Countries with the best reputations: how SA ranks

24 January 2019 - 00:00 By afp relaxnews
South Africa's economic and political challenges could be holding it back from ranking higher on the best countries list.
South Africa's economic and political challenges could be holding it back from ranking higher on the best countries list.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

South Africa has come in at number 37 on a new list that ranks the countries with the best reputations around the world. 

This was a slight improvement from 2018, where it ranked two spots lower at 39.

In US News and World Report's 2019 Best Countries Report, produced with the BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 20,300 respondents from 36 countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa were asked to score 80 countries based on 65 attributes.

The attributes were grouped under categories like adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power and quality of life.

South Africa scored high in the movers category (which measures a country's economic potential), the adventure category and its openness for business.

However, quality of life, citizenship and entrepreneurship scored low.

"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 says.

South Africa was also the highest ranking African country on the list, beating out Egypt (40), Morocco (42), Tanzania (54), and Ghana (69).


For the third year in a row, Switzerland took the top spot, scoring high in business, quality of life and cultural influence. Or in this case, its perceived international neutrality.

"Switzerland has carved out a brand internationally, one of quality and impartiality," said Dan Hamilton of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. 

"It plays a major mediation role, hosts several UN agencies and is influential culturally." 

But authors note that the country isn't without its challenges, pointing to the growing popularity of right-wing politics and the backlash against immigration. 

Rounding out the top five spots are Japan, Canada, Germany and the UK.

As another measure of brand power, the report asked consumers to identify the countries with the best reputation for assorted goods and services.

For cars, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, Germany emerged as the most trustworthy nation, while France was tops for cosmetics and fashion. Italy received the best marks for food and wine, and Japan is number one for technology and electronics.

In other categories, Canada was deemed to have the best quality of life and the UK to be the best in terms of  education.

Here are the details of the 2019 best countries report:

Top 10 'Best Countries':

  1. Switzerland
  2. Japan
  3. Canada
  4. Germany
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Sweden
  7. Australia
  8. United States
  9. Norway
  10. France

Best countries to start a business:

  1. Thailand
  2. India
  3. China

Best quality of life:

  1. Canada
  2. Sweden
  3. Denmark

Most powerful countries: 

  1. United States
  2. Russia
  3. China

Additional reporting by staff reporter.