KARACHI: Pakistan has been ranked 130th of the 142 countries on the 2015 Global Prosperity Index, falling three places from last year.
The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, launches the index every year, benchmarking countries across eight categories: economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom and social capital.
Pakistan’s performance has improved in four out of the eight sub-indices. Apart from a notable improvement in the economy sub-index, Pakistan fared comparatively well in governance, safety and security and personal freedom in 2015.
The best performance came in the economy sub-index, where Pakistan has been ranked 101st in 2015. The country ranked 107th, 107th and 115th in this category in 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively.
By avoiding a balance of payment crisis in 2013-14 after signing a three-year IMF loan programme of $6.64 billion, Pakistan strengthened its international reserves position and indirectly helped raise more funds from other global lenders and investors.
Declining oil prices in the international market also lowered the country’s import bill, thus giving the federal government more fiscal space. Record-low inflation also played an important role in improving public sentiment about the state of the economy. Low interest rates also helped boost consumer financing and the sale of cars and durable items.
No wonder 61.8 per cent Pakistanis expressed confidence in financial institutions as opposed to the global average of 59.9 per cent, according to the report. Similarly 57.6 per cent Pakistanis reported satisfaction with their living standards as opposed to the global average of 59.7. Around 34 per cent Pakistanis believe it was a good time to find a job in contrast with the worldwide average of 36.9.
The country’s lowest rank has come about in the safety and security sub-index, where it has been ranked 138th among the 142 states. However, it has actually improved one notch from last year when it was ranked 139th.
As opposed to Pakistan, India went up three ranks to 99th on the overall index. Pakistan fared worse than India in all eight sub-indices. Bangladesh (103), Sri Lanka (61), Iran (106) have all ranked higher than Pakistan in 2015. Afghanistan, however, is the second worst-performing country (141st) in the latest edition.
Norway, Switzerland and Denmark are at the top of the prosperity index while Syria (down 23 places), Tunisia (down 28 places) and Venezuela (down 16 places) are among the worst places to live.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2015.