Despite a wave of optimism following the appointment of Cyril Rampahosa to the position of ANC president in December, and amid talk of an imminent departure of Jacob Zuma – under whose leadership the country has marked a steady decline – the outlook for growth over the next few years remains bleak, while the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high.
Many South Africans would have considered their future as we head into a new year, with many looking abroad for alternative lifestyles, whether to pursue a better career option, or to avoid rising crime, increasing corruption levels, and declining education standards.
The BBC has compiled a list of six countries it believes to be the best governed right now. They include neighbouring country to South Africa, Botswana, and two countries which already feature highly on South Africa’s list of popular countries for emigrants – New Zealand and Canada.
The British public service broadcaster used indexes including the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, the World Bank’s Governance Index and the Social Progress Index survey residents, to rank countries based on their performance across different categories.
“While each index varies in their precise ranking, certain patterns emerge across all three, with the same countries consistently at the top for their progressive social policies, trust in government and effective justice system,” it said.
It placed the following six countries at the top of the class:
- Denmark: “With near-perfect scores on the ‘Basic Human Needs’ ranking in the 2017 Social Progress Index, which includes meeting the nutritional and medical needs of its citizens
- New Zealand: “Australia and New Zealand are virtually neck-and-neck across the indexes, but New Zealand scores slightly better for overall political stability, fundamental rights and lack of violence/terrorism.”
- Canada: “Both the United States and Canada rank highly across all indexes, but Canada scores higher in political stability and lack of violence/terrorism. In fact, Canada comes close to many of the Scandinavian countries in its near-perfect scores, including access to nutrition and medical care, as well as to basic knowledge and personal rights.”
- Japan: “Not only does the island nation rank highest in Asia by the World Bank for overall government effectiveness, rule of law and political stability, it also received the highest marks in Asia from the Social Progress Index for its access to basic knowledge, water and sanitation, and access to nutrition and medical care.”
- Botswana: “Botswana consistently ranks as one of the strongest-governed countries in Africa, especially in its role in containing corruption, regionally ranking the highest in both the World Bank assessment and Rule of Law Index. Not only that, but the national revenue from diamond mining has been fairly well distributed throughout the country.”
- Chile: “Ranked highly for its open and transparent government, control of corruption and access to basic knowledge and medical care, Chile has one of South America’s most stable and corruption-free governments.”
At the end of 2017, the United Nations published its annual Human Development Report, a ranking of where people live longer, healthier lives. The UN looked at nearly 200 countries across a number of categories, including life expectancy, education, gender equality, and financial wealth.
It ranked the following countries among the top 5:
- Norway: Ranked highest in standard of living, life expectancy, and education, and boasts an average life expectancy of 82 years.
- Australia: Education makes up over 5% of the national GDP. The UN found that most students go to school for around 20 years in Australia.
- Switzerland: Ranked high in overall health, with an average life expectancy of 83 years.
- Germany: As many as 96% of the population has at least some secondary education as universities are free to attend.
- Denmark: Often reported to be the happiest country in the world, Denmark as a very manageable population of just under six million people.
The Netherlands and Canada also place in the top 10, with New Zeland ranked 13th, and Japan 17th on the list.
In the latter half of 2017, HSBC published its Expat Explorer report for 2017 ranking the world’s best countries for expats to settle in, offering the highest quality of life, and the safest and richest environment for the families.
For the third year in a row, Singapore topped the list of 46 countries that qualified for the ranking, carrying the overall highest score for expat quality of life.
Behind Singapore was Norway, followed by New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands rounding out the top five.
The report ranked New Zealand as the best destination for experience. 58% of expats moved there to improve their quality of life, HSBC said.
Switzerland is the best destination for economics. It is the highest ranked country for confidence in the local economy and political stability, while the Netherlands is the best destination for family. It stands out for the better health and wellbeing of expat children (76%) and better quality of education (72%), the report said.