Economist Pocket World 1 August

2016: SA’s Global Rankings – The Economist’s research reveals some positive (and negative) home truths.

# 1: Geography, Population, Economy

by Steuart Pennington

Every year the Economist ‘Pocket World in Figures’ brings out a varied set of global rankings covering 190 countries.  These range from fastest-growing economies to highest per capita consumption of marijuana to which countries imprison the most people.

And every year the measures are changed – somewhat!  It makes for interesting reading!

The stats in red have been added this year. Some have been removed from last year. https://www.sagoodnews.co.za/newsletters/6818-sa-s-global-rankings-the-economist-s-research-reveals-some-positive-and-negative-home-truths.html

(The Economist tends to rank the top 1-50 best and the bottom 1 – 50worst (sometimes the range is less), very often SA in not placed in either, that’s what this newsletter will reflect)

There are 230 countries in the world, only 190 are ‘serious enough’ to provide data, and only 80 have a population of more than 10 million.

So, in this three-part series I will:

  • Firstly, cover the numbers: Geography, Population and Economy (August 1).
  • Secondly, cover the numbers: Infrastructure, Health and Technology (August 8).
  • Thirdly, cover the numbers: People, Crime and Environment (August 15).
  • Fourthly, conclude with comments.

 

Country Facts – the BASICS

2016

SA Ranking/

countries surveyed

Comment
Geography
Area by ‘000 Km² SA 25/190 8 African countries are geographically larger than SA, however Nigeria with pop. of 150m is smaller at 32/190
Population
Population size in 2012 SA 25/190 4 African countries are greater, Nigeria is at (7/190)
Population size projected to 2025 SA not in top 20 India (1 @ 1,62b), China (2 @ 1.38b) Philippines (10 @ 157m), 7 African countries in top 20, Nigeria is (3 @ 440m up from 173m at present)
Fastest growing population SA not in top 50/190 29 African countries in top 50, Niger (1), Nigeria (13), Mozambique (25)
Slowest growing population SA not in bottom 50/190 20 countries, mostly Eastern European, but including Germany, Japan and Cuba have negative population growth rates
Highest/Lowest median age SA does not feature in highest or lowest 50 Japan (2) at 44 years old.  Niger, Chad, Uganda, lowest at 15 years old
Highest/Lowest population density SA does not feature Macau (1), Monaco (2), Singapore (3), Hong Kong (4).
Biggest Cities JHB 34/190 @ 9.4m people Tokyo (1 @ 38m, Delhi (2 @ 25m), New York (10 @18.6m) London (27 @ 10m), Sydney (83 @ 4.5m)
Population density per sq.km SA not in top 20 Singapore (3)  @ 7,428
Biggest urban populations SA 24/190 @ 34.7m urbanised China (1 @ 779m) India (2 @ 419m) USA (3 @ 265m) UK (15 @ 52m)
Biggest rural populations SA @ 28

 

India (1 @ 879m), Nigeria (6 @ 86m), USA (9 @ 54m),Russia (15 @ 36m) Germany (25 @ 20m) SA @ 18m
Largest refugee populations

 

 

SA not in top 20 Pakistan 1, USA 10, France 13, Germany 20
Asylum Applications to industrialised countries SA not in top 20 Germany 1, USA 2, France 3, UK 6, Canada 16
Biggest migrant population as % of overall population SA not in top 30/190 Luxembourg (1 @ 43%), Australia (5 @ 27%), UK (19 @12%) Germany (20 @ 11.9%) SA estimated at 10%
Teenage births per 1000 women aged 15-19 SA not in top 25 Niger (1 @ 209), Zambia (10 @ 139), Nigeria (19 @ 123)

 

Economy

Biggest Economies as measured by  US$ GDP SA 34/190 Down 5 places from 2015 @ $366b. USA (1), Egypt (38), Nigeria (38), No other African countries featured.
Biggest Economy based on purchasing power (PPP) SA 29/190 Down 4 places from 2015 USA (1), Egypt (26), Nigeria (31).
Highest GDP per head SA not in top 60 nor in bottom 40 Monaco (1 @ $US 173,026 per head), Australia (9 @ $67,442) USA (14), UK (27 @ $41,920). SA (87) @ $10.960 per head.
Highest Purchasing Power per head SA not in top 70 Qatar (2), USA (15), Australia (26) UK (32), SA (87)
Human Development Index (* 1 is best) SA 116/190 20 African countries in bottom 30/190.  SA up by five positions from last year.
Gini Coefficient, 1 is worst SA 2/190 Namibia (1), Honduras (5), Colombia (9), Brazil (10)
Economic Freedom (* 1 is best) SA 74/190 No African country in top 60/190.  SA ranked as moderately free
Highest Economic growth SA not in top 50 18 African counties in top 50
Lowest economic growth SA not in bottom 35 In bottom 35, Euro area (18 @ 0,9%), UK (24 @ 1.3%), Ireland (26 @ 1.3%)
Biggest exporters SA 37/190 Up five places from 2015 Euro (1), USA (2), Australia (22), Hong Kong (31)
Biggest earners from services and income SA 46/190 First time SA in top 50 countries
Largest Deficit in US$ SA 11/190

SA @ $ 21 trillion

USA (1 @ $400 trillion), UK (2 @ $114 Trillion), Australia (6), NZ (22)
Largest Deficit as % of GDP Not in top 40

SA @ – 4.5%

Mozambique (1 @ -37%), Zimbabwe (8 @ – 25%), Ghana (19 @ -11%)
Government Debt as % of GDP SA not in top 30

SA @ 45%

Japan (1 @ 227%), UK (8 @ 107%), USA (11 @ 104%), Germany (17 @ 86%), NZ (27 @ 41%),
Government spending as a % of GDP

 

SA not in top 30,

SA @ 32%

France (3 @ 57%), Euro Area (9 @ 49%), UK (13 @ 47%), USA (27 @ 38%), Australia (30 @ 35%)
Tax revenue as % of GDP SA not in top 30

SA @ 27%

Denmark (1 @ 48%), Germany (12 @ 37%), UK (16 @ 35%)
Gold reserves SA @ 26 Euro area 1, USA 2, Germany 3, UK 15
Largest market capitalisation JHB 18th largest @ US$934b  NYSE (1 @ US$ 19,351b) NASDAQ (2 @ US$ 6 979b) Tokyo (3 @ US$ 4378b),
House price improvement over the last year, 1 is best SA 4/190 was 2 last year

SA @ 10%

Hong Kong (3), USA (1) NZ (4), UK (11)
House price improvement over the last 5 years, 1 is best SA 6/190

SA @ 40%

Brazil (1 @ 155%) Hong Kong (2 @ 154%) USA (17 @ 12%) Russia (20 @ 0.8%)
Highest foreign debt in $ billions SA 19/190

SA @ $139b

Down five places

China (1 @ $ 874b), Russia (2 @ $726b), Brazil (3@ $480b) India (5 @ $427b) Argentina (20 @ $136b)
Highest foreign debt burden as % of GDP SA not in top 50/190 Zimbabwe (1 @ 337%), Hungary (5 @ 111%) Mauritius (10 @ 91%)
Household Debt as % of gross disposable income SA not in top 30

 

Denmark (1), Australia (5), UK (10) USA (16), Germany (20)
Largest Industrial Output SA 37/190

 

China 1, USA 2, Japan 3.
Largest Manufacturing Output SA 34/190

Up 1 place from last year

China (1), USA (2) China overtakes US for 1sttime
Largest Services Output SA 30/190 up five places from 2013 USA (1), Japan (2), UK (6), Hong Kong (29), Egypt (44)
Largest producers of Energy SA 20/190 China (1), USA (2), Russia (3)
Largest Consumers of Energy SA 19/190 China (1), USA (2), UK (13), Thailand (20), Egypt (28)
Highest rate of Unemployment SA 9/190 Namibia (1) Greece (5), Spain (8), Ireland (29),
Highest rate of Youth Unemployment SA 7/190 Bosnia (1), Greece (2), Spain (3), Ireland (44)
Average hours worked (where 1 is most) SA 4/190 @ 43.2 hours per week Turkey (1 @ 49), Paraguay (2 @ 46.8) Albania (3 @ 43.3), Luxembourg (22 @ 37.9)
Global Competitiveness Index SA 59/144

Up 7 places from 2015

USA (1), Switzerland (2), India (44)
Entrepreneurial activity (% of population 18-64 who are owner-managers) SA 24th ‘lowest’ /190

@ 7%

Hong Kong ‘lower’ at 3.6%, Germany at 5.3%, India at 6.6%
Corruption Index where 1 is least and 175 is worst. SA 61/175 Up 7 places from previous year Denmark (1) Switzerland (7), UK (14), Somalia (175), Iraq (172), Chad (163)
Largest number of listed domestic companies SA’s JSE @ 25 out of top 38 with 380 India (1 with 5542), Japan (3), London (6) NASDAQ (5) Australia (8 with 2073)
Big Mac Index (a measure of the most under-valued currencies where 1 is most) SA 5/190 Ukraine (1), Russia (2), India (3), China (13) Singapore (26)

 

So, if you are interested in ‘numbers’ then I invite you to make of these stats what you will.

People often say “lies, damn lies and statistics”. But if you don’t start with the numbers where do you start? With opinion? With rumour? With hearsay? With media distortion?

There are three types of opinion I come across every day, especially in our print media:

  • Informed, factual and specific,
  • Uninformed, rumoured and crass
  • Biased, prejudiced or just plain racist

How intensely annoying is it to be told “that’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it” when ignorance or prejudice is at the heart of the ‘opinion’ ……….and you have the facts.

How infuriating is it to be told something, you point out the facts and the response is “I don’t care about the facts, I’m telling you………….blah, blah, blah!”.

Whenever I read that SA is the “worst in the world” I Google it, there are global surveys on just about everything. Three things emerge:

  • First, there are very few surveys that go beyond 80 countries (out of 230)
  • Second, countries are cagey about their bad stats. (Try and find out about tourist murders on a country by country basis, or foetal alcohol syndrome, or rape…..)
  • Third, some information is hard to come by, for example most countries only report on crime stats. every five years and very few put them into the public domain.

But the key issue is the narrative, how we talk about our country, how the media reports, what we hear on the news.

Why do we obsess with bus accidents in Bangladesh which we (the SABC) feel that it is vital to know of when there are ‘some’ good things happening here, which NEVER make the news.

Check out www.sagoodnews.co.za for evidence of that.

So please, if you read or hear something that you suspect as being untrue, google it, establish the facts, and then write to the offending media source, tweet it, facebook it….embarrass the offending editor.

And if it’s bad news, and true, try, if you can, to do something about it.

NEXT WEEK: Infrastructure, Health, Technology