Global peace is deteriorating as the economic impact of national and international violence escalates to $14.3 trillion (R178 trillion) – up significantly from a cost of $9.8 trillion in 2014.
These are the findings of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) Global Peace Index, which puts the total cost of violence to the global economy at 13.4% of global GDP (from 11.3% in 2014).
The biggest global contributors to this violence bill come from military spending ($3 trillion) and internal security spending ($1.3 trillion), as well as losses from crime and interpersonal violence ($2 trillion) and losses from conflicts ($817 billion).
The IEP data showed that, while the state of global peace remained relatively stable
between 2014 and 2015, four out of the nine geographical regions experienced an improvement in peace while five became less peaceful.
This is balanced by specific numbers, where 81 countries became more peaceful and 78 countries became less peaceful.
“The most substantial change in the index was recorded for the Middle East and North Africa — where several countries suffered from an upsurge in violence related to sectarian strife and civil conflicts, as well as a rise in actions by Islamist extremist groups,” the group said.
Top 10 most peaceful countries
Top 10 least peaceful countries
|158||Central African Republic||3.332|
|155||Democratic Republic of the Congo||3.085|
South Africa slipped 14 spots on the global ranking, from 122nd in 2014 to 136th in 2015 with a score of 2.376.
This places the country in the lower-end of the region rankings, ranked 37th out of 44 Sub-Saharan African (SSA) nations.
According to the IEP, the total economic impact of violence containment in the country is $66.7 billion (R830 billion), or $1,258 (R15,656) per person, or 10% of the country’s GDP as a whole.
This is the 33rd highest cost of all 162 countries covered by the researchers.
When it comes to societal safety and security, South Africa ranks as the 15th worst country in the world, and the 8th most violent with a murder rate of 31 per 100,000 people.
South Africa’s state of peacefulness – and slip down the rankings – appears to be more due to the increase of peacefulness in other SSA nations, rather than the abject deterioration of peace within the country.
In 2014, the country’s GPI score was 2.342, showing a small 0.034 difference.
In its 2014 report, the IEP singled out South Africa as having conflict driven by poverty, inequality, and the slow pace of reform by government.
This, in turn, fuels crime, violent strike action and political confrontation, the group said.
The group’s long-term outlook said that, with high unemployment and income inequality – as well as buckling service delivery under the ANC administration – South Africa’s positioning regarding peace and security is unlikely to change.