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Which Countries Have the Most Economic Complexity?



Every country has an economy that is unique.

In some places, such as the United States or Germany, economies are able to produce many different goods and services that get exported around the world. These countries tend to house world-class businesses in sectors like financials, technology, consumer goods, and healthcare, with companies that produce highly specialized goods like automobiles, software, or pharmaceutical products. Ultimately, these are innovative economies that can roll with the punches, creating growth even when prospects are dim.

In other places, this level of sophistication is just not there. Innovation and knowledge are stunted or non-existent for most industries, and these countries may focus exclusively on one or two goods to pay the bills. Venezuela’s reliance on oil is an obvious example of this, but there are even many Western countries that miss the mark here as well.

Measuring Economic Complexity

In 2009, a team at Harvard formalized a measure of economic complexity that compared nations based on the sophistication of their economies. Now known as the Economic Complexity Index (ECI), the exact measurement is complicated, but it essentially uses data on two main things to uncover the underlying level of economic complexity:

1. Economic Diversity
Measures how many different products a country can produce.

2. Economic Ubiquity
Measures how many countries are able to make those products.

In other words: if a country produces only a few goods, that economy is not very complex. Further, if a country produces many different products, but they are all simple ones that can be replicated elsewhere, the economy is still not complex. See full details on the project here.

Ranking the Most Complex Economies

Here are the most complex economies in order, along with the changing rankings over time:

As you’ll notice, the most recent set of data is from 2015.

Topping the list are the economies of Japan (1st), Switzerland (2nd), Germany (3rd), and South Korea (4th). The United States sits in 9th place, and Canada is further down at 33rd.

Australia, which relies heavily on commodities, ranks notably low for Western countries in 73rd place, where it is sandwiched between Kazakhstan and the Dominican Republic.

Movers and Shakers

The most recent iteration of the index also highlighted some movers and shakers over the last 10 year period:

Largest Falls in Economic Complexity

In particular, the crisis in Venezuela has had an effect on economic complexity, eroding any sophistication that existed.

Meanwhile, Cuba’s economy is also in the decline in terms of sophistication – and with major exports including raw sugar (27%), rolled tobacco (15%), nickel (12%), oil (11%), hard liquor (7%), and crustaceans (4%), it’s not hard to see why.

Largest Wins in Economic Complexity

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Philippines is the biggest mover upwards, ascending 28 spots.

Some African countries are also moving fast up the rankings: Botswana, Malawi, Uganda, and Cameroon each jumped over 20 spots.

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Ranked: The World’s Top Diamond Mining Countries, by Carats and Value

Who are the leaders in rough diamond production and how much is their diamond output worth?



A cropped chart showing the leaders in rough diamond mining and how much their diamond output is worth.

Ranked: World Diamond Mining By Country, Carat, and Value

Only 22 countries in the world engage in rough diamond production—also known as uncut, raw or natural diamonds—mining for them from deposits within their territories.

This chart, by Sam Parker illustrates the leaders in rough diamond production by weight and value. It uses data from Kimberly Process (an international certification organization) along with estimates by Dr. Ashok Damarupurshad, a precious metals and diamond specialist in South Africa.

Rough Diamond Production, By Weight

Russia takes the top spot as the world’s largest rough diamond producer, mining close to 42 million carats in 2022, well ahead of its peers.

ℹ️ Carat is the unit of measurement for the physical weight of diamonds. One carat equals 0.200 grams, which means it takes over 2,265 carats to equal 1 pound.

Russia’s large lead over second-place Botswana (24.8 million carats) and third-ranked Canada (16.2 million carats) indicates that the country’s diamond production is circumventing sanctions due to the difficulties in tracing a diamond’s origin.

Here’s a quick breakdown of rough diamond production in the world.

RankCountryRough Diamond
Production (Carats)
1🇷🇺 Russia41,923,910
2🇧🇼 Botswana24,752,967
3🇨🇦 Canada16,249,218
4🇨🇩 DRC9,908,998
5🇿🇦 South Africa9,660,233
6🇦🇴 Angola8,763,309
7🇿🇼 Zimbabwe4,461,450
8🇳🇦 Namibia2,054,227
9🇱🇸 Lesotho727,737
10🇸🇱 Sierra Leone688,970
11🇹🇿 Tanzania375,533
12🇧🇷 Brazil158,420
13🇬🇳 Guinea128,771
14🇨🇫 Central
African Republic
15🇬🇾 Guyana83,382
16🇬🇭 Ghana82,500
17🇱🇷 Liberia52,165
18🇨🇮 Cote D'Ivoire3,904
19🇨🇬 Republic of Congo3,534
20🇨🇲 Cameroon2,431
21🇻🇪 Venezuela1,665
22🇲🇱 Mali92

Note: South Africa’s figures are estimated.

As with most other resources, (oil, gold, uranium), rough diamond production is distributed unequally. The top 10 rough diamond producing countries by weight account for 99.2% of all rough diamonds mined in 2022.

Diamond Mining, by Country

However, higher carat mined doesn’t necessarily mean better value for the diamond. Other factors like the cut, color, and clarity also influence a diamond’s value.

Here’s a quick breakdown of diamond production by value (USD) in 2022.

RankCountryRough Diamond
Value (USD)
1🇧🇼 Botswana$4,975M
2🇷🇺 Russia$3,553M
3🇦🇴 Angola$1,965M
4🇨🇦 Canada$1,877M
5🇿🇦 South Africa$1,538M
6🇳🇦 Namibia$1,234M
7🇿🇼 Zimbabwe$424M
8🇱🇸 Lesotho$314M
9🇸🇱 Sierra Leone$143M
10🇹🇿 Tanzania$110M
11🇨🇩 DRC$65M
12🇧🇷 Brazil$30M
13🇱🇷 Liberia$18M
14🇨🇫 Central
African Republic
15🇬🇾 Guyana$14M
16🇬🇳 Guinea$6M
17🇬🇭 Ghana$3M
18🇨🇲 Cameroon$0.25M
19🇨🇬 Republic of Congo$0.20M
20🇨🇮 Cote D'Ivoire$0.16M
21🇻🇪 Venezuela$0.10M
22🇲🇱 Mali$0.06M

Note: South Africa’s figures are estimated. Furthermore, numbers have been rounded and may not sum to the total.

Thus, even though Botswana only produced 59% of Russia’s diamond weight in 2022, it had a trade value of nearly $5 billion, approximately 1.5 times higher than Russia’s for the same year.

Another example is Angola, which is ranked 6th in diamond production, but 3rd in diamond value.

Both countries (as well as South Africa, Canada, and Namibia) produce gem-quality rough diamonds versus countries like Russia and the DRC whose diamonds are produced mainly for industrial use.

Which Regions Produce the Most Diamonds in 2022?

Unsurprisingly, Africa is the largest rough diamond producing region, accounting for 51% of output by weight, and 66% by value.

RankRegionShare of Rough
Diamond Production (%)
Share of Rough
Diamond Value (%)
3North America13.5%52.8%
4South America0.2%2.4%

However diamond mining in Africa is a relatively recent phenomenon, fewer than 200 years old. Diamonds had been discovered—and prized—as far back as 2,000 years ago in India, later on spreading west to Egyptian pharaohs and the Roman Empire.

By the start of the 20th century, diamond production on a large scale took off: first in South Africa, and decades later in other African countries. In fact between 1889–1959, Africa produced 98% of the world’s diamonds.

And in the latter half of the 20th century, the term blood diamond evolved from diamonds mined in African conflict zones used to finance insurgency or crime.

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