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South Africa Ranks 77th In Economic Freedom Worldwide


According to the Heritage Foundation 2018 index, out of 180 world countries in economic freedom, South Africa ranks 77th and 4th place in the African region with an improved score of 0.7 as compared to 2017.

The Index of Economic Freedom, released on an annual basis by the Heritage Foundation, provides insight into the extent to which governments enable an open and unrestricted economic environment for their citizens and businesses to operate in.

“Notable improvements for South Africa in 2018 include the improvement in the area of investment freedom and judicial effectiveness. The latter is significant coming in a year where the administration of President Ramaphosa made an investment a key focal area of its work,” Dr. Petrus de Kock, General Manager, Research for Brand South Africa.

He also said that the index shows some good insight into the South African ecosystem and as the country continues to fight the challenges they need to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

De Kock also added, “We are pleased with the upward trend of the nation’s competitive performance, particularly since 2018 saw a declining global competitiveness of the economy, and South Africa also slipped into a technical recession during the first half of the year which it moved out of after the economy saw a 2.2% rebound in the third quarter. It is, therefore, promising that South Africa, according to the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, is ‘moderately free’ in terms of its economic activity.

Economic freedom is about much more than a business environment where business flourishes, it has a far-reaching impact on other aspects such as human development and the power of choice. Consequently, it remains imperative for South Africa to continue safeguarding openness to its market, government size, and rule of law.”

South Africa’s ranking improvement is caused by the advancement of property rights from 2017 to 2018 with significant improvement in other areas as well.

  • Property right – from 67.6 to 67.7
  • Judicial effectiveness – from 59.7 to 65.9
  • Fiscal health – from 70.7 to 75.3
  • Business freedom – from 62.0 to 65.1
  • Labor freedom – from 58.9 to 60.1
  • Investment freedom – from 40.0 to 50.0

Notable is that South Africa ranks higher than two European nations

  • Italy – 79/180
  • Greece – 115/180

Out of the 180 economies measured by the index in 2018 – 102 scored better, while the economic freedom scores of 75 got worse. South Africa is one of the 102 countries that improved its economic freedom score.



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