LAHORE: The London-based Legatum Institute has issued its latest “Prosperity Index” with Pakistan coming in at 132 out of 142 economies in rankings that aim to reflect overall wealth, health, and happiness.
The index is based on comprehensive surveys in 142 countries on the status of economy, entrepreneurship and opportunities, governance, education, personal freedom, safety and security and social capital.
It is the fifth year in a row that Norway has placed first, with Switzerland in second place, Canada in third, Sweden in fourth, and New Zealand rounding out the top five while Chad came in at the bottom at 142. Among South Asian countries, Sri Lanka is on top with a global ranking of 60 followed by Bangladesh at 102, India at 106 and Pakistan at 132. Market analyst Benish Toor said that the index provides direction to leaders around the world to make improvements in fields that make a nation prosperous, such as inclusive political and economic institutions, democracy, good governance, rule of law and better healthcare.
“The index has also proved that a higher per capita income does not ensure that a nation is prosperous,” said Toor, referring to the United States’ ranking at 11 on the index despite its per capita income being higher than the 10 countries ranked above.
She said the impact of democracy on prosperity is evident from the fact that 27 of the 30 most prosperous countries listed in the index are democracies while it is reverse in the 30 countries that are at the bottom of the index. The Legatum Poverty Index states that India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are three countries united by geography, divided by history, and on very different paths to prosperity. At first glance the comparison may seem unusual. India is a giant, encompassing 3.2 million square kilometers and with a total GDP of $1.8 trillion, compared to Bangladesh, which covers only 147,000 square kilometers and has a GDP of $116 billion. Pakistan sits between the two, covering 796,000 square kilometers with a total GDP of $231 billion.
Interestingly, Bangladesh has overtaken India on the Prosperity Index for the first time despite India’s high growth this year. The country is now ranked at 103 (and rising), while India at 106 has fallen down the prosperity index rankings consistently over the last five years, the report said.
Over the past five years, India has slid down the rankings in seven of the eight sub-indices and in overall prosperity, while Bangladesh’s performance over this period is the complete opposite—rising in seven sub-indices and overall prosperity.
While comparing Bangladesh and India, it is also worth reflecting on Pakistan. In many respects Pakistan is distinct from Bangladesh and India. Pakistan (132) is ranked nearly 30 places lower than India on the Prosperity Index and faces distinct security challenges that affect “all aspects of life…and impede development”.
As a result, Pakistan’s rank in the Prosperity Index has remained relatively unchanged over the last five years, showing neither a big increase nor a decline. Given this, close comparisons with India and Bangladesh – two countries heading in opposite directions – could be misleading, and as such this report does not compare Pakistan with its two neighbours.
The prosperity index shows that among the eight indicators used to evaluate prosperity Pakistan is ranked 107 in economy, India is at 62, Bangladesh at 77 and Sri Lanka is ranked 74. In entrepreneurship and opportunity, Pakistan is ranked 100, India 104, Bangladesh 106 and Sri Lanka 88. When it comes to governance, Pakistan is at 123, India at 54, Bangladesh at 88 and Sri Lanka at 48. The fourth indicator is education where Pakistan ranks 124, India 97, Bangladesh 104 and Sri Lanka is at 44.
In healthcare, Pakistan is placed at 110 out of 142 countries while India is at 109, Bangladesh at 108 and Sri Lanka way above at 76. In safety and security issues, Pakistan is ranked 132, India 120, Bangladesh 109 and Sri Lanka 124. In personal freedom, Pakistan comes in at 135, India at 100, Bangladesh at 77 and Sri Lanka 60. In social capital (social cohesion and engagement, and community and family networks), Pakistan comes in at 130, India at 133, Bangladesh at 132 and Sri Lanka at 35.
Social sector analyst Dr Kishwar Dhingra said Pakistan’s poor ranking in governance speaks all as the other three countries of the region are 35 to 75 places above. Similarly, she added, Pakistan ranking in personal freedom is way behind its peers. “The region ranks very low in social capital where, baring Sri Lanka, South Asian countries are ranked among the bottom 12.
Source: The NEWS