Posted by: devonhamilton | August 22, 2010

100 Best Countries in the World

Newsweek Magazine has released a special issue: “The Best Countries in the World”. In terms of sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana ranked third highest, ranking at 86 out of 100 countries (for those who are curious, Canada came in at 7). While ranking in the 80s and 90s for sectors such as education, health, economic dynamism and quality of life, Ghana ranked 44 out of 100 for “political environment.” This is defined as the political risk faced by government, corporations and investors.

Ghana’s ranking as 44th in terms of political environment shows that it its current political situation is fairly stable. Ghana has had a tumultuous history in politics (see my earlier entries, there have been several coups) but has since stabilized.

Currently, the president of Ghana is John Atta Mills, elected in 2008. He is a self-described social democrat with a law degree from the University of Ghana and he completed further studies in London. Interestingly, I continuously read that John Atta Mills is an avid hockey player and once played for the Ghanaian national team. This is obviously a reference to field hockey, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Another measurement often used to rank countries is the Human Development Index (HDI), most recently released in January 2010. Ghana ranked 152nd out of 182 countries (Canada was 4th). HDI incorporates education, quality of life, GDP, and literacy rates, among other variables. The way HDI is measured has been criticized (especially by one of my former profs who felt they put too much weight on GDP), but I still think that these statistics can be useful, as long as you aren’t relying on only one source. The map below is the HDI map, with darker green colours indicating a high score on the HDI index, and darker red incating a low score.

Back to Newsweek: A few other African countries made the Newsweek’s top 100 list, including South Africa, Madagascar, and Burkina Faso (Ghana’s border country to the North).

Full top 10:

1. Finland
2. Switzerland
3. Sweden
4. Australia
5. Luxembourg
6. Norway
7. Canada
8. Netherlands
9. Japan
10. Denmark

You can find the Newsweek feature here, and a more visual interactive map here.

PS: You can now subscribe to my blog! Just press the “sign me up!” button on the bottom of the right hand sidebar. After submitting your email address you will receive an e-mail notification when this blog is updated, which I thought might be useful while I am gone and my posting frequency is unpredictable!

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