This is the seventh edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks nations according to their level of peace.
It is composed of 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, which gauge three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation.
The 2013 GPI has been expanded to rank 162 independent states and updated with the latest available figures and information. Here below is the overall 2013 GPI report for Sub-Saharan African countries.
The perception of Sub-Saharan Africa as a focus of economic under-performance and political instability is increasingly out-of-date, as underscored by the 2013 results of the GPI. Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole this year ranks above the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Russia and Eurasia in terms of peacefulness. In part, this reflects rising economic prosperity—Sub-Saharan economic growth has outstripped that of every other region in the world over the past two years—and, ironically, the region’s traditional marginalisation from the global economy has helped insulate it from the impact of the global financial crisis.
However, it is clear that risks can arise where there is a public perception that the benefits of more rapid national growth are not being shared equitably. For example, the deterioration in Burkina Faso’s ranking is underscored by a rise in the likelihood of violent demonstrations, homicide rates and violent crime. Public anger over the high cost of living and the inadequacy of state services, notwithstanding strong overall economic growth, has already led to a wave of violent protests and strikes, and the potential for further unrest remains high. To a large extent, these institutional weaknesses are reflected in IEP research on positive peace, which found Burkina Faso in 2012 to be the nation with the largest positive peace deficit. Frustration with the inequitable division of spoils can also lead to an upsurge in violent crime, or perceptions thereof, as is apparent in the Central African Republic (CAR), Gambia, Mozambique, Niger, Tanzania and Togo.
What a number of these states also have in common is the increasing longevity of their leaders. Longstanding leaders are often accompanied by a marginalisation of opposition parties; deprived of the opportunity to change leadership via the ballot box, populations will turn instead to more violent means, as has been the case in the CAR (the military coup in Mali was an exception, being a reflection of military dissatisfaction with the conduct of an anti-insurgency campaign). While the eventual overthrow of the CAR’s president will be reflected in next year’s rankings, the preceding violence and instability contributed to the country’s ranking of 42nd out of 45 regional states.
The other states propping up the regional rankings demonstrate the enduring impact of conflict; Cote d’Ivoire’s 2013 ranking was hit by a surge in violence in the second half of 2012, with a series of attacks in the south of the country blamed by the government on forces loyal to the former president, Laurent Gbagbo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to be affected by armed conflict in the eastern provinces of the country, which in turn is driven by extensive population displacement over decades, as well as a lack of central government control, competition over control of the region’s vast natural resources and tensions between various communities and ethnic groups. Sudan’s low ranking is a reflection of the long-standing tensions that led to the secession of South Sudan in July 2011. This did not resolve issues in the states bordering what is now South Sudan, while Somalia has not truly recovered from its descent into civil conflict in the early 1990s.
GPI 2013: Horn of Africa Rankings