The Annual Legatum Prosperity Index report 2015 was launched this month. The report measures prosperity based on both income and wellbeing, in an approach known as ‘GDP and beyond’. The rank is calculated by adding sub-indexes (which include economy, governance, education, and social capital) to form the overall index. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Scandinavian countries ranked top of the list. Norway was ranked the most prosperous of the all countries worldwide. But how do the emerging markets fare?
Mexico and Brazil: Much to do
Brazil was ranked 54th on the list, a slip of five places from 2014. Brazil’s best performance is in the Personal Freedom and lowest rank is in the Safety & Security sub-index, where it ranks 85th in 2015. Mexico, though ranked slightly better at 67th, fell three places. The country’s strongest performance was in Economy, despite a slowdown to 2.3% annual GDP growth. On Safety and Security, Mexico was ranked 103rd. Despite economic growth, Brazil and Mexico have a lot of work to do with respect to crime and personal safety. According to UN data, one-third of global homicides occur in Latin America, and most of the world’s violent cities are located in Brazil and Mexico. Acapulco, Mexico, is the third most violent city in the world with 104 homicides per 100,000 residents. Jaoo Pessoa, Brazil, doesn’t fall far behind, with 79.4 per 100,000.
Asia: personal freedoms are weak
Rising two places, China ranks 52nd globally in the Prosperity Index 2015. Owing to its powerhouse economy,
China’s best performance is in the Economy sub-index, where it ranks 3rd. In Personal Freedoms, China’s credentials are not quite so lofty. Ranking 120th, China’s personal freedoms, as accessed by the Prosperity Index, are among the lowest in the world. This should come as no surprise. In the age of social media, repression has taken its digital form. Well-known social media commenters, are more likely to be scrutinised, censored, and jailed. They are therefore likely to think very carefully before sharing anything on an open platform. Indonesia’s personal freedoms have been assessed as worse than China’s. Ranking 123rd, its low rating is attributed to the lack of personal freedoms in the land.
Indonesia’s best performance is in the Social Capital sub-index, where it ranks 21st. Generally, Indonesia is the new emerging market star of the index. It has climbed 21 places up the Prosperity Index in the last seven years – the most of any country in the world. The country’s economic success is mainly due to the start-up boom and not surprisingly, the number of people satisfied with their living standards has increased from 63% to 71%.
Ethiopia: the one to watch
Ethiopia’s best performance is in the Economy sub-index, where it ranks 92nd in 2015 and its lowest rank is in the Entrepreneurship & Opportunity sub-index, where it ranks 137th in 2015.
Not so much an emerging market yet, Ethiopia made the headlines as the first African Sub-Saharan country to have a metro system. Its booming capital, Addis Ababa welcomed the light-rail trains as inhabitants had to rely on ‘taxis’ — actually minibus services that make short journeys around the city. The metro system started its construction in 2012, and it was mainly funded by China and it will be run for the next five years by the Shenzhen Metro Group and China Railway Engineering Corporation. Chinese money is also paying for a new full-sized railway in Ethiopia, connecting Addis Ababa to Djibouti, which is planned to open next year, as well as new lines in Kenya and Nigeria.
This post was originally featured on BRIC Plus Magazine