The figures are astoundingly higher than the average income of the citizens in their country.
Whether monetary compensation is the right form of motivation for heads of states or not is a debatable topic and is also subjective. Despite the fact that power, influence, and change are the driving stimulus behind the responsibility of running a country, a little paycheck never hurts anybody.
Some of the government heads on this list of the world’s highest paid heads of states earn a lot more than the per capita GDP of their countries.
Others surprisingly don’t even make it to the 15 highest-paid heads of states and richest monarchs despite being the national leaders of huge economies like China’s Xi Jinping. The most peculiar case comes from the UK where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering resigning in the spring due to his low salary.
The data to create this list has been derived through the International Monetary Fund and other government agencies. Some of the countries have been excluded due to a lack of official records.
In addition to the highest-paid heads of states, we have also included the world’s richest monarchs in the list. These royal houses, kings, and queens receive tax-free compensation from the national governments and hold significant political authority. Therefore, it is impossible to exempt them from the list.
So without further ado, here we present you 15 highest paid heads of state in the world, 2020.
The Richest Monarchs in the World
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei
Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah has been named as one of the richest people in the world, let alone the richest head of state. With an estimated net worth of $28 billion, Sultan Bolkiah is also the Prime Minister of Brunei. He lives in the royal palace called Istana Nurul Iman with whopping 1778 rooms and owns a fleet of 600 Rolls Royce luxury cars. The majority of the Sultan’s wealth comes from the oil and natural gas export business.
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
The second richest monarch in the world is the head of the United Kingdom’s government, Queen Elizabeth II with an annual salary of $107 million. This salary comes from the government of the UK and parts of the amount are generated by her private estates and properties. These estates, agricultural lands and commercial and residential properties like Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham Estate in east England generate a revenue of almost $26 million for the Queen.
King Mswati III of Swaziland
The third highest-paid head of government of any country in the world comes from Swaziland – a third-world country tied in the perils of poverty. King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland, one of the poorest African countries, earns a fat check worth $56 million along with additional income worth $200 million from private holdings. The king owns stakes in sugar refining companies, dairy manufacturing entities, liquor, and beverages companies, and even hotel chains in Swaziland. All this makes King Mswati III the richest king in Africa.
King Harald V of Norway
The royal house of Norway, House of Glucksberg, receives total compensation worth £23.8 million from the Norwegian government. In addition to this, the King of Norway receives an extra £1.1 million for his personal expenses. The king of Norway does not pay taxes on his wealth and has also reportedly spent a huge sum of money on purchasing a royal yacht. The average income of a Norwegian citizen is USD 35,725.
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Another royal house and king who receives compensation from the national government to cover the expenses is the Swedish crown which is headed by King Carl XVI Gustaf of the House Bernadotte. He receives a yearly compensation worth £6 million with an additional compensation of £5.8 million to meet the expenditures of the palace staff. The average disposable income of the citizens of Sweden is $31,287 per annum.
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
The King of the Netherlands ascended the throne after Queen Beatrix abdicated the crown in 2013. King Willem-Alexander is allocated an annual budget of $47 million to meet his expenses of tours, visits and other Royal responsibilities. Additionally, he also earns additional income through his stakes in Shell Oil, real estate and investments. The average salary of an employee working in the Netherlands is 36.500 euros annually. The country has one of the most expensive tax systems and this is in addition to the income tax that the citizens pay. The King of the Netherlands does not pay any taxes on his salary.
The Highest Paid Government Heads of States in the World
Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tops our list of the highest-paid heads of states in the world with an annual salary of $1.6 million. The seven-figure salary of Singapore’s Prime Minister became a subject of controversy after a local blogging website held the state head accountable for earning twenty times more than the per capita GDP of the country. After the incident, Hsien Loong’s wife came to his defense clarifying that the Prime Minister’s salary is justified because there are no perks in kind and pension available for the official.
Carrie Lam of Hong Kong
With an annual salary of $672,000, the chief executive of the Hong Kong government is the second among the highest-paid heads of states in the world. Interestingly, Lam has to stack all her salary in cash at home because she has no bank account due to US Treasury imposed sanctions. Due to the same, the Hong Kong government’s Chief Executive only withdraws her salary partly with the remaining stored in the treasury. Carrie Lam commented for the South China Morning Post that she will take her salary stored with the treasury at a point in time. Lam’s salary accounts to eleven times more than the per capita GDP of Hong Kong which is $57,081.
Simonetta Sommaruga of Switzerland
President of Switzerland, Simonetta Sommaruga is the highest-paid head of state among all the member countries of Organizations for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). She earns an annual salary of $482,000 which is eight times the per capita GDP of Switzerland which stands at $56,473. Sommaruga took office in 2014 and was reelected in 2020.
Donald Trump of the United States of America
The incumbent President of the United States Donald Trump earns a salary of $400,000 annually in a country with $54,440 per capita GDP. He will soon be succeeded by President-elect Joe Biden who will also bag the exact amount on the paycheck. Donald Trump donated his Q4 salary for the 2019 term for COVID relief. However, he still managed to make income through his real estate businesses. On July 9, 2020, Forbes valued Trump’s net worth at $2.1 billion which made him the first-ever billionaire president of America.
Scott Morrison of Australia
The Australian Prime Minister earns more than Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel. Scott Morrison secured a pay hike worth $11,000 in 2020 bringing his annual paycheck to $549,299 per annum. The average national wage as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is $1600 per week which is seven times lesser than their Prime Minister.
Angela Merkel of Germany
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes home an annual paycheck worth $369,000, which is eight times the average pay of a German. Merkel took the office in 2005 and is currently serving her fourth term for a country with per capita GDP at $46,719. The pay of the most powerful woman in the world includes both salary and allowances.
Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand
With an annual salary of $281,047, the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is the sixth highest-paid state head in the world. Following the coronavirus pandemic in the year 2020, Ardern announced a pay cut of 20% for herself and other government officials of the country. Her pay cut for the year amounts to $47,105. The per capita GDP of the country is $35,244.
Mohammed Ould Ghazouani of Mauritiana
The President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani earns an annual salary of $330,000 in a country where the per capita GDP is $3,655. The monthly takeaway salary of the President is more than the salary of some of the leaders of developed economies like China’s Xi Jinping and Norway’s Erna Solberg.
Sebastian Karz of Austria
The youngest among heads of national governments in the world, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Karz earns an annual salary of $328,000. The 34-year-old national leader earns six times more than an average Austrian in the country of per capita GDP $45,478.