Business 15.9.2016 07:19 am

SA drops 63 places to rank 105th in economic freedom

President Jacob Zuma. Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Lerato Maduna

President Jacob Zuma. Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Lerato Maduna

Data measured economic freedom by levels of personal choice, ability to enter markets and rule of law, among others.

South Africa has been ranked 105th out of 159 countries in terms of its economic freedom, slipping from the 93rd spot last year.

This was according to the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) 2016 Annual Report, released yesterday by the Free Market Fund (FMF) in conjunction with Canada’s Fraser Institute.

The 2016 report was based on data from 2014 – the most recent year of available comparable data – and measured economic freedom by levels of personal choice, ability to enter markets, security of privately owned property and rule of law.

READ MORE: Can South Africa avoid a downgrade in December?

To reach its conclusion, the study analysed the policies and institutions of 159 countries. “South Africa has steadily lost ground on the EFW rankings,” FMF director Temba Nolutshungu said.

“It is tragic that a country ranked 42nd in 2000, just outside the top 25% countries in the world, has fallen 63 places in the rankings in 15 years, to a point where it now ranks in the bottom 35%.

“Government policy must start taking the country toward economic freedom, high growth, a high demand for labour, prosperity and justice for all.”

Hong Kong again topped the index, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Georgia, Ireland, Mauritius, and United Arab Emirates. Australia and the UK tied for 10th.

“Democracy is the best safeguard of freedom,” said Fred McMahon, the Dr Michael A Walker research chair in economic freedom with the Fraser Institute.

“Economic freedom leads to prosperity and a higher quality of life, while the lowest-ranked countries are burdened by oppressive regimes that limit the freedom and opportunity of their citizens.”

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