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Ghana: Africa's most peaceful country

afrol News, 31 May - The finding of the first study that ranks the peacefulness and drivers that create and sustain the peace in 121 countries in the world was today launched in Washington, the United States of America.

The Global Peace Index finding was published a week before world’s richest countries gather for the G8 summit in Germany to discuss issues of global concern.

It ranks Norway as the most peaceful country in the world. The Scandinavian country is followed by New Zealand and Denmark.

Ghana leads Africa’s peace ranking, though it is placed 40th position on the ladder. Madagascar and Botswana followed the West African country.

While Iraq is proven as the most insecure country in the world, Nigeria that is placed 117th position emerges lied on the bottom of Africa’s peace ranking. The country ranks behind Cote d’Ivoire and Angola. South Africa ranks 99th position on the ranking.

The rankings have shown that there are significant differences in peacefulness among the G8 countries. The 5th placed Japan topped the G8 countries while Russia ranked last with 118th position.

Interestingly, it was revealed that countries that had gone through turbulent times of the twentieth century such as Ireland and Germany have emerged as peace leaders in the 21st century.

The Economic Intelligence Unit measured countries' peacefulness based on wide range of indicators - 24 in all - including ease of access to "weapons of minor destruction" (guns, small explosives), military expenditure, local corruption, and the level of respect for human rights, said a statement.

After compiling the index, the researchers then examined it for patterns in order to identify the “drivers” that make for peaceful societies. Researchers found that peaceful countries often shared high levels of democracy and transparency of government, education and material well-being.

However, the United States possesses many of these characteristics its ranking was brought down as a result of its engagement in warfare and external conflict, as well as high levels of incarceration and homicide. The U.S.'s rank also suffered due to the large share of military expenditure from its GDP, attributed to its status as one of the world's military-diplomatic powers.

The index is the brainchild of an Australian IT entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Killelea.

"The objective of the Global Peace Index was to go beyond a crude measure of wars by systematically exploring the texture of peace," explained Global Peace Index President, Mr. Clyde McConaghy. "The Index provides a quantitative measure of peacefulness that is comparable over time, and we hope it will inspire and influence world leaders and governments to further action."

The Index has already won the support of an influential and distinguished group of supporters, many of whom are dedicated to promoting global peace, including former U.S. President James Carter, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson and Harriet Fulbright of the Fulbright Centre.

"This Index stands to broaden our very definition of what peace is, as well as how to achieve it," said Fulbright. "Peace isn't just the absence of war; it's the absence of violence."

"Countries need to become more peaceful to solve the major challenges that the world faces - from climate change to overpopulation and sustainability," said Mr. McConaghy.

"We hope that the findings of the Global Peace Index will act as a catalyst for increased funding to study peace and for governments and industry to take policy action," he added

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