This is a difficult question to answer because “natural resources” is such a broad category, encompassing vast possibilities of minerals, timber, vegetation, fish, animals and such. Logically, the countries that have the smallest area will typically have the smallest resources. In searching for a ranking of rock-bottom nations by natural resources, the best candidates are probably tiny island nations like Antigua and Barbuda (listed on a “Did You Know” survey as having only a “pleasant climate” going for it), or else city-states that are entirely or mostly urban, such as Vatican City and Monaco. Also, do you count “great beaches” as a natural resource, in which case Antigua and Barbuda probably do have significant resources? On the other end of the scale, having a lot of natural resources means nothing if a country is unable to make use of them. Kiribati, for example, typically scores at the bottom of the list of countries ranked by GDP, but one natural resource the island nation does have is phosphate. In practical effect, though, phosphate has not been mined there since 1979, making it essentially worthless. Afghanistan is another example. Although rich in mineral deposits, Afghanistan’s dismal political situation and nearly 40 years of unremitting warfare have rendered it one of the poorest and most hopeless nations on the planet.
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