10 Bizarre Ways Small Countries Make Money

History, Lists, Other, Shocking, Travel, Weird

Being a tiny country is a huge problem in today’s world, as there are so many larger nations out there more than willing to bully their way into your land. Tiny islands, specifically, have found themselves with a significant lack of income, which means their economy is currently suffering at the moment. Some small countries, however, have somehow managed to earn themselves a lot of money and keep a steady income flowing into their country. These countries accomplish this by highly creative means. Here are ten bizarre ways small countries earn an income.

Selling Passports To Rich

With a population just under 48,000, the tiny country of Saint Kitts and Nevis was in a particularly bad spot in 2006. In order to obtain some income, they decided to sell the one resource they had one hand – their passports. They sold them to the rich folks who vacationed there.

Selling Passports To Poor

Comoros, a small island country in the Indian Ocean, was terribly impoverished, so they decided to sell an estimated 80,000 Bedoons, all of whom were seeking citizenship in the UAE. They earned millions with this scheme.

Phone Sex Lines

Niue, a small Pacific island, suffered from a declining population during the 1960s. In order to make up for the lost income, they decided to host premium-rate phone lines throughout the area that hosted sex lines for the country.

Online Sales

Tuvalu, a small string of coral atolls in the Pacific, was slowly being submerged by global warming. To make things worse, they had a small economy to rely on. To fix this, the country decided to big for rights of the .tv suffix online, which doubled their income from media websites.

West End Musical

The Pacific island of Nauru was known as the smallest republic in the world, and they had the income and economy to match. During the early 1990s, they decided to invest in overseas business ventures, one of which was London’s West End musical.

Postage Stamps

Stamp collecting is a massive hobby, believe it or not, which is great news for Saint Helena, Ascension Island, and Tristan da Cunha, all of which have stamps as a primary export. All of their income comes from selling stamps and coins, earning them over 1 million euros per year.

Insurance Scam

In the 1980s, the Kingdom of Tonga managed to begin selling passports to Hong Kong residents to make money. This brought them millions in new cash. However, things went bad when a bank employee invested the country’s fund in life insurance policies for Americans with terminal diseases. They did not receive a profit.


Saint Lucia, a small Caribbean island, has managed to flip their recognition for various countries over the years in an effort to gain years worth of financial aid. The small island nation switches from China to Taiwan regularly.


Eritrea, a small East African nation, has a reputation for being one of the worst dictatorships in the entire world. This caused a large percentage of the population to race from the country, which lost a lot of income for the government. To make up for this the local government uses money to support militant groups and uses extortion to gain cash back.

Arms Dealing

In 1989, an order for around 10 tons of weapons, including 100 Uzis and 400 assault rifles, appeared in Israel. Antigua, a small Caribbean island nation, had no objections when their locals began loading weapons onto a new ship.