How the world sees South Africa

U.S. News & World Report has identified what it believes to be the best countries in the world, including South Africa, drawing on a set of 65 ‘country attributes’.

The report, according to its authors, is also based on perception, showing what it is that is most important to people around the world today.

A total of 21,372 individuals from 36 countries in four regions – the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and Africa – were surveyed.

South Africa ranked 38th out of 80 countries, from 31st out of 60 countries in 2016. It scored highest in the ‘Movers’ category, for being distinctive and different as a nation and having unique and dynamic people. Its lowest score came in the ‘Open for Business’ category.

“Although South Africa has come a long way since the end of apartheid in 1994, it remains a country of vast inequality and high crime. While the country is dotted with world-class dining, trendy shops, sprawling vineyards and upscale safari lodges, townships lacking basic infrastructure are often only a short distance away,” the report said.

The top five best countries, according the report were:

  • Switzerland
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Japan

See the full list here

The study and model used to score and rank countries were developed by Y&R’s BAV Consulting.

It said that a set of 65 country attributes – terms that can be used to describe a country and that are also relevant to the success of a modern nation – were identified. Attributes by nation were presented to people across the globe.

Participants assessed how closely they associated an attribute with a nation.

Each country was scored on each of the 65 country attributes based on a collection of individual survey responses. The more a country was perceived to exemplify a certain characteristic in relation to the average, the higher that country’s attribute score and vice versa.

Attributes were grouped into nine subrankings:

  • Adventure (3.24%): friendly, fun, pleasant climate, scenic, sexy
  • Citizenship (16.95%): cares about human rights, cares about the environment, gender equality, progressive, religious freedom, respects property rights, trustworthy, well-distributed political power
  • Cultural Influence (12.93%): culturally significant in terms of entertainment, fashionable, happy, has an influential culture, modern, prestigious, trendy
  • Entrepreneurship (17.42%): connected to the rest of the world, educated population, entrepreneurial, innovative, provides easy access to capital, skilled labor force, technological expertise, transparent business
    practices, well-developed infrastructure, well-developed legal framework
  • Heritage (3.17%): culturally accessible, has a rich history, has great food, many cultural attractions
  • Movers (10.00%): different, distinctive, dynamic, unique
  • Open for Business (11.99%): bureaucratic, cheap manufacturing costs, corrupt, favorable tax environment, transparent government practices
  • Power (7.42%): a leader, economically influential, politically influential, strong international alliances, strong military
  • Quality of Life (16.89%): a good job market, affordable, economically stable, family friendly, income equality, politically stable, safe, well-developed public education system, well-developed public health system

South Africa score:

The authors sourced their participating countries from the top 100 countries in terms of gross domestic product in 2015 or 2014, among other things.


Read: The 10 best countries for you to emigrate to right now

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How the world sees South Africa