The average weekly wage in Mississippi, a Southern State in America is $600, according to research by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Though low by North American standards, such an amount of money is sufficient to attain millionaire status in the currencies of many countries.
The value of such countries’ currencies has plummeted, often because of government incompetence and corruption, wars, natural disasters and world economic crises. A “millionaire” status in these regions may not always be a comfortable situation if truckloads of banknotes are needed to buy daily necessities.
Below, TravelSupermarket.com looks at 10 countries around the world where you are probably already a millionaire:
In early 2012, Mississippi’s average weekly wage was worth 4.9 million Belarusian Roubles. That is around four times the official average weekly Belarusian wage. Part of the Soviet Union until 1991, Belarus is landlocked between Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. High inflation, an increase in public-sector salaries and the depletion of foreign-exchange reserves has led to a deterioration of the currency’s value.
The Mississippi average weekly wage earner is also a millionaire in Cambodia, where this salary is worth 2.4 million Cambodian Riels. But this means little, as 90 per cent of business in Cambodia in transacted in US dollars. The local currency is confusing for foreign tourists, who often mistake a 100,000-rial note for one worth 10,000 Riel.
In neighbouring Laos, the Mississippi average wage earns 4.79 million Lao Kip. Laos has been suffering a shortage of banknotes and has been functioning with a dollar economy similar to Cambodia’s. In January 2012, the central bank of Laos issued new 100,000 kip notes to encourage people to use the local currency.
In Vietnam, Mississippi’s weekly wage equals 12.5 million Vietnamese Dong. However, Vietnam’s practical currency is gold. People of all income levels try to save or trade in gold rather than rely on the national currency, which is being devalued constantly.
In Djakarta, the capital of Indonesia, the average Mississippi wage earner will earn 5.42 million Indonesian Rupiah. Indonesia is south-east Asia’s largest economy. During the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the value of the Rupiah plunged by over 70 per cent against reserve currencies such as the US dollar.
Despite Indonesia’s strength as an oil and gas producer and predictions by its government that it may revalue the currency in 2013, the Rupiah remains one of the least-valued currencies in the world.
The Mississippi average weekly wage equates to 6.8 million Iranian Rial. Iranians have little confidence in their own currency because the financial sector has been badly mismanaged, despite rising oil prices.
Oil constitutes the bulk of Iran’s export earnings but higher oil prices have introduced inflation into the economy.
Iran’s banking system suffers from late payment or non-payment of debts by state-owned enterprises, poor management and political interference. The currency has also suffered as a result of sanctions against Iran and its oil exports by the United States and Europe.
Sao Rome e Principe
In Sao Rome e Principe, a group of volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa, the Mississippi weekly wage is equal to 10-million dobra. The country’s biggest export earner is cacao, so the currency fluctuates according to the international market price of this commodity.
Republic of Guinea
Located just north of Sao Tome e Principe, the Republic of Guinea offers 4 million Francs for the Mississippi weekly wage. Guinea is a mineral-rich country with significant reserves of iron, diamonds, gold and about one third of the world’s bauxite resources. It is the largest exporter of bauxite in the world after Australia.
But Guinea has been suffering economic problems as a result of civil wars in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as flawed policies by a succession of authoritarian governments. The population of Guinea is among the poorest in West Africa.
The Mississippi weekly wage is worth 3.16 million Zambian Kwacha. The Kwacha was introduced in 1968 when Zambia gained independence from Britain but has been an unstable currency ever since. Weaknesses in economic management and the reliance of the local economy on copper exports, which produced fluctuating export earnings, have contributed to the currency’s volatility. Most visitors to Zambia are advised not to change their money into the local currency.
The Paraguayan Guarani equates to 2.62 million in relation to the average Mississippi weekly wage. The Guarani is the least-valued currency in the western hemisphere. The currency had been pegged to the US dollar between 1990 and 1998. However, the lifting of this peg, together with endemic political corruption and inflation, led to the currency’s continued depreciation.
written by: Andreas Nicolaides