Ghana drops in recent Global Peace Index ranking

Sierra Leone has surpassed Ghana as the most peaceful nation in West Africa. This is according to the most recent Global Peace Index, which was released on June 28, 2023. 

The Global Peace Index (GPI) 2023, compiled every year by Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), reveals that over the last 15 years, the world has become less peaceful with the average level of country peacefulness deteriorating by 0.42 percent. This is also the ninth consecutive year that global peacefulness has deteriorated. 

The Global Peace Index

The Global Peace Index (GPI) measures a country’s level of “Negative Peace” using three domains of peacefulness: safety and security domain, ongoing conflict domain, and militarisation domain. 

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which collects the GPI, is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank dedicated to refocusing the world’s attention on peace as a positive, attainable, and tangible indicator of human well-being and progress. 

In the midst of these worrying remarks in the Global Peace Index, Ghana is considered one of the most peaceful countries in Africa.   

Ghana is ranked the 51st most peaceful country in the world out of 163 countries, and the 4th in Africa. Ahead of Ghana are Mauritius, Botswana, and Sierra Leone, ranking 23rd, 42nd, and 47th respectively. 

In the Sub-Saharan Region, Mali recorded the largest deterioration in peacefulness. This was also the fourth-largest deterioration of any country on the 2023 GPI. The deterioration in its overall score was driven by an increase in the intensity of internal conflict. Over the past year, the conflict between the Malian government and jihadist groups has grown more intense, with clashes also occurring between other ethnic militias. 

Below is a tabular representation of how Ghana has fared in the Global Peace Index over the last 10 years.

How has Ghana fared in Global Peace Index in the last decade?

Year  Index   Global Ranking  Regional Ranking (Africa)
2023 1.799 51st  4th 
2022 1.759 40th  2nd 
2021 1.715 38th  2nd 
2020 1.776 43rd  3rd 
2019 1.796 44th  4th 
2018 1.772 41st  5th 
2017 1.793 43rd  5th 
2016 1.809 44th  6th 
2015  1.840 54th  6th
2014 1.902 61st  7th

Source: Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)

Ghana’s Peace Outlook

Although the Index did not outline any specific reasons for the decline in Ghana’s ranking, the National Peace Council has begun discussions with the security services and political leaders to address the decreasing rate of peace in the country. This was after the ranking showed how Ghana dropped two places. 

For the West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP), Ghana’s drop is due to the recent chieftaincy conflicts in the country.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Peace and Development Analysis in Ghana attributes conflicts in the country to several factors like accelerated growth, deepening inequality and rising frustration with the state, youth unemployment and vigilantism,  as well as weak and incoherent governance architecture.

Other factors such as chieftaincy and sub-national power dynamics, weak decentralization systems, and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons also contribute to the conflicts in Ghana. 

There have been recent clashes between sections of the Gonja and Mamprusi communities, along a contentious border between the Soo and Wasipe traditional areas in the North East and Savanna Regions. As of June 2023, at least, seven people had been killed and several others injured in this renewed clash.

The decades-long Bawku conflict between Mamprusi and Kusasi ethnic groups has also been of concern to the government and other stakeholders. Many people have been killed, several others have been injured and properties are being destroyed as the clashes rage on.

Earlier in March 2023, some military personnel stormed Ashaiman to brutalise civilians after a military officer, Trooper Sherrif Imoro, was allegedly stabbed in the neighbourhood. 

Also in the Greater Accra Region, there has been a turf war between the communities around the Songhor Lagoon in Ada and Electrochem Ghana Limited since the government leased the lagoon to a private company in 2020. Some of the clashes have resulted in a blood bath.

The National Peace Council raised concerns about some inciting comments by political parties in Ghana and the security agencies to address recent increases in inciteful comments by politicians.

Key Findings of the 2023 Global Peace Index

  • Iceland has been ranked the most peaceful country in the world since 2008. 
  • Afghanistan on the other hand is ranked the least peaceful country in the world for the eighth consecutive year, followed by Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
  • Europe is the most peaceful region in the world.
  • Even though the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remained the world’s least peaceful region, it, together with North America, saw the largest improvement in peace in the 2023 index. 
  • North America’s improvement was driven by improvements in Canada. Canada’s overall peacefulness improved as a result of the domains of Ongoing Conflicts and Safety and Security. Over the past year, Canada has seen improvements in the Political Terror Scale, terrorism impact, incarceration rate, and perceptions of criminality.
  • Qatar has been the most peaceful country in the MENA region since 2008.
  • Russia and the Eurasia region saw the largest regional deterioration. 
  • The Russia-Ukraine war impacted global peacefulness greatly with Ukraine and Russia having the largest and fifth largest deteriorations in peacefulness respectively. Haiti, Mali, and Israel were the other countries with the largest deterioration. 
  • Libya showed the largest level of improvement in peacefulness for the second successive year. 
  • Drones have also played a major role in many conflicts, with military and commercial drones utilized in large numbers in Ukraine, Ethiopia, and Myanmar. The total number of drone attacks increased by 40.8 percent from 2022, with the number of different groups using drones increasing by 24 percent.

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