Maps show what one product makes the most money for each nation

Predictably, oil is the most traded commodity in the global market. It is also the MVP of exportation, as the highest-valued product sold abroad in nearly 40 countries.

After mining data from the CIA’s World Factbook, the Global Post assembled a map illustrating each country’s top exports, according to their worth on the international market.

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A Guide to Europe’s Secret Drug Capitals

If you’re not in Colorado or Washington, and you’ve ever spent more than $100 on weed at once, you’ve probably taken a relaxing vacation away from criminality in Amsterdam. That’s because smoking a joint legally in a beautiful European city, surrounded by both erudite Dutchmen and shit-drunk Scottish stag parties, is generally much more preferable to hot-boxing your friend’s car in a parking lot, slamming the music off and ducking behind the seats every time another car drives by.

But where are other Europeans supposed to go to snort, smoke or ingest in peace? Coke-heads used to have that Bolivian jail where you could buy fishscale direct from the prisoners, but that’s now banished to backpacker lore, ruined by swaths of international media attention and a warden who realized that presiding over a state-funded gak factory probably wouldn’t look great on his resume.

In 2013, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) conducted a study of 42 European cities, analyzing local waste-water (sewage, essentially) to determine which drug was most widely used in each area. Some of the results were as you’d expect, but there were a few in there that stuck out a little, and those are the ones we’ve laid out below in our guide to Europe’s secret drug capitals.


Photo via Jean-Pol Grandmont

Shockingly, Antwerp—a city full of diamond traders and fashion students—is also full of cocaine. In fact, Europe’s coke capital is so keen on the stuff that nefarious pigeon fanciers have started doping their racing birds with performance-enhancing gak.  

One potential reason behind the Belgian capital’s fondness for blow is that almost 25 percent of the cocaine shipped to Europe from South America makes its way through the country, and a large chunk of that through the port of Antwerp. Conveniently—and kind of unbelievably—only two percent of the containers passing through the port each year are actually screened, meaning not a lot gets seized.

And lucky for the city’s residents, that bountiful supply translates into low, low prices; at an average of $68 a gram, it kind of makes sense that it’s so widely used. 


Cannabis growing all over the hills of Lazarat. Photo by Axel Kronholm

The bucolic town of Lazarat is slightly different from many other pastoral Albanian towns, in that its green pastures are mostly made up of cannabis plants, which produce around 900 tons of bud every year. Families can survive off a harvest for a whole year—and growing really is a family business, which is probably why it’s not a good idea to fuck with the kush farmers of Lazarat.  

A couple of weeks ago, for example, 800 police surrounded the town. Upon realizing they were boxed-in, residents decided to base their response on the archetypal Michael Bay drug dealer—by grabbing some RPGs and machine guns, and blasting the overwhelmed cops off their turf. Thousands of plants were destroyed, but in the end the police retreated. 


Good news: Gas prices are down, but not from a year ago
  • $3.60 the average price of gasoline in the U.S.
  • -35¢ the decrease in price from May’s peak
  • +87¢ the increase in price from a year ago source

» What caused the increase? To put it simply, many analysts point to the civil war in Libya for inflating the price of gas, as it took 1 million barrels of oil out of the supply chain each day, raising the price of oil by $20 per gallon at its high point. The recent successes the rebels have had since NATO started its air strikes exactly six months ago tonight have helped to bring the prices down to more manageable levels. Seasonal factors are also at play, and with Labor Day behind us, gas prices should continue to decline through Christmas.

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Kojo Anku left a high-paying job on Wall Street last year to return to his native Ghana, not to replicate his financial career there but to launch an aquaponics farm, raising organic lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs indoors in nutrient-rich vats. That business, in central Accra, is now booming.

“I feel I’m making a bigger difference in the lives of others by applying my knowledge and capital to food production,” Anku says.

“Sure, my family and I are adjusting, but it’s worth it to help Ghana leapfrog to the forefront of innovative farming.”

Anku is one of tens of thousands of African émigrés who are returning home with money and skills, hoping to cash in on a farming boom that is remaking the continent.

According to the World Bank, agricultural GDP in sub-Saharan African grew from 2.3 percent per year in the 1980s to 3.8 percent per year from 2000 to 2005—a jump of 65 percent.

… indeed the haunting images of starving Africans are so ingrained in our collective psyche that many people still cling to the notion that Africa can’t feed itself—and maybe never will.

That conclusion, however familiar, is wrong.

Fewer Africans face famine now than at any time since the world began counting. While it’s true that sub-Saharan Africa as a whole still leads the world in poverty and food insecurity rates, it is also true that in Uganda in East Africa and in the 15 countries of West Africa, food production now outpaces population growth.

In Ghana, for instance, farm output has jumped by 5 percent every year for the past 20 years, which helps explain why the poverty rate there has fallen by half.

Even infamously food-insecure Malawi and Ethiopia now grow record amounts of crops and even export surpluses to their neighbors.

Trade: In FEB-2011, the WSJ looked at the changing face of U.S. trade.

They tracked the how much U.S. exports and imports have grown since 1990 and noted a major shift in which countries are most prominent partners.