The 2021 edition of the Global Peace Index, an index from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a Sydney-based think tank, sees five African countries ranked among the ten least peaceful nations in the world.
South Africa has been on fire since the imprisonment of its former president Jacob Zuma. It is likely to be included next year in the list of least peaceful countries in the Global Peace Index, compiled by the IEP, a think tank based in Sydney. Iceland, New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, the Czech Republic and Canada are the ten most peaceful countries in the world.
At the antipodes, Africa has five of the ten most conflicting and insecure states on the planet. In the worst order are Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan (160th in the world), Iraq, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, the Central African Republic and Russia.
Reducing the focus on Africa adds to the list of the ten least peaceful countries Mali (148th in the world), Nigeria (146th), Cameroon (145th), Ethiopia (139th) and Niger. (137th).
The Global peace index, published June 23 by the IEP, an Australian think tank with offices in Brussels, Harare, Mexico City, The Hague and New York, targets 166 countries through its 23 indicators for measuring conflict, security and “militarization” of communities. Overall, the decline was small in 2020 (-0.07%), but it continued for the ninth year in a row. While 73 countries have seen their situation worsen, 87 have won in peace.
The largest decline in the world in Burkina Faso
Violent protests have increased sharply, linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as political instability, which is increasing in 45 countries. “GPI has identified 5,000 violent incidents around the world between January 2020 and April 2021 linked to the Covid crisis, while the long-term impact of the pandemic on violent crime and suicide remains unclear,” explains Serge Stroobants, Director of IEP in Brussels.
Ukraine and Iraq made the most progress, while Burkina Faso experienced the world’s worst setback in 2020. According to the report, “the government decides to finance and arm civilian aid units in the fight against the uprising has increased access to small arms and the intensity of the conflict. Burkina Faso is in a situation of low-intensity civil war, with one million people displaced by the end of 2020. ”
All indicators are also red in Zambia due to border disputes with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the increase in military spending. Ditto in Ethiopia due to the Tigrayan conflict with Eritrean intervention, but also 291 deaths in the demonstrations that followed the murder of singer Oromo Hachalu Hundessa, without forgetting the tensions with the neighboring countries around the Renaissance dam on the Nile.
Violence has a cost: almost 12% of global GDP
The annual impact of violence is estimated by GPI at the colossal sum of $ 15 trillion, or 11.6% of global GDP. Military expenditure represents 43% of this total amount, international security 31% and private security almost 8%, the rest is divided between conflict (3%), violent crime (3.1%) and murder (7%).
Even more interesting, the large-scale survey on which GPI is based is called World risk survey and is run by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation with 150,000 people over the age of 15 in 142 countries. Globally, 15 percent of respondents fear violence and terrorism and are perceived as the second risk after car accidents.
Africa at the forefront of the lived experience of violence
The five countries with the most experienced violence experience (by respondents or acquaintances) in the last two years are in Africa: 63% in Namibia, 58% in South Africa, 56% in Lesotho, 55% in Liberia and 54% in Zambia. The world has the weakest experience of violence in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Japan, Singapore and Poland.
The fear of violence is strongest in Brazil (83%, twice as high as the lived experience of violence), South Africa (79%), Mauritius (76%), Malawi (75%) and Lesotho (74%). Violence is seen as a major risk every day by more than half of those interviewed in Afghanistan, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Mauritius represents a special case, in that it ranks first among the safest countries in Africa, followed by Ghana, Botswana, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Senegal (54th in the world, just before France) according to GPI. Fear has increased as the island has seen its homicide rate double (from 1.8 to 2.9 per 100,000 people) and violent protests occur due to the controversial leadership of an oil spill in 2020.
Two other exceptions should be noted: Mauritania, the only country in sub-Saharan Africa where less than 20% of respondents have experienced violence in the previous two years, and Madagascar, the only country where less than 20% of the population say they are very worried about violent crime.