Human Freedom Index Ethiopia the second least free country in Africa


Global freedom has continued its decline since 2008 according to the fifth annual Human Freedom Index (HFI), the most comprehensive measure of freedom ever created for a large number of countries around the globe.
The report-copublished by the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute in Canada, and the Liberales Institut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Germany-measures a broad array of personal, civil and economic freedoms around the world and the extent to which basic rights are protected or violated.
New Zealand and Switzerland are the two freest countries on this year’s index, while Venezuela and Syria rank last. Ethiopia ranked 153 out of the total of 162 countries. The ranking is based on 76 distinct indicators of personal, civil, and economic freedom, using data from 2008 to 2017, the most recent year for which sufficient data are available.
The HFI captures the degree to which people are free to enjoy important rights such as freedom of speech, religion, association, and assembly, and also measures freedom of movement, women’s freedoms, crime and violence, and legal discrimination against same-sex relationships.
The authors–Ian Vasquez, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, and Tanja Porčnik, a Cato Institute adjunct scholar and Fraser Institute senior fellow–also measure the rule of law, which they consider “an essential condition of freedom that protects the individual from coercion by others.”
The freest country in Africa is Mauritius (ranked 50th globally), followed by Cape Verde (52), Botswana (60), Seychelles (62), and South Africa (64).
The least free country in Africa is Sudan (159), preceded by Ethiopia (153), Democratic Republic of the Congo (152), Angola (151), and Central African Republic (150).
Some 61 countries increased their overall freedom ratings from 2008 to 2017, while 79 countries decreased their freedom ratings. Around 16 percent of the world’s population lives in the top quartile of nations in the index, while 35 percent lives in the bottom quartile of countries that have the lowest levels of freedom.
The authors also find that of the 12 major categories that make up the index, all but five have seen some deterioration. Religion, Identity and Relationships, and Rule of Law saw the largest decreases since 2008, while Sound Money saw the largest improvement.
Countries that have high personal freedom tend to exhibit high economic freedom. The freest countries in the world by quartile enjoy much greater income per person ($40,171) compared to those in the least-free quartile ($15,721). In addition, the authors find a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.
“The evidence shows the importance of freedom in all its dimensions and how economic and personal freedom go hand in hand,” noted Vasquez.
“With the rise of populism, nationalism, and hybrid forms of authoritarianism, people’s rights and freedoms are under assault in many corners of the globe. Because of their inherent value and their contribution to well-being, those freedoms deserve the strongest defense,” said Porčnik.