South Africa is known for many things across the world, some good – such as its beautiful tourist attractions – and some bad – such as the history of apartheid. In the 2020 Best Countries Report, a ranking and analysis project by US News & World Report, BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, South Africa ranks among some of the lowest rated countries in the world.
“By collaborating with leaders in data and academia, we’re able to help thought leaders, business decision makers, policy makers and citizens understand how perceptions impact their country’s standing in the world,” said Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer at US News.
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 in a survey of more than 20 000 people from 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 embody a certain characteristic in relation to the average, the higher that country’s attribute score, and vice versa. These scores were then averaged to account for outliers and transformed into a scale that could be compared across the board.
Attributes were grouped into nine sub-rankings that rolled into the Best Countries ranking: adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power and quality of life.
South Africa is 39th in the overall ranking, going down two places since 2019, when we came in at number 37. The report notes the country’s GDP Per Capita at $13,630 (R196 000).
The report shows that while SA has come a long way since the end of apartheid in 1994, there is 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 reads. “While South Africa is celebrated for its largely nonviolent transition to democracy, it still faces a host of economic, political and health challenges. The country grapples with immigration tensions, the AIDS epidemic, rising unemployment and persistent poverty. While the ruling party, the African National Congress, has increased services for the country’s poor, it has faced serious allegations of corruption throughout its ranks.”
The overall world top 10 ranking goes as follows:
- United Kingdom
- United States