SA’s Global Rankings on Infrastructure, Health and Technology improve (Economist: 2015)

Written by Steuart Pennington

2015: SA’s Global Rankings – The Economist’s research reveals some positive (and negative) home truths.

# 2: Infrastructure, Health and Technology
In this the second part of the three part series on SA’s Global Rankings I cover three new topics: infrastructure, health and technology.

Background:
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 cannabis smoking to which countries imprison the most people.  And every year the measures change – somewhat!  It makes for interesting reading!

(The Economist tends to rank the top 1-50 bestand the bottom 1 – 50 worst (sometimes the numbers are less), very often SA in not placed in either, where possible I have researched SA’s actual ranking)

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 cover:

  • #1: Geography, Population and Economy (May 19).
  • # 2: Infrastructure, Health and Technology (May 26)
  • #3: People, Crime and Environment (June 3).
  • #4: Conclusion with comments.
Country Facts 2014 SA Ranking/
countries surveyed
Comment

Infrastructure

Largest Road Networks in km’s

SA 9/190 @ 828,237 kms
SA up one place from 2014

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 (18 @85), Germany (28@72), Greece (39@55)
Highest car ownership

SA not in top 50
SA @ 113 cars per 1000 pop)

Monaco (1 @ 782 cars per 1000 pop), Liechtenstein (2), NZ (4), Australia (10), USA (32 @ 410), UK (31 @ 420)
Highest car production

SA 19/190 @ 550 000 units
improvement

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

SA 25/190
SA @ 483 000 in 2012
improvement

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

SA 28/190
SA @ 32 683m passenger km per annum

USA (1 @ 1, 379 000m), UK (4), Australia (6), NZ (29 @ 29 867m)
Longest Railway Networks in 1000 km’s

SA 6/190
SA@40 300 kms
SA up 3 places from 2014

USA (1 @ 228k), UK (17 @ 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 @ 70m), USA (2), Spain (4), UK (7), Australia (40 @ 6m)

Health

Life Expectancy 2010 – 2015, SA @ 57.1 years
Improvement, up from 54
Monaco @ 89, Japan @ 83 India @ 66, Zimbabwe @ 60, Lesotho @ 49, Nigeria @ 52,
Highest Infant Mortality – deaths per 1000 live births

Not in top 45/190

Angola (4 @96), Nigeria (14 @76), Tanzania (42 @ 48)
TB incidence per 100 000 population

SA 2/190 @ 1003 deaths per 100k of pop.

Swaziland (1 @ 1349), Zimbabwe (6 @ 562), Kenya (24 @ 272)
HIV/Aids Prevalence among pop aged 15-49 as %

SA 4/190 @ 18%

Swaziland (1 @ 26%), Botswana (3 @ 23%), Nigeria (19 @3.1%), Bahamas (17 @ 3.3%)
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
Obesity % Male population aged 20+

Not ranked in top 20/190

USA (3 @ 31%), New Zealand (9 @ 28%), Australia (10 @27%),
Obesity % Female population aged 20+

SA 9/190 @ 42%
Worse than last year

Kuwait (1 @ 58%), Bahamas (5 @47%)
Highest Marriage Rates per 1000 of pop

 Not in top 50/190

Egypt (3 @ 11), USA (26 @ 6.8), Australia (42 @ 5.5)
Lowest Marriage Rates per 1000 of pop

SA 16/190 @ 3.5

UAE(1 @ 1.8), France (25 @ 3.7), Austria (34 @ 4.6)
Highest divorce rates per 1000 pop

SA not in top 50/190

Russia (1 @ 4.7), USA (8 @ 2.8), Australia (26 @ 2.2), NZ (41 @ 1.9)
Lowest divorce rates per 1000 pop

SA 6/190 @ 0,6 per 1000 pop

Malta (1 @ 0,1), UAE (5 @ 0,5), Italy (19 @ 1)
Average household size, people

SA not in top 20
SA at 3.6 people

Senegal (1 with 8.9 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 12 @ 61/100

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 (5), UK (14), USA (21)
Computer per 100 people

Not in top 50/190

Canada (1 @ 132), UK (4 @ 101), USA (6), Namibia (49 @ 27)
Mobile subscribers per 100 people

SA 34/190
(SA in top 35 for the first time @ 130 per 100 people)

Macau (1 @ 243) , Russia (5 @ 182), UK (33 @ 135). USA not in top 35
Internet hosts (number per country in millions)

SA 28/190 @ 3m

USA (1 @ 592m), UK (15 @ 8m),
Internet hosts (per 1000 pop)

SA not in top 30

USA (1), Iceland (2), Finland (4), Monaco (3), Australia (6)
Facebook users per 1000 population

SA not in top 25

Monaco (1@ 984), Belgium (25 @ 465)
Daily Newspapers, copies per 1000 population

SA not in top 30 @ 50

Luxembourg (1 @ 670), UK (16 @ 250), France (26 @ 155) USA not on list
Press Freedom: 1 most free
Source: Reporters without Borders

SA 39/190
Down from 34 in 2014

Finland (1), Germany (14), Australia (27), UK (34) 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.