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A new index shows the best and worst countries in the world when it comes to contributing to the greater good on a global scale.

Dubbed “The Good Country Index“, the ranking is not based on morality, but rather on a country’s contribution to the greater good of humanity – a country that serves the interests of its own people, but without harming the interests of people in other countries too.

“The Good Country Index doesn’t measure what countries do at home. This isn’t because we think these things are unimportant, of course, but because there are plenty of surveys that already measure them,” said index founder, Simon Anholt.

“What the index does aim to do is to start a global discussion about how countries can balance their duty to their own citizens with their responsibility to the wider world, because this is essential for the future of humanity and the health of our planet.”

Using data from the UN and other international organizations, the Index ranks countries across 7 main categories, tracking global contributions to science and technology; culture; world order; peace and security; the environment; health; and equality.

Of the 163 countries covered by the ranking, South Africa comes in at 52nd, the highest-ranked African country, below Mauritius (at 33rd).

The country has a middling performace in all categories except for three – one of which it topped as the world’s best contributor.

South Africa’s contribution to global peace and security is ranked best in the world, with a high number of troops sent in international peace-keeping missions (relative to the size of the economy) pushing it above and beyond other nations.

However, South Africa performed poorly in the environmental and equality categories, ranking 143rd and 160th, respectively.

This reflects South Africa’s massive contribution to CO2 emissions relative to the size of the economy, as well as the large outflows of foreign direct investment, and lack of skills development assistance to other nations.

This is how South Africa ranked out of 163 countries

  • Science and technology – 26th
  • Culture – 84th
  • World order – 33rd
  • International Peace and security – 1st
  • Environment – 143rd
  • Health – 160th
  • Equality – 36th
  • Overall – 52nd

According to the index, Sweden it the biggest overall contributor to the global greater good, followed by Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. On the opposite end of the scale, the world’s weakest contributors are Libya, which came in last, below Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania and the Central African Republic.

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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