The recently released 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI) estimates that violence cost South Africa $176.49 billion (R3.30 trillion) in 2022 – 15% of the country’s GDP.
The GPI, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness. It is considered the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness.
The 2023 report tracked 23 indicators distributed over three domains – internal conflict, external conflict, and levels of militarization.
Global peacefulness declined for the ninth consecutive year. The global economic impact of violence was $17.5 trillion in 2022, equivalent to 12.9% of global GDP, or $2,200 per person.
Iceland was ranked the most peaceful country, while Afghanistan was ranked last. South Africa fell by eight places to rank 130th.
South Africa placed 15th on the Economic Cost of Violence Ranking, sorted by the economic cost of violence as a percentage of GDP.
The cost of violence in South Africa grew by $57.58 billion (R1.08 trillion) between 2021 and 2022. The GPI estimates that the per capita impact of violence in South Africa in 2022 was $2,947 (R55,133.96).
In the Sub-Saharan Africa region, South Africa ranked 32nd out of 44 countries. Overall, Sub-Saharan Africa recorded a slight fall in peacefulness in the 2023 GPI, with the average country score deteriorating by 0.57%.
According to the report, the region is less peaceful than the global average on the Safety and Security and Ongoing Conflict domains but more peaceful than the worldwide average on the Militarisation domain.
IEP Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa Serge Stroobants told eNCA that there had been a clear rise in the number of internal and external conflicts being fought in South Africa and the Sub-Saharan region.
He said the IEP has also seen a rise in violent demonstrations and political instability in the region, as well as lower levels of resilience to cope with the impact of this violence.