Special Report

Most Self-Sufficient Economies in the World

Source: saiko3p / iStock via Getty Images

5. Argentina
> Imports as % of GDP, 2020: 13.56%
> Imports in current US$, 2020: $52.77 billion – #55 highest of 189 countries
> Annual imports growth, 2020: -17.87% – #27 largest decline of 170 countries
> Exports as % of GDP, 2020: 16.59% – #31 lowest of 190 countries
> Exports in current US$, 2020: $64.59 billion – #48 highest of 189 countries
> GDP in current US$, 2020: $389.29 billion – #29 highest of 190 countries

Argentina is still reeling from a recent economic crisis and has yet to recover from the pandemic-related downturn that exacerbated the country’s economic woes. With a population of about 43 million, the country’s main exports are vegetables and livestock, food products, and transportation equipment. Its top import and export market is neighboring Brazil.

Source: Phynart Studio / E+ via Getty Images

4. United States
> Imports as % of GDP, 2020: 13.28%
> Imports in current US$, 2020: $2,774.60 billion – #1 highest of 189 countries
> Annual imports growth, 2020: -8.93% – #60 smallest decline of 170 countries
> Exports as % of GDP, 2020: 10.16% – #15 lowest of 190 countries
> Exports in current US$, 2020: $2,123.41 billion – #2 highest of 189 countries
> GDP in current US$, 2020: $20,893.75 billion – #1 highest of 190 countries

Unlike China, which routinely maintains a trade surplus, the United States routinely maintains a trade deficit. But with a more diverse economy, the country of about 330 million people depends less on imports than China. The country’s top exports include machinery and electronics, transportation equipment, fuels, chemicals, and metals.

Source: avatavat / iStock via Getty Images

3. Turkmenistan
> Imports as % of GDP, 2018: 12.50%
> Imports in current US$, 2018: $5.09 billion – #60 lowest of 189 countries
> Annual imports growth, 0: No data
> Exports as % of GDP, 2018: 22.66% – #57 lowest of 190 countries
> Exports in current US$, 2018: $9.24 billion – #95 lowest of 189 countries
> GDP in current US$, 2019: $45.23 billion – #87 highest of 190 countries

This small central Asian country of about 6 million people is primarily an exporter of fuels (mostly natural gas), which make up about 81% of its exports, followed by textiles and clothing. Its primary bilateral trading partner is Russia. Its second largest export market is Italy, and its second-largest source of imports is Turkey.

Source: Diy13 / iStock via Getty Images

2. Cuba
> Imports as % of GDP, 2020: 7.51%
> Imports in current US$, 2020: $8.07 billion – #80 lowest of 189 countries
> Annual imports growth, 2020: -7.61% – #43 smallest decline of 170 countries
> Exports as % of GDP, 2020: 8.17% – #10 lowest of 190 countries
> Exports in current US$, 2020: $8.77 billion – #93 lowest of 189 countries
> GDP in current US$, 2020: $107.35 billion – #60 highest of 190 countries

The Communist Caribbean island country of about 11 million people is among the world’s most self-reliant based on imports as a share of GDP. Cuba has recently been reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on its vital tourism trade. Primary exports include cigars and medicines, and primary imports include diesel power generators and refrigerators. Its primary trading partners are Venezuela, Spain, Russia, and China.

Source: AscentXmedia / E+ via Getty Images

1. Sudan
> Imports as % of GDP, 2020: 0.35%
> Imports in current US$, 2020: $0.07 billion – #1 lowest of 189 countries
> Annual imports growth, 2020: -3.90% – #19 smallest decline of 170 countries
> Exports as % of GDP, 2020: 0.44% – #1 lowest of 190 countries
> Exports in current US$, 2020: $0.09 billion – #6 lowest of 189 countries
> GDP in current US$, 2020: $21.33 billion – #80 lowest of 190 countries

Out of necessity, this country of 44 million is the world’s most self-reliant with only a sliver of outgoing or incoming trade thanks to years of civil war and social unrest. Sudan’s top exports are livestock, fresh vegetables, and stone and glass. Its top export market is the United Arab Emirates, and the top source of imports is China.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.