SA ranks 136 of 162 in 2015 Global Peace Index

17 June 2015 - 17:54 By RDM News Wire

South Africa ranks 136 out of 162 countries in this year’s Global Peace Index (GPI) released on Wednesday‚ and 37 out of 44 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The economic impact of containing and dealing with the consequences of South Africa’s levels of violence was estimated to cost the national economy US$66.7 billion in 2014.This is equivalent to 9.8% of South Africa’s GDP‚ or US$1‚258 per person. The cost of violence to the economy in South Africa is the 21st highest total in the world and the 43rd highest per capita.Escalating civil strife and the consequent refugee crisis have been among the key drivers in increasing the cost of global violence containment‚ according to the GPI‚ published by the global think-tank‚ the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).Since 2008 the total economic impact of violence has increased by US$1.9 trillion (+15.3%). The economic impact of refugees and IDPs alone has increased by 267% since 2008‚ and now amounts to US$128 billion. However military expenditure‚ homicide and police forces remain the most costly categories‚ accounting collectively for 68.3% of the total cost.In the last eight years since the GPI first launched‚ South Africa has deteriorated in peace by 12% largely due to deteriorations in the indicators measuring intensity of internal conflict‚ political terror and violent demonstrations‚ the IEP said.Many European nations are now experiencing historic levels of peace with homicide rates falling‚ military budgets decreasing and the withdrawal of forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. In contrast countries traditionally at the bottom of the index such as Iraq‚ Syria‚ Nigeria‚ South Sudan and Central African Republic all became even less peaceful.Libya saw the most severe deterioration in peace this year - falling down to 149th out of 162 countries. Ukraine‚ which suffered over 6‚000 deaths from conflict and had over 1 million people displaced‚ recorded the second largest fall.Four regions - Europe‚ North America‚ Sub-Saharan Africa‚ and Central America and the Caribbean - experienced improvements in peace since last year.Sectarian strife and civil conflicts further reduced levels of peace in MENA‚ resulting in its worst ever score‚ while South America also saw a deterioration in its score driven mainly by increases in popular protests and a rise in perceptions of criminality.Despite ongoing improvements in peace in many countries‚ the IEP said‚ the number and intensity of armed conflicts increased dramatically with a 267% rise in the number of deaths from conflict since 2010‚ creating unprecedented levels of refugees.Latest estimates from the UNHCR suggest that refugees and IDPs account for approximately 0.75% of the current world population‚ over 50 million people.This increase of 131% in less than a decade was driven not just by conflict in the MENA region‚ but also by the ongoing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia with 23% and 13% of IDPs by country of origin in 2013‚ the IEP said.In 2014‚ 69 countries recorded deaths from terrorism‚ up from 60 the prior year‚ highlighting the increasing use of terror tactics. Growth in terrorist activity expanded from MENA to Sub-Saharan Africa with the largest increases recorded in Nigeria‚ Cameroon and Niger.Nigeria is now the second most deadly country for terrorism after Iraq‚ experiencing 140% increase in deaths to 4‚392. Its neighbour Cameroon recorded 191 deaths in 2014 compared to none the previous year.Fewer than 1% of terrorist fatalities in 2014 occurred in the OECD. Boko Haram’s massacre of over 2‚000 civilians in Baga‚ Nigeria in January 2015 was the most deadly terrorist incident since 9/11‚ an event overshadowed by the murder of 11 journalists at French newspaper Charlie Hebdo the following month.Sub-Saharan Africa's score improved in 2015‚ putting it further ahead of Russia and Eurasia‚ South Asia‚ and MENA. This overall improvement masks sharp variations in country performance; sub-Saharan states registered some of the sharpest score changes‚ both positive and negative.Guinea-Bissau and Cote d'Ivoire registered the largest score improvements worldwide while Djibouti's ranking declined 42 places‚ reflecting a rising incidence of social unrest‚ crime and resentment of the government's authoritarian rule.-RDM News Wire

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