The Legatum Prosperity Index measures the affluence and wellbeing of countries by ranking them in nine different ‘pillars of prosperity’.

In the 2018 Index, South Africa was ranked highly in the pillars of Personal Freedom and Social Capital.

The Index assesses long term changes in global prosperity by analyzing 149 countries and ranking them in each of the nine pillars.

Personal Freedom and Social Capital are two, while the other pillars are: Economic Equality, Business Environment, Governance, Safety and Security, Education, Health, and Natural Environment.

Started in 2007, the Index shows that global prosperity has grown and is at its highest ever point in the history of the Prosperity report.

South Africa currently ranks 68th out of the 149 countries included in the Index.

Ranking 27th out of 149 for Personal Freedom, the report found that South Africa is the second-highest ranking country in the Sub-Saharan region for this pillar.

The Personal Freedom pillar refers to national progress in basic legal rights, individual liberties and societal tolerance.

South Africa’s ranking bodes well for the legal rights of the nation’s LGBT community, and the report further reveals there has been a decrease in government restrictions on religion.

“..Government restrictions on religion have gone down from last year.”

It comes as no surprise that the country has ranked 30th for Social Capital, which refers to the strength of personal and social relationships, social norms and civic participation in a nation.

Unfortunately, the country ranked low in Economic Equality, Safety and Security and Health.

The 2018 report, however, also shows that Safety and Security continues to decline around the world, specifically in Sub-saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.

“Safety and security is fundamental to prosperity. Among the countries that rose the most, safety and security was their strongest pillar. In countries that fell, safety and security was the worst performing pillar,” the Index states.

This is attributed to the high levels of conflict, death and terrorism in the three regions.

“In 2008 there were 1.09 deaths caused by terrorism per 1 000 000 people. In 2018, the figure is 3.82.”

The Index reveals that the biggest challenged faced in Sub-Saharan Africa is improving the education pillar, stating the region “lags significantly behind the rest of the world.”

Norway held top ranking in the index, holding first position for safety and security whereas Afghanistan was ranked at 149 with the lowest score in social capital.

The report believes that prosperity is linked to wellbeing and found that countries which have good leadership, open economies, inclusive societies, safety and security and empower their citizens are flourishing.


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