meaning of minerals? Switzerland limits its industrial mining of mineral resources mostly to minerals that are consumed domestically, and where the environmental impacts are considered tolerable. Limestone is still quarried and used in the production of concrete.

How did Japan get so rich? ›

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Japan achieved one of the highest economic growth rates in the world. This growth was led by: High rates of investment in productive plant and equipment. The application of efficient industrial techniques.

How did Japan develop without natural resources? ›

(i)Japan have invested in human capital especially in the field of education and health. (ii)The skilled and trained people have made efficient use of other resources like land and capital. (iii)Efficiency and technology evolved by people have made there countries developed.

Why Japan developed so fast? ›

The low cost of imported technology allowed for rapid industrial growth. Productivity was greatly improved through new equipment, management, and standardization. MITI gained the ability to regulate all imports with the abolition of the Economic Stabilization Board and the Foreign Exchange Control Board in August 1952.

Why has Africa not developed? ›

Another leading reason why Africa is still lagging behind the rest of the world is because of the outdated government policies. Technological innovation, industrial growth, and improved living standards, all are fuelled by the governments but sadly in Africa, the governments are not paying much heed to all of this.

Why is Africa poor if they have diamonds? ›

Moreover, poor technological infrastructure and lack of investments in training and development make Africa the home for low-skill people. Despite huge demand, the diamond mines are operated by unskilled personnel, which results in low-quality final products.

Which is the richest Africa country? ›

Wealthiest countries in Africa 2021. South Africa concentrated the largest amount of private wealth in Africa as of 2021, some 651 billion U.S. dollars. Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, and Kenya followed, establishing the five wealthier markets in the continent.

Was Africa rich before? ›

It is clear that Africa was abundant and wealthy continent with African rulers who governed their kingdoms, which were burnt, destroyed and brought to ruin by the colonial settlers who tried to claim the cities and empires as their own.

Who is richest man in the world? ›

Who is the richest person in the world? Top 10 richest people in the world 2022, Elon Musk net worth
  1. Elon Musk. Elon Musk is the co-founder and CEO of Tesla and is currently the richest person in the world, he has a net worth of $201.3 billion. ...
  2. Bernard Arnault. ...
  3. Gautam Adani. ...
  4. Jeff Bezos.
11 hours ago

Why is Africa called the Dark continent? ›

Africa was originally dubbed the “Dark Continent” by Welsh journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley, who saw Africa as mysterious. Its landscapes and cultures were largely unknown to many outsiders until the late nineteenth century.

What 5 countries have the most oil? ›

Here are the 10 countries with the most oil reserves:
  • Venezuela - 303.8.
  • Saudi Arabia - 297.5.
  • Canada - 168.1.
  • Iran - 157.8.
  • Iraq - 145.
  • Russia - 107.8.
  • Kuwait - 101.5.
  • United Arab Emirates - 97.8.

Who has the best oil in the world? ›

Tapis. Tapis, a type of crude found only in Malaysia, is considered the best quality oil in the world. Light and sweet, it's benchmark traded in Singapore and coveted for its remarkably low sulphur content (0.04 percent) and low density of between 43 and 45° API.

Which country has the most untapped natural resources? ›

The Democratic Republic of Congo

Which country did not have natural resources and invested in human resource? ›

(i)Japan have invested in human capital especially in the field of education and health. (ii)The skilled and trained people have made efficient use of other resources like land and capital.

What is the most underdeveloped country? ›

According to the Human Development Index, Niger is the least developed country in the world with an HDI of . 354. Niger is afflicted with widespread malnutrition and 44.1% of its people live below the poverty line.

What resources will never run out? ›

Wind and solar energy

Solar energy and wind power are considered renewable natural resources, meaning as long as there's a sun in the sky (the sun fuels wind, too), we won't run out of them.

Is China rich in natural resources? ›

China. China has natural resources estimated to be worth $23 trillion. 2 Ninety percent of China's resources are coal and rare earth metals. Timber is another major natural resource found in the country, as is arable land.

Is Philippines rich in natural resources? ›

Despite its small area, the Philippines is one of the world's richly endowed countries in terms of mineral resources. In 1994, the estimated levels of metallic and non-metallic mineral reserves stood at 7 billion metric tons and 50 billion metric tons, respectively.

Which continent is richest in natural resources? ›

The African continent is no doubt the most resource-abundant continent. Resources such as gold, diamond, oil, natural gas, copper, uranium, among others are mined in different parts of the continent.

Why Japan is so developed? ›

With its phenomenal economic revival from the ashes of World War II, Japan was one of the first Asian countries to climb the value chain from cheap textiles to advanced manufacturing and services – which now account for the majority of Japan's GDP and employment.

What are the 5 least developed countries? ›

UN list of least developed countries
  • Afghanistan.
  • Angola.
  • Bangladesh.
  • Benin.
  • Bhutan.
  • Burkina Faso.
  • Burundi.
  • Cambodia.

What is earth running out of? ›

Topsoil and phosphorus: Both neccessary for the growing of food. While our global supply of soil isn't going to wander off-world, we have mismanaged it to the point of concern. Topsoil is the outermost layer of soil, from which plants obtain most of their vital nutrients.

Can earth run out water? ›

In reality, the world won't run out of water. Water does not leave Earth, nor does it come from space. The amount of water the world has is the same amount of water we've always had. However, we could run out of usable water, or at least see a drop to very low reserves.

What resources is earth running out of? ›

What resources are in decline?
  • Oil – Without oil, global transportation will be severely debilitated. ...
  • Natural Gas – As of 2010, the known reserves of natural gas was estimated to last 58.6 years with the current global production.
  • Fish – Fishermen from a lot of coastal provinces report a decline in their catch.


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