South Africa is one of the most violent and unsafe countries in the world

 ·18 Jun 2015
Civil war

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 total economic impact of violence containment in South Africa is $66.7 billion – or $1,258 per person

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

# Country Index Score
1 Iceland 1.148
2 Denmark 1.150
3 Austria 1.198
4 New Zealand 1.221
5 Switzerland 1.275
6 Finland 1.277
7 Canada 1.287
8 Japan 1.322
9 Australia 1.329
10 Czech Republic 1.341

Top 10 least peaceful countries

# Country Index Score
162 Syria 3.645
161 Iraq 3.444
160 Afghanistan 3.427
159 South Sudan 3.383
158 Central African Republic 3.332
157 Somalia 3.307
156 Sudan 3.295
155 Democratic Republic of the Congo 3.085
154 Pakistan 3.049
153 North Korea 2.977

South Africa

Societal safety bottom 20-2

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.

Homicide and safety

Homicide and safety

GPI indicators - South Africa

GPI indicators – South Africa

More on peace in South Africa

How corrupt is South Africa?

Global terrorist hotspots mapped

Alarming increase in protests in South Africa

Whites in South Africa ‘are worse than Hitler’

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter