By Karen Gilchrist

Economic powerhouses like the United StatesChina and Japan may be home to the highest proportion of the world’s wealthy, but when it comes to minting new millionaires, opportunities abound in some surprising places.

That’s according to a new report from wealth research firm Wealth-X, which found that the countries on track for the fastest growth in their wealthy populations are select emerging nations across Africa, Asia and Europe.

The study, taken from Wealth-X’s inaugural “High Net Worth Handbook 2019,” drew on research from more than 540,000 high net worth individuals — those with a net worth of $1 million to $30 million — to forecast its outlook for global wealth growth over the next five years. It took into account current wealth levels, population growth estimates and anticipated future investment opportunities.

The report found the West African nation of Nigeria to be the front runner, set to see its high net worth population balloon by a compound annual rate of 16.3 percent between now and 2023. It was followed by Egypt at 12.5 percent and Bangladesh at 11.4 percent.

Here’s the full list of the 10 fastest-growing high net worth countries:


Wealth-X

The research points to a common trend among growth forecasts, whereby less developed countries with a lower initial base line — in this case wealth — see greater relative growth.

To be sure, it would be much more difficult for incumbents like the U.S. and China — with their respective millionaire populations of 8.7 million and 1.9 million — to record the same rates, even though China is forecast for impressive growth. However, the report unearths some interesting outliers.

Poland and Kenya, for example, are “surprising cases,” the report noted, because they are not seen in traditional groupings of top emerging nations familiarized by terms such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey).

“The top ten countries with the fast growing HNW (high net worth) populations are a motley group,” the report noted. “With a growth measure we would expect to see some less affluent countries with small HNW populations but Poland and Kenya are two surprising cases.”

The sources of each of the nations’ wealth growth are disparate too. Commodity rich nations like Nigeria and Egypt can likely attribute much of their wealth accumulation to energy exports, Wealth-X noted in a separate report from 2018. Meanwhile, Bangladesh — which has seen the world’s fastest growing ultra wealthy population (those with a net worth of more than $30 million) over the past five years — draws its success from rapid urbanization and increased infrastructure investment.

Vietnam, India, the Philippines and Kenya are among the other countries to feel the impact of greater structural investment. While Ukraine and Poland can attribute their much recent growth to a boon in their tech sectors.

Lastly China, a hotbed for new wealth, continues to benefit from its government’s comprehensive national economic agenda. The Asian giant is forecast to become home to 32 of the world’s 40 high net worth cities over the next five years.

This article was first published by CNBC https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/16/countries-with-the-fastest-growing-millionaire-billionaire-populations.html and is republished with its permission.