The world has grown safer over the past decade but more dangerous in the past year, according to the 2017 Global Peace Index.
Visions of Humanity, a peace research institute that focuses on the economic benefits of peace, compiled the index, which includes detailed sections on each region of the world.
While the index reports that peacefulness in sub-Saharan Africa deteriorated to its worst levels since 2008, Sierra Leone and Ghana were categorized as “more peaceful” than any other nations in west Africa.
It is ironic that peace has deteriorated to 2008 levels, the report states, because trends in safety and security discussions have grown since that year. The report blames “access to small arms, military expenditure and the deterioration of UN peacekeeping funding,” in the section of the report specifically about sub-Saharan Africa.
Notable improvements in all of Africa were political stability and fewer deaths from conflict.
Ethnic tensions in Ethiopia led it to suffer the greatest loss in peace ranking on the continent. The nation dropped from 118th to 134th due to violent demonstrations and a state of emergency called by the government in 2016.
Ghana is ranked as the 43rd most peaceful nation in the world, out of 163 nations ranked. Sierra Leone was ranked as the 39th.
The index takes each country’s perceptions of criminality, homicide, incarceration, access to weapons, violent crime, and police terror into account, along with several other considerations.
Each consideration is ranked on a scale of one to five, with five as the worst. Ghana scored under three in most categories, with the exception of access to weapons, perceptions of criminality, and violent crime and demonstrations.
The top five most peaceful countries were Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark.