South Africa's property rights ranking falls to 37th place - now behind Rwanda

Image: 123RF/ Alexander Raths

South Africa has dropped to 37th overall and second in Africa - behind Rwanda - on a global index‚ which measures the strength of physical property rights‚ intellectual property rights‚ and the legal and political environments that contain them.

The "dramatic" decline came after the government announced a move towards land expropriation without compensation.

In total‚ 125 countries are ranked‚ with Finland‚ New Zealand and Switzerland scoring the best while countries like Haiti and Yemen are at the bottom.

The annual International Property Rights Index is compiled by the US-based Property Rights Alliance‚ in cooperation with 113 think tanks across the world including the Free Market Foundation in South Africa.

"South Africa's score declined by 0.65 from 7‚00 in 2017 to 6‚35 in 2018. This is the largest decline by any country measured in the index‚" the Free Market Foundation said in a statement on Wednesday‚ after the release of the 2018 results.

Property rights are a key indicator of economic success and political stability‚ the index report states.

Economist Hernando de Soto commented: “Weak property rights systems not only blind economies from realizing the immense hidden capital of their entrepreneurs‚ but they withhold them from other benefits as evidenced through the powerful correlations in this year’s index: human freedom‚ economic liberty‚ perception of corruption‚ civic activism‚ and even the ability to be connected to the internet‚ to name a few.”

The full report can be found here.

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