SA’s Global Comparisons

2016 # 2: SA’s Global Rankings – The Economist’s research reveals some positive (and negative) home truths.

Infrastructure, Health and Technology

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. (The Economist tends to rank the top 1-50best and the bottom 1 – 50 worst (sometimes the range is less), very often SA is 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).

https://www.sagoodnews.co.za/newsletters/7473-economist-pocket-world-1-august.html

  • Secondly, cover the numbers: Infrastructure, Health and Technology (August 15).
  • Thirdly, cover the numbers: People, Crime and Environment (August 22).
  • Fourthly, conclude with comments.
Country Facts 2014 SA Ranking/

countries surveyed

Comment

Infrastructure

Largest Road Networks in km’s SA 10/190 @ 849,417 kms

 

USA (1 @ 6 584 594 kms), Australia (10 @ 824,008kms), UK (16 @419,826kms) Germany (12 @ 643,603kms)
Most crowded Road Networks – number of vehicles per km SA not in top 50/190 Monaco (1 @427), UK (20 @85), Germany (28@72), Greece (40@55)
Highest car ownership SA not in top 50

SA @ 165 cars per 1000 pop)

Up from 113 in 2010

Monaco (1 @ 894 cars per 1000 pop), Liechtenstein (2), NZ (4), Australia (10), USA (32 @ 402), UK (17 @ 499)
Highest car production SA 27/190 @ 550 000 units

improvement

China (1 @ 15m), Japan (2), Germany (3 @ 5m),Australia (30 @ 124 000)
Cars sold (new registrations) SA 24/190

SA @ 451 000 in 2012

Down from 483 000

China (1 @ 15 495 000), USA (2), UK (9), Australia (13 @ 883 000)
Most Air Travel – million passenger km per annum 2012 SA 31/190

SA @ 17 m passenger per annum

USA (1 @ 798m), UK (131m), Australia (69m), NZ (15m)
Longest Railway Networks in 1000 km’s SA 6/190

SA@40 300 kms

 

USA (1 @ 228k), UK (18 @ 16k), Australia (8 @ 33k), Egypt (31 @ 5k)
Most Rail Freight in millions of tons SA 9/190

SA @ 113,342m tons

USA (1 @ 2 524 585m), Australia (12 @ 58 649m), France (15 @31 616m)
Most Tourism Arrivals SA 28/190

SA @ 15m 2014

improvement

France (1 @ 84m), USA (2), Spain (4), UK (7), Australia (40 @ 6m)
Health
Life Expectancy 2010 – 2015, SA @ 57.1 years

Improvement, up from 54 in 2010

World average 71

Monaco @ 89, Japan @ 83 India @ 66, Zimbabwe @ 60, Lesotho @ 49, Nigeria @ 52,
Highest death rates – deaths per 1000 of population SA 16/190 @ 13.2 Ukraine 1 @ 17, Russia 5 @ 15.6, Hungary 14 @ 13.6
Highest Infant Mortality – deaths per 1000 live births Not in top 45/190 Angola (3 @87), Nigeria (15 @65), Tanzania (41 @ 42)
TB incidence per 100 000 population SA 3/190 @ 857 deaths per 100k of pop.

Down from 1003

Swaziland (1 @ 1349), Zimbabwe (6 @ 562), Kenya (24 @ 272)
HIV/Aids Prevalence among pop aged 15-49 as % SA 4/190 @ 19% Swaziland (1 @ 27%), Botswana (3 @ 21%), Nigeria (17 @3.3%), Bahamas (17 @ 3.3%)
Obesity % of pop. 18 and over – Male SA not in top 25 Qatar 1 @ 40%, USA 4 @ 32%, Australia 10 @ 28%, UK 13 @ 26%
Obesity % of pop. 18 and over – Female SA @ 15/190 Qatar 1 @ 50%, USA 18 @ 34%, UK 24 @ 29%
Hunger Index SA not in worst 25 Burundi (1), India (15), North Korea (25)
Doctors per 1000 of pop. SA not in worst 20 @ 1 per 1000 Australia @ 3.5, Nigeria @ 0,5, 16 African countries in worst 20
Highest divorce rates per 1000 pop SA not in top 50/190 Russia (2 @ 4.5), USA (8 @ 2.8), Australia (23 @ 2.2), UK (28 @ 2.1)
Average household size, people SA not in top 20

SA at 3.4 people

3.8 in 2001

Senegal (1 with 9.6 people), Mali (18 with 6.5 people)
Cost of living (highest) using

US as the base = 100

SA not in top 25 Singapore (1 @ 130) Japan (5 @ 118), Australia (4 @ 120), UK (11 @ 108), NZ (14 @ 104), Germany (24 @ 95)
Cost of Living (lowest) using

US as the base = 100

SA 18 @ 61/100

Was 12 in 2010

India (2 @ 40/100), Saudi Arabia (8 @ 57) Egypt (19 @ 63), Cambodia (25 @ 65)
Technology
Telephone lines per 100 people Not in top 40/190 Germany (8), UK (11), USA (26)
Computer per 100 people Not in top 50/190 Hong Kong (1 @ 336), UK (10  @ 184), Germany (16 @ 150)
Mobile subscribers per 100 people SA 30/190

(SA improved from 35  @ 145 per 100 people)

Macau (1 @ 304) , Mali (8 @ 182)). Botswana (16 @ 160) USA not in top 35
Daily Newspapers, copies per 1000 population SA not in top 30 @ 50 Luxembourg (1 @ 670), UK (17 @ 188), France / USA (24 @ 143)
Press Freedom: 1 most free

Source: Reporters without Borders

SA 39/190

Down from 34 in 2014

Finland (1), Germany (12), Australia (25), UK (38) USA (49)

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,
  • Rumoured, uninformed and crass
  • Biased, prejudiced or just plain racist

There are three sources of opinion; fact, rumour and prejudice. The truth can only be found in the first. There are three elements to a story; accuracy, context and balance. Truthful stories contain all three. There are three requirements for understanding; trust, honesty and respect. Without them opinion and truth count for little.(Steuart Pennington 2013)

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, 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: People, Crime, Environment.