Mauritius ranks 23rd among the world’s most peaceful countries, according to the Global Peace Index published at the end of this week. This report, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, is the world’s leading measure of peace. It presents the most comprehensive data-driven analysis to date of peace trends, the economic value of peace, and how to develop peaceful societies.
The 17th edition of the annual Global Peace Index (GPI), the world’s leading measure of peacefulness, reveals the average level of global peacefulness deteriorated for the ninth consecutive year, with 84 countries recording an improvement and 79 a deterioration. This demonstrates that the deteriorations were larger than the improvements, as the post-COVID rises of civil unrest and political instability remain high while regional and global conflicts accelerate.
It should come as no surprise that political instability and unresolved internal conflicts are major factors undermining global peacefulness. For the sixth year in a row, Afghanistan emerged as the least peaceful country in world followed by Yemen, Syria, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ukraine recorded the largest deterioration in the index, falling 14 places to the 157th spot. The report estimates that the war cost Ukraine $449 billion, or 64% of its GDP. The human cost is also staggering: 65% of Ukrainian men between the age of 20 and 24 have fled the country or died in the conflict. Haiti, Mali and Israel were the other nations with the sharpest declines in this year’s peacefulness index. Another worrying trend is that conflicts are becoming more internationalized: 91 countries are now involved in external conflicts in some form—the respective figure from the 2008 index was just 33.
Iceland remains the most peaceful country, a position it has held since 2008, followed by Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand and Austria. For the sixth consecutive year, Afghanistan is the least peaceful country, followed by Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Highlighting the shifting dynamics of conflict, both Afghanistan and Syria recorded improvements in peacefulness.
Ukraine’s overall score recorded a decline of 13%, the largest deterioration in the 2023 GPI, and is now 157th on the Index. Libya experienced the largest improvement in overall peacefulness, improving by 7% and rising 14 places to 137th.
The shift in the global distribution of conflict continued as major conflicts in the MENA region and South Asia declined, while conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and Asia-Pacific intensified. The Russia and Eurasia region recorded the largest deterioration in peacefulness in the world.
The impact of violence on the global economy increased by $1 trillion to a record $17.5 trillion. This is equivalent to 13% of global GDP, approximately $2,200 per person. This was due to increased military expenditure owing to the Ukraine war. The disparity in the economic impact of violence is stark: the ten countries most affected averaged 34% of GDP, compared to just 3% for the ten least affected.