Investors have been pouring money into emerging markets—to the tune of $50 billion last year for mutual funds that invest in developing countries, according to EPFR Global. But not all emerging markets are created equal. Bloomberg Market magazine ranked the top 20, based on more than a dozen criteria. The data come from Bloomberg's own financial-market statistics, IMF forecasts, and the World Bank. The countries were also rated on areas of particular interest to foreign investors: the ease of doing business, the perceived level of corruption, and economic freedom. Asian nations dominated the top of the list, followed by Latin America. Surprisingly, off-the-beaten-path destinations in Africa also had a strong showing, even outscoring some members of the European Union.

Photograph by Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg

Investors have been pouring money into emerging markets—to the tune of $50 billion last year for mutual funds that invest in developing countries, according to EPFR Global. But not all emerging markets are created equal. Bloomberg Market magazine ranked the top 20, based on more than a dozen criteria. The data come from Bloomberg's own financial-market statistics, IMF forecasts, and the World Bank. The countries were also rated on areas of particular interest to foreign investors: the ease of doing business, the perceived level of corruption, and economic freedom. Asian nations dominated the top of the list, followed by Latin America. Surprisingly, off-the-beaten-path destinations in Africa also had a strong showing, even outscoring some members of the European Union.

Photograph by Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg

The Top 20 Emerging Markets

Global Emerging Markets
Global Emerging Markets

Investors have been pouring money into emerging markets—to the tune of $50 billion last year for mutual funds that invest in developing countries, according to EPFR Global. But not all emerging markets are created equal. Bloomberg Market magazine ranked the top 20, based on more than a dozen criteria. The data come from Bloomberg's own financial-market statistics, IMF forecasts, and the World Bank. The countries were also rated on areas of particular interest to foreign investors: the ease of doing business, the perceived level of corruption, and economic freedom. Asian nations dominated the top of the list, followed by Latin America. Surprisingly, off-the-beaten-path destinations in Africa also had a strong showing, even outscoring some members of the European Union.

Photograph by Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg
20. Philippines
20. Philippines

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 20.4%

Inflation rate: 4.1%


Government debt as % of GDP: 36.8

Ease of doing business, rank: 138

Total score: 38.1

Photograph by Nigel Hicks
19. Morocco
19. Morocco

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 27.7%

Inflation rate: 2.5%

Government debt as % of GDP: 57.8

Ease of doing business, rank: 97

Total score: 39.0

Photograph by Simeone Huber
18. Hungary
18. Hungary

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 15.6%

Inflation rate: 3.1%

Government debt as % of GDP: 75.7

Ease of doing business, rank: 54

Total score: 40.0

Photograph by SIME/eStock Photo
17. Brazil
17. Brazil

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 22.3%

Inflation rate: 4.7%

Government debt as % of GDP: 57.3

Ease of doing business, rank: 130

Total score: 40.1

Photograph by Brunno Pessoa
16. Mexico
16. Mexico

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 17.5%

Inflation rate: 3.1%

Government debt as % of GDP: 43.1

Ease of doing business, rank: 48

Total score: 42.1

Photograph by SIME/eStock Photo
15. South Africa
15. South Africa

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 19.9%

Inflation rate: 4.9%

Government debt as % of GDP: 43.9

Ease of doing business, rank: 39

Total score: 42.9

Photograph by SIME/eStock Photo
14. Zambia
14. Zambia

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 31.3%

Inflation rate: 5.3%

Government debt as % of GDP: 28.8

Ease of doing business, rank: 94

Total score: 43.0

Photograph by Yvette Cardozo
13. Namibia
13. Namibia

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 22.3%

Inflation rate: 5.0%

Government debt as % of GDP: 30.0

Ease of doing business, rank: 87

Total score: 44.4

Photograph by Heeb Photos/eStock Photo
12. Poland
12. Poland

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 21.2%

Inflation rate: 2.5%

Government debt as % of GDP: 54.2

Ease of doing business, rank: 55

Total score: 47.1

Photograph by SIME/eStock Photo
11. Colombia
11. Colombia

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 21.9%

Inflation rate: 3.0%

Government debt as % of GDP: 29.2

Ease of doing business, rank: 45

Total score: 48.4

Photograph by Claudia Uripos/eStock Photo
10. Indonesia
10. Indonesia

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 31.3%

Inflation rate: 4.6%

Government debt as % of GDP: 20.0

Ease of doing business, rank: 128

Total score: 49.1

Photograph by Getty Images
9. Russia
9. Russia

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 26.6%

Inflation rate: 6.5%

Government debt as % of GDP: 11.6

Ease of doing business, rank: 112

Total score: 49.9

Photograph by SIME/eStock Photo
8. Chile
8. Chile

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 24.2

Inflation rate: 3.0

Government debt as % of GDP: 12.9

Ease of doing business, rank: 37

Total score: 50.8

Photograph by Cavan Images
7. Turkey
7. Turkey

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 21.2%

Inflation rate: 5.4%

Government debt as % of GDP: 36.3

Ease of doing business, rank: 71

Total score: 51.0

Photograph by Bruno Ehrs/Corbis
6. Malaysia
6. Malaysia

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 21.8%

Inflation rate: 2.5%

Government debt as % of GDP: 54.6

Ease of doing business, rank: 12

Total score: 51.4

Photograph by International Photobank/eStock Photo
5. Czech Republic
5. Czech Republic

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 21.1%

Inflation rate: 2.0%

Government debt as % of GDP: 45.5

Ease of doing business, rank: 65

Total score: 53.8

Photograph by SIME/eStock Photo
4. Peru
4. Peru

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 27.4%

Inflation rate: 2.1%

Government debt as % of GDP: 17.2

Ease of doing business, rank: 43

Total score: 58.1

Photograph by MIVA Stock/eStock Photo
3. Thailand
3. Thailand

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 25.9%

Inflation rate: 2.7%

Government debt as % of GDP: 49.4

Ease of doing business, rank: 18

Total score: 58.7

Photograph by Wolfgang Steiner
2. South Korea
2. South Korea

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 22.9%

Inflation rate: 2.9%

Government debt as % of GDP: 27.3

Ease of doing business, rank: 8

Total score: 67.4

Photograph by eStock Photo
1. China
1. China

GDP growth, 2013 to 2017: 45.9%

Inflation rate: 3.0%

Government debt as % of GDP: 14.9

Ease of doing business, rank: 91

Total score: 77.5

Click here to learn how we crunched the numbers. For more stories from Bloomberg Markets, click here.

Photograph by Getty Images