Botswana has been ranked as one of the world’s most peaceful country in the 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI) which was released yesterday. In the tenth edition of the Index, Botswana was ranked 28 out of 163 countries, and the country moved up three places from last year. On the continent Botswana only came behind Mauritius, which is the top placed African nation, ranked 23, (Mauritius moved two places up from last year).

Free from internal and external conflict, Mauritius and Botswana were named among five countries in the world, to achieve a perfect score in the domestic and international conflict category, the other countries being Switzerland, Chile, and Uruguay.

Madagascar scored positively on the index, coming out as number 38, with Zambia also performing remarkably well (40), while Sierra Leone (43), Ghana (44) and Malawi (45), were also named amongst the most peaceful societies.

The breadth of terrorism is spreading, with only 23 percent of countries in the Index not experiencing a terrorist incident. (Boko Haram). Image: AP
The breadth of terrorism is spreading, with only 23 percent of countries in the Index not experiencing a terrorist incident.
(Boko Haram). Image: AP

A product of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the index measures the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness using three broad thematic areas: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarisation. It ranks countries based on 23 qualitative and quantitative peace indicators.

Iceland was ranked as the world’s most peaceful country, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Portugal. Syria was ranked as the world’s least peaceful country, followed from the bottom by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Peace on the decline globally

While there are positives on the continent, and indeed globally, the index reveals  that the overall global levels of peace continue to deteriorate with the gap between the most and least peaceful countries widening.

Although 81 countries have significantly improved,  as the index reveals, “the deterioration in another 79 outweighed these gains, meaning that peace declined at a faster rate than in the previous year”.

The index shows that global deterioration in peace in 2015 was driven by amongst other factors, the increase in terrorism activity and higher levels of political instability.

Highlights:

  • The world became less peaceful in the last year, reinforcing an underlying decade- long deterioration in world peacefulness driven primarily by increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability.
  • Refugees and displaced persons have risen dramatically over the last decade, doubling to approximately 60 million people between 2007 and 2016, nearly 1% of the world’s population.
  • The economic impact of violence was $137 trillion over the last decade – greater than global GDP in 2015.
  • The breadth of terrorism is spreading, with only 23 percent of countries in the Index not experiencing a terrorist incident.

Source: Institute for Economics and Peace