Top 10 Untapped Potential Markets Of Future



When one talks about Economies of the future, it is usually countries like China, India, and Brazil that dominate the list.

However, we would like to bring the focus to lesser-known countries that have a vast potential of growing exponentially in the coming decades. Some on the list might even surprise you.



Current Population: 53.5 million (2017)

Estimated Population 2050: 65 million 


Current GDP: $ 328 billion (PPP, 2017)

Estimated GDP 2050: $ 1-2 trillion (PPP)


A buddhist temple in Myanmar

First on the list is a neighbour of Bangladesh, Myanmar. It is a Buddhist-majority country and had a troubled past with over 50 years of Military Rule and have been dealing with one of the longest-running civil wars in the world. But in 2010, a long time Pro-Democracy Activist Aung San Suu Kyi led a democratic Election, and the military junta was officially dissolved in 2011.

Myanmar, with a population of over 50 million and a member of the ASEAN countries, provides vast investment opportunities. It also sits upon a large number of natural resources such as Oil, Natural Gas, Rubies, Gems and Metals. It is also one of the significant Natural Gas Producers in Asia. 


Since the adoption of the Democratic Government in 2011 and the removal of several economic sanctions on the country, Myanmar has been reforming its laws for corruption, taxation and businesses. These efforts have helped increase the foreign direct investment into the country from meager $300 million in 2010 to an astonishing $ 20 billion in 2011.


Street in Addis Ababa

Current Population: 105 million (2017)

Estimated Population 2050: 171.8 million


Current GDP: $ 241 billion (PPP, 2019)

Estimated GDP 2050: $ 1.5 trillion (PPP)


The most populous landlocked country in the world, Ethiopia is also one of the fastest-growing economies in the world in the process of transition from a mixed economy to a market-based economy.


The country faces lots of issues, both structural and cyclical, to fully optimize its potential. It is a young country with over half of its population under the age of 18 and it’s per capita remains one of the lowest in the world. The literacy rate in the country is also very low, estimated to be less than 50%. Apart from these issues, low agriculture productivity due to frequent droughts, high rates of inflation, and massive corruption in Land Distribution are big issues faced by the East African nation.


Despite all these challenges, Ethiopia managed to increase its economy from around $ 10 billion in 1980 to around $ 250 billion in 2018, doubling its share of the world GDP. It is also managing reforms in the country to transition into a Market-based Economy and becoming a light manufacturing hub in the region.


Warsaw Skyline

Current Population: 38.4 million (2017)

Estimated Population 2050: 32.7 million 

Current GDP: $1.2 trillion (PPP,2018)

Estimated GDP 2050: $ 2.1 trillion (PPP) 




Since the introduction of the Balcerowicz Plan in 1990, marking the end of communism in the country, Poland remains one of the fastest-growing economies of Europe. Amongst the former Soviet-Bloc nations, it also enjoyed the highest growth in per capita levels since the 90s and was also the only EU country to retain growth during the 2008 financial crisis.


But, lower fertility rates and high rates of migration remain a concern for the country as leading institutions predict a drastic decrease in population by 2050. Also, a lot of industries in Poland face a labor-deficit. A decreasing population will further add to this problem in the long term.


However, a lot of economies will grow faster than Poland in coming decades, economic growth along with a decline in population will lead to a boom in per capita purchasing power of the country increasing from current $ 27,000 to over $ 62,000. This increase can mean huge potential for companies catering to the needs of the luxury market.




Current Population: 95.5 million (2017)

Estimated Population 2050: 112.8 million


Current GDP: $ 710 billion (PPP,2018)

Estimated GDP 2050: $ 3.2 trillion (PPP)


Traffic in Hanoi

After Poland, Vietnam is another post-communism miracle. After the adoption of a free-market economy and focusing on labor-intensive exports, its economy has grown from a meager $23 billion in 1980 to over $ 700 billion today, with over $ 200 billion of exports. 


However, high rates of inflation remain a concern for the country’s stability. In recent years Vietnam has managed to keep inflation in check. Sustaining these inflation rates can help Vietnam grow sustainably in the long term.


Some significant exports from the country are Electronics, textiles, footwear, seafood, pepper, rice and coffee. The country’s bright prospects are favored by factors such as controlled population growth, a diversified economy, and high levels of foreign investment. Also, Vietnam focuses heavily on free trade agreements with various nations and is also a member of ASEAN. Tourism is another industry where Vietnam sees a lot of new investments and growth opportunities.




Current Population: 161 million (2018)

Estimated Population 2050: 202 million


Current GDP: $ 832 billion (PPP, 2019)

Estimated GDP 2050: $ 3.3 trillion (PPP)


Bangladesh was born out of a civil war in erstwhile Pakistan in the year 1971. Since then, this South Asian Nation has embarked on a remarkable journey of improved health standards and industrialization. The country’s success in becoming one of the largest exporters of textile/garments in recent years has helped in attracting foreign investments and employing millions of men and women. The country enjoys one of the highest rates of female participation in the economy at 58%.

Lack of Adequate infrastructure, underemployment in the Agriculture Sector, poor working conditions in manufacturing units, and poor governance are the current factors hindering the development of Bangladesh.


However, Bangladesh has successfully managed to achieve excellent results in the improvement of health, sanitation, and education in the country, and besides banning child labor has also worked extensively in improving the working conditions of women in factories. Another achievement of Bangladesh is its curb on population growth. Some economists even point to the possibility of Bangladesh’s per capita income growing bigger than that of India in the next few years.




Mosque in Cairo

Current Population: 97.6 million (2017)

Estimated Population 2050: 151 million


Current GDP: $ 1.3 trillion (PPP, 2018)

Estimated GDP 2050: $ 4.3 trillion (PPP)


Although the post-revolution Egyptian economy has been facing lots of trouble and instability, in the long term, it remains one of the most promising economies of this century.


A center of trade, culture, and languages since the Millenium, the country is also one of the largest economies in Africa and remains a vital country in the Arab World, both economically and Geo-politically.


Rising instability and budget deficits in recent years are the biggest threat to Egypt’s economic future. Governments in Egypt must work on having sustainable development goals and push towards conservative financing of the country’s budget, including austerity measures. These steps can help stabilize the economy and start growing again. 


A report by PwC also predicted the Country to surpass Canada’s and Italy’s economy to become one of the 15 largest economies in the world by 2050.




Current Population: 187 million (2016)

Estimated Population 2050: 398.5 million 


Current GDP: $ 1.1 trillion (PPP, 2018)

Estimated GDP 2050: $ 4.3 trillion (PPP)


The largest economy of Africa and the hub of trade & services in Western Africa, Nigeria, is reemerging as an industrial country. Since the agreement with the Paris Club, a group of lending nations, in 2015, most of Nigeria’s debts were forgiven. Today, Nigeria’s external debt is one of the lowest in the world, standing at only 22 percent of its GDP. 


However, much of the infrastructure development and investments have been limited to the Energy Sector. Oil accounts for over 80% of the country’s exports. The country needs to invest more in Human Development and infrastructure for other sectors to help reduce dependency on Oil and Natural Gas.


Furthermore, Nigeria is expected to experience one of the most substantial increases in population in the coming decades. Some experts even predict her to topple the United States in becoming the 3rd most populated country in the world. This adds further urgency for the government into developing the education & health levels of its citizens and upgrading the technologies to realize its potential. In the worst-case scenario, these population figures could rather deteriorate the condition, further putting a strain on the limited resources.


Saudi Arabia


View from Mecca

Current Population: 32.2 million (2016)

Estimated Population 2050: 46.1 million


Current GDP: $ 1.86 trillion (PPP,2018)

Estimated GDP 2050: $ 4.8 trillion (PPP)


The Energy Superpower of the world holding one of the most valuable natural resources is expected to go through an economic upheaval much on the lines of its neighbor UAE. Saudi Arabia has been working on diversifying its economy from oil exports and investing vast sums into other industries such as tourism, education, aviation, construction, et cetera.

Saudi Arabia is also expected to remain the largest economy in the Middle East and Arab World all through the 2050s before being toppled by Egypt in the next half of this century.


The country’s heavy dependence on oil is not understated. Oil accounts for roughly 90% of its export value and over 40% of its GDP. Efforts such as pursuing a public offering for Aramco, the largest state-owned oil company and schemes such as Vision 2030 are being planned to reduce the volatility of oil prices and its effect on Saudi’s Economy.


However, poor performance on the Ease of Doing Business list is a concern. The country must work heavily on improving its technical & management Education and improving the ease of doing business for entrepreneurs in order to create a healthy ecosystem for the private sector to thrive.


Since the decrease in oil prices in 2014, Saudi Arabia managed a budget surplus for the first time this year by means of faster growth of non-oil industries.


Unified Korea


Current Population: 70 million

Estimated Population 2050: 78 million


Current GDP: $ 1.3 trillion

Estimated GDP 2050: between  $4.2 to $6.8 trillion


Unlike other countries on this list, this one is based out of the scenario of the possible unification of the Korean Peninsula. The process of this reunification started in the year 2000 with a joint declaration by both sides. Korea, up until the end of World War 2 has always been one country with one culture.

A possible unification of these two countries could lead to Korea becoming one of the great powers of the world, much like how the reunification of Germany affirmed its position as one of the leading powers of the world. 

With a combined population of 78 million and an economy of over $ 6 trillion, meanwhile (possibly) possessing the military might of the north and technological & entrepreneurial know-how of the south, Korea would be nothing less than a superpower in the region.

If this goes through, the North could also provide industries in the South with much needed cheap labour and also bringing technologies into the North.






Jakarta Skyline

Current Population: 260 million (2016)

Estimated Population 2050: 323 million


Current GDP: $ 3.5 trillion (PPP, 2018)

Estimated GDP 2050: $ 11 trillion (PPP)


This giant union of thousands of Gallapogas is not only the largest Muslim majority country in the world but is also the third-largest democracy.


Indonesia, in recent years has proved to be an economic miracle. It still faces huge amount issues that are hindering its growth, such as poverty, inequality, lack of infrastructure, corruption and many more. Even with all these issues plaguing the country, it has managed to grow stably at around 5% in the last decade.


With heavy investments planned into developing infrastructure and skilled labour for industries, Indonesia can become one of the next leading powers of this century. But for this to happen, it needs to sustain its growth levels for 2-3 decades. A plethora of reforms would be required, along with working on strengthening its democratic institutions and raising the human development levels of its citizens.




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Vietnam country profile. (2015) Library of Congress Federal Research Division. 


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Abhimanyu Negi

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