Brunei: Least debt

  • Measure: Government debt
  • 2013 estimate : 2.4%

The tiny Islamic kingdom draws its considerable wealth from oil and gas reserves. Living standards for the 400,000 or so Bruneians are high: they pay no income tax and enjoy the second highest per capita income in southeast Asia.

The country's ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is thought to be one of the wealthiest people in the world.

Related: China's new richest man worth $22 billion

But the state's energy riches are fast depleting. Brunei is trying to reduce its dependence on oil by pushing into sectors like banking and tourism.

First published December 27, 2013: 5:06 AM ET
General government gross debt, as a percentage of GDP

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