Ghana is missing in the maiden best countries ranking released over the weekend in the United States.
The highest ranked country in Africa is South Africa, in 31st position, followed by Morocco in 35th, Egypt in 39th, Tunisia in 47th, Nigeria in 57th and Algeria rounding off the ranking at 60th position. Ghana cannot even be found in the best 60 countries in the world.
The survey was conducted by US News & World Report, in collaboration with BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Polling the opinions of 16,248 individuals from 36 countries in four regions (the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and Africa) the report evaluated 60 countries on global performance across a variety of categories, including entrepreneurship, quality of life, power and heritage.
Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Sweden made up the top five in the overall rankings, in that order.
An overall score was assigned to countries, based on how they were scored in the attributes. The countries were chosen on measures that included the United Nations’ Human Development Index, gross domestic product, tourism and total exports.
According to the survey, the 60 countries in the rankings represent about three-fourths of the world’s population and about 90 percent of global GDP.
The survey asked people their views on what the best country is on a wide variety of subjects.
Germany, which is the home to Europe’s largest economy, is seen as the top country for encouraging entrepreneurship, and is highly regarded for providing global leadership and caring for its citizens.
Its leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom both the Financial Times and Time magazine named as their Person of the Year for 2015, has actively led her government to confront some of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as the Greek debt crisis and the waves of immigrants sweeping across Europe.
A common thread among the leading countries is a strong role for the government in the everyday lives of the citizenry. Strong social safety nets, including the provision of low-cost college education and health care in countries like Germany, Sweden and Austria, are allied with a joint role for business and government in economic policy. This stands in stark contrast to the United States, where political debates often revolves around the role of government in the economy, and soaring university student loan debt is seen as a major national issue threatening future prosperity.
Rounding out the top 10 are Sweden, Australia, Japan, France, the Netherlands and Denmark. Japan, a country known for its technological prowess, is rated highly for its entrepreneurship, while Sweden is rated first in citizenship, a progressive ranking that factors in education and the climate for women and the LGBT community.
Algeria, a North African country facing multiple challenges ranging from international criticism of its record on civil liberties to tackling terrorism and high unemployment, finished at the bottom of the Best Countries rankings. Other countries that finished at the bottom of include Ukraine, Iran, Nigeria and Pakistan.
All of the low-ranking countries face common challenges of corruption, conflict and a poor quality of life for their citizens. Many are struggling with insurgent movements and terrorism within their borders.
Survey respondents see Asia as a key for the future. The top five-ranked countries in the Movers sub-ranking – India, Singapore, China, Thailand and Japan – come from the region (Asia). Singapore also is seen as the most forward-looking country, with Japan and South Korea also rated high.
“There really does seem to be some skepticism about some things that we (Americans) think we may do better than other people do, education being a prime one,” says Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer at US News and World Report. “Canada and the United Kingdom do better than the US in education. People don’t feel as comfortable about US education as perhaps we’ve been led to believe,” he noted.