Which are the Best Countries in Africa?

Social and Moral Index
The Best Countries
CountryScore
1Mauritius71.0
2Seychelles68.4
3Cape Verde62.1
4Tunisia61.8
5S. Africa59.2
6Morocco58.9
7Libya57.5
8Namibia56.3
9Algeria55.8
10Botswana55.6
World Average58.9
Africa Average46.2
Data Source

There are 61 locations that fall within this category. By adding up all the known populations that fall within these locations, and summing their physical land areas, we can calculate population densities. Some islands and territories can end up being counted twice depending on how they are classified and divided up politically, but, mostly such errors involve only small populations. So, some data on this collection of countries in total:


1. Social and Moral Development Index and Basic Demographics

The Social and Moral Development Index is a formulaic aggregation of many factors. It concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" by Vexen Crabtree (2013).

CountrySocial & Moral
Development Index
1Higher
is better
Life
Expectancy
Higher
is better
Gross
National
Income PPHigher
is richer
UN's Human
Development
IndexHigher
is better
PopulationLand Areakm2People
Per km2Higher
is worse
1Mauritius71.073.5yrs$13 3000.74 1 313 803 2 030647
2Seychelles68.473.8yrs$22 6150.81 87 169 460189
3Cape Verde62.174.3yrs$3 6090.59 505 335 4 030125
4Tunisia61.874.7yrs$8 1030.71 10 704 948 155 36069
5S. Africa59.253.4yrs$9 5940.63 50 738 2551 213 09042
6Morocco58.972.4yrs$4 3840.59 32 598 536 446 30073
7Libya57.575.0yrs$13 7650.77 6 469 4971 759 5404
8Namibia56.362.6yrs$5 9730.61 2 364 433 823 2903
9Algeria55.873.4yrs$7 4180.71 36 485 8282 381 74015
10Botswana55.653.0yrs$13 1020.63 2 053 237 566 7304
11Swaziland54.548.9yrs$5 1040.54 1 220 408 17 20071
12Lesotho54.448.7yrs$1 8790.46 2 216 850 30 36073
13Egypt53.573.5yrs$5 4010.66 83 958 369 995 45084
14Sao Tome & Principe53.264.9yrs$1 8640.52 171 878 960179
15Madagascar51.466.9yrs$ 8280.48 21 928 518 581 54038
16Ghana50.464.6yrs$1 6840.56 25 545 939 227 540112
17Kenya49.357.7yrs$1 5410.52 42 749 418 569 14075
18Gabon49.163.1yrs$12 5210.68 1 563 873 257 6706
19Burkina Faso47.055.9yrs$1 2020.34 17 481 984 273 60064
20Togo46.257.5yrs$ 9280.46 6 283 092 54 390116
21Sierra Leone45.348.1yrs$ 8810.36 6 126 450 71 62086
22Liberia45.157.3yrs$ 4800.39 4 244 684 96 32044
23Gambia45.058.8yrs$1 7310.44 1 824 777 10 120180
24Comoros44.961.5yrs$ 9860.43 773 344 1 861416
25Angola44.851.5yrs$4 8120.51 20 162 5171 246 70016
26Senegal44.259.6yrs$1 6530.47 13 107 945 192 53068
27Congo, (Brazzaville)44.157.8yrs$2 9340.53 4 233 063 341 50012
28Mozambique43.950.7yrs$ 9060.33 24 475 186 786 38031
29Guinea43.654.5yrs$ 9410.36 10 480 710 245 72043
30Rwanda43.255.7yrs$1 1470.43 11 271 786 24 670457
31Burundi43.150.9yrs$ 5440.35 8 749 387 25 680341
32Djibouti42.958.3yrs$2 3500.44 922 708 23 18040
33Zambia42.849.4yrs$1 3580.45 13 883 577 743 39019
34Benin42.756.5yrs$1 4390.44 9 351 838 112 76083
35Eritrea42.562.0yrs$ 5310.35 5 580 862 101 00055
36Tanzania42.358.9yrs$1 3830.48 47 656 367 885 80054
37Zimbabwe41.852.7yrs$ 4240.40 13 013 678 386 85034
38Cameroon41.752.1yrs$2 1140.50 20 468 943 472 71043
39Uganda41.454.5yrs$1 1680.46 35 620 977 199 810178
40Nigeria40.752.3yrs$2 1020.47 166 629 383 910 770183
41Ivory Coast40.656.0yrs$1 5930.43 20 594 615 318 00065
42Malawi40.254.8yrs$ 7740.42 15 882 815 94 280168
43Ethiopia40.059.7yrs$1 0170.40 86 538 5341 000 00087
44Equatorial Guinea39.751.4yrs$21 7150.55 740 471 28 05026
45Mali38.351.9yrs$ 8530.34 16 318 8971 220 19013
46Guinea-Bissau37.548.6yrs$1 0420.36 1 579 632 28 12056
47Niger36.455.1yrs$ 7010.30 16 644 3391 266 70013
48Chad35.149.9yrs$1 2580.34 11 830 5731 259 2009
49Central African Rep.35.049.1yrs$ 7220.35 4 575 586 622 9807
50Mauritania33.858.9yrs$2 1740.47 3 622 9611 030 7004
51Congo, DR33.148.7yrs$ 3190.30 69 575 3942 267 05031
52Somalia29.751.5yrs 9 797 445 627 34016
53Sudan29.661.8yrs$1 8480.41 35 048 4602 376 00015
World Average58.970.0yrs$12 7030.67 25.74m 536 25448
Africa Average46.258.3yrs$3 8210.49 19.79m 554 30936
Data Source

Not showing due to lack of data: Ascension Islands, Mayotte, Réunion, Somaliland, South Sudan, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Western Sahara. This page only shows places where the database has enough data to be able to come to reasonable conclusions about each place. The main focus is on nation states, but, some distinct external territories may be listed if the database has enough information about them. Averages are calculated from as many valid data points as possible, meaning, that some territories and locations that are not listed above may still be used to calculate some of the average values. Some calculations only use Independent State data - hover the cursor over values to see hints.

Links:

2. Human Rights and Moral Development

CountrySocial & Moral
Development Index
1Higher
is better
Gender
Inequality2Lower
is better
Human Rights
Treaties3Higher
is better
Press
Freedom4Higher
is better
LGBT
Equality
5Higher
is better
1Mauritius71.00.381473.5-40
2Seychelles68.41670.8-130
3Cape Verde62.11585.720
4Tunisia61.80.261860.1-50
5S. Africa59.20.462075.4241
6Morocco58.90.441761.0-50
7Libya57.50.221562.1-70
8Namibia56.30.452087.5-10
9Algeria55.80.391863.5-40
10Botswana55.60.491477.1-50
11Swaziland54.50.531153.2-30
12Lesotho54.40.531971.6-10
13Egypt53.50.591651.3-20
14Sao Tome & Principe53.2710
15Madagascar51.41471.410
16Ghana50.40.571682.7-30
17Kenya49.30.611472.2-160
18Gabon49.10.491671.320
19Burkina Faso47.00.612076.310
20Togo46.20.571671.6-50
21Sierra Leone45.30.641573.7-195
22Liberia45.10.661570.1-10
23Gambia45.00.591354.9-160
24Comoros44.9975.5-70
25Angola44.81262.2-10
26Senegal44.20.542173.8-70
27Congo, (Brazzaville)44.10.611371.810
28Mozambique43.90.581572.020
29Guinea43.61771.5-20
30Rwanda43.20.411944.515
31Burundi43.10.481662.0-20
32Djibouti42.91332.6-20
33Zambia42.80.621372.1-140
34Benin42.70.621671.7-50
35Eritrea42.5815.2-50
36Tanzania42.30.561572.7-220
37Zimbabwe41.80.541161.9-30
38Cameroon41.70.631465.2-70
39Uganda41.40.521968.3-220
40Nigeria40.71665.9-220
41Ivory Coast40.60.631370.2-10
42Malawi40.20.571371.8-220
43Ethiopia40.01260.4-30
44Equatorial Guinea39.71332.810
45Mali38.30.652170.0-10
46Guinea-Bissau37.5871.1-15
47Niger36.40.711876.9-10
48Chad35.11565.10
49Central African Rep.35.00.651273.420
50Mauritania33.80.641373.2-220
51Congo, DR33.10.681658.310
52Somalia29.7826.4-30
53Sudan29.60.601429.9-520
World Average58.90.3815.167.5-7
Africa Average46.20.5514.864.9-58

3. Religion and Beliefs

Disbelief
in God
(2004)6
Religiosity
(2009)7
Jews
(2010)8
Christians
(2010)8
Muslims
(2010)8
Hindus
(2010)8
Buddhists
(2010)8
Folk
Religion
(2010)8
Unaffiliated
(2010)8
Algeria0%95%0.1%0.2%97.9%0.1%0.1%0.1%1.8%
Angola2%0.1%90.5%0.2%0.1%0.1%4.2%5.1%
Ascension Islands
Benin0%0.1%53.0%23.8%0.1%0.1%18.1%5.0%
Botswana0%0.1%72.1%0.4%0.3%0.1%6.0%20.6%
Burkina Faso0%0.1%22.5%61.6%0.1%0.1%15.4%0.4%
Burundi0%98%0.1%91.5%2.8%0.1%0.1%5.7%0.1%
Cameroon0%96%0.1%70.3%18.3%0.1%0.1%3.3%5.3%
Cape Verde0.1%89.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%1.5%9.1%
Central African Rep.2%0.1%89.5%8.5%0.1%0.1%1.0%1.0%
Chad0%95%0.1%40.6%55.3%0.1%0.1%1.4%2.5%
Comoros97%0.1%0.5%98.3%0.1%0.1%1.0%0.1%
Congo, (Brazzaville)3%0.1%85.9%1.2%0.1%0.1%2.8%9.0%
Congo, DR94%0.1%95.8%1.5%0.1%0.1%0.7%1.8%
Djibouti98%0.2%2.3%96.9%0.1%0.1%0.3%0.2%
Egypt0%97%0.1%5.1%94.9%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
Equatorial Guinea0.1%88.7%4.0%0.1%0.1%1.7%5.0%
Eritrea0.1%62.9%36.6%0.1%0.1%0.4%0.1%
Ethiopia0%0.1%62.8%34.6%0.1%0.1%2.6%0.1%
Gabon0.1%76.5%11.2%0.1%0.1%6.0%5.6%
Gambia0%0.1%4.5%95.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
Ghana0%95%0.1%74.9%15.8%0.1%0.1%4.9%4.2%
Guinea0%0.1%10.9%84.4%0.1%0.1%2.7%1.8%
Guinea-Bissau0.1%19.7%45.1%0.1%0.1%30.9%4.3%
Ivory Coast0%88%0.1%44.1%37.5%0.1%0.1%10.2%8.0%
Kenya0%94%0.1%84.8%9.7%0.1%0.1%1.7%2.5%
Lesotho0.1%96.8%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%3.1%
Liberia0%0.1%85.9%12.0%0.1%0.1%0.5%1.4%
Libya0%0.1%2.7%96.6%0.1%0.3%0.1%0.2%
Madagascar0%0.1%85.3%3.0%0.1%0.1%4.5%6.9%
Malawi0%99%0.1%82.7%13.0%0.1%0.1%1.7%2.5%
Mali0%95%0.1%3.2%92.4%0.1%0.1%1.6%2.7%
Mauritania0%98%0.1%0.3%99.0%0.1%0.1%0.5%0.1%
Mauritius0.1%25.3%16.7%56.4%0.1%0.7%0.6%
Mayotte0.1%0.7%98.6%0.1%0.1%0.5%0.2%
Morocco0%97%0.1%0.1%99.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
Mozambique5%0.1%56.7%18.0%0.1%0.1%7.4%17.9%
Namibia4%0.1%97.5%0.3%0.1%0.1%0.2%1.9%
Niger0%99.5%0.1%0.8%98.4%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.7%
Nigeria0%96%0.1%49.3%48.8%0.1%0.1%1.4%0.4%
Réunion0.1%87.6%4.2%4.5%0.2%0.4%2.0%
Rwanda0%95%0.1%93.4%1.8%0.1%0.1%1.0%3.6%
Sao Tome & Principe0.1%82.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%2.9%12.6%
Senegal0%96%0.1%3.6%96.4%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
Seychelles0.1%94.0%1.1%2.1%0.1%0.1%2.1%
Sierra Leone0%0.1%20.9%78.0%0.1%0.1%0.8%0.1%
Somalia0%0.1%0.1%99.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
Somaliland98%
S. Africa1%85%0.1%81.2%1.7%1.1%0.2%0.4%14.9%
S. Sudan0.1%60.5%6.2%0.1%0.1%32.9%0.5%
St Helena0.1%96.5%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%3.3%
Sudan93%0.1%5.4%90.7%0.1%0.1%2.8%1.0%
Swaziland0.1%88.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%1.0%10.1%
Tanzania0%89%0.1%61.4%35.2%0.1%0.1%1.8%1.4%
Togo0%0.1%43.7%14.0%0.1%0.1%35.6%6.2%
Tristan da Cunha
Tunisia0%93%0.1%0.2%99.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.2%
Uganda0%93%0.1%86.7%11.5%0.3%0.1%0.9%0.5%
Western Sahara0.1%0.2%99.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.4%
Zambia0%95%0.1%97.6%0.5%0.1%0.1%0.3%0.5%
Zimbabwe4%88%0.1%87.0%0.9%0.1%0.1%3.8%7.9%
World Averages9.9%75.1%0.5%60.6%22.4%2.0%3.5%2.7%7.9%
Africa Averages0.5%94.7%0.1%52.0%39.2%1.2%0.1%3.9%3.4%
Data Source
Links:

Some notes from John R. Hinnells:

There are as many African religions as peoples or 'tribes', that is, many hundreds. [...] African religions belonged to pre-literate societies. This has affected ... our knowledge. [...] Non-literate religions change at least as much as literate ones, but changes go unrecorded, hence the mistaken view that African religions are unchanging. Their historical developments may be partially plotted through analysis of layers within current ritual an myth [and] historical documentation. [...] There has been some sharp reaction against [Christian texts on African religion that make a monotheistic God central to African beliefs]. There are certainly some peoples with either no conception of a supreme God or one so limited as to be effectively otiose (Achloli, Lango, Lovedu, Nyakyusa, Swazi, Zande; Jok). These are significant exceptions. [...] More characteristic is a pattern of intermediaries - ancestors or nature gods - to which most ritual and prayer are immediately directed.

"The Penguin Dictionary of Religions" by John R. Hinnells (1997)9

Ancestor Worship:.

In most although not all African religions (among exceptions are the Masai, Nuer, and Tiv) ancestors play a major role. [... They] are seen as elders, named and approached in much the same way as the most senior of living elders; yet they have additional mystical powers. [...] In more God-conscious societies ancestors may be approached simply as intermediaries to God, but where ritual, petition and sacrifice are regularly directed to ancestral spirits with little or no reference to God, it seems linguistically perverse to deny that this is worship - a word itself admitting a range of meaning. [...] In some west African societies (for example, Benin and the Ibo) ancestor veneration is combined with belief in their reincarnation in descendants.

"The Penguin Dictionary of Religions" by John R. Hinnells (1997)10

4. The Rise of Christianity in Africa 11

According to religion demographers David Barett and Todd Johnson, Christians numbered 10 million in 1900 and 30 million in 1945, but then jumped to 144 million by 1970 and further to 411 million by 2005. Africa's most dramatic Christian growth, in other words, occurred after decolonization. [...] The most important driver and beneficiary of Protestantism's demographic expansion across the global South has clearly been evangelicalism - particularly, in recent years, in its Pentecostal expressions.

Timothy Samuel Shah (2008)12 p. x.

Much of this rise has not been in the spirit of a healthy competition of ideas, wherein the religion that best makes sense grows in numbers. Organized and wealthy Christian evangelists have used their power and resources to systematically undermine and diminish African religion. Anthropologist Terence O. Ranger writes that "evangelicals of all kinds 'demonize' African religion and seek to expel it both from the private and the public sphere"13, and quotes Mutna (1999):

The modern African state, right from its inception, has relentlessly engaged in a campaign of the marginalization, at best, or eradication, at worst, of African religion... The destruction and delegitimation of African religion have been actively effected at the urging or with the collusion and for the benefit of, either or both Islam and Christianity... [T]he conscious, willful and planned displacement of African religion goes beyond and legitimate bounds of religious advocacy and violates the human rights of Africans:... it is in fact a repudiation... of the humanity of African culture.

Mutna (1999), 170.

With wealth comes power and influence, over both religion and government. In several countries "freedom of religion" has been enshrined into law, not to protect African religion, but to ensure the easy spread of evangelical churches - and Muslim outreach churches do exactly the same in countries where they have a foothold. "Mutua, an academic lawyer, shows that the constitutions of independent African states - Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia, the Congo, etc. - guarantee 'liberal generic protection of religious freedoms.' But these are defined in such a way that they refer exclusively to Islam and Christianity"13.

As such, Timothy S. Shah, senior research scholar at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University, warns about "numerous instances" of Christian communities supporting any party, no matter how vile if it happens to further the interests of their own community.

It is also true that the contributors document numerous instances in which evangelical leaders and their constituencies have been all too willing to offer their fervent prayers and praise for dictators they deem 'godly' - a designation dictators usually earn by their adoption of biblical rhetoric and sponsorship of religious functions, particularly the ubiquitous evangelical crusade. In so doing, some evangelicals reproduce and indeed reinforce the corrupt clientelist politics rife in the region.

Timothy Samuel Shah (2008)12 p. xii-xiii.

By Vexen Crabtree 2013 Nov 06
(Last Modified: 2015 Jun 27)
http://www.humantruth.info/africa.html
Parent page: Compare International Statistics by Region and Continent

Social Media

References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Crabtree, Vexen
(2013) "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" (2013). Accessed 2015 Jun 27.

Gallup
(2009) Religiosity. gallup.com/poll/142727/.... The survey question was "Is religion an important part of your daily life?" and results are charted for those who said "yes". 1000 adults were polled in each of 114 countries.

Hinnells, John R.. Currently professor of theology at Liverpool Hope University.
(1997, Ed.) The Penguin Dictionary of Religions. References to this book simply state the title of the entry used. First published 1984. Published by Penguin Books, London, UK

Lynn, Harvey & Nyborg
(2009) Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations. Richard Lynn, John Harvey and Helmuth Nyborg article "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations" in Intelligence (2009 Jan/Feb) vol. 37 issue 1 pages 11-15. Online at www.sciencedirect.com, accessed 2009 Sep 15.

Mutua, Makau W.
(1999) "Returning to My Roots: African 'Religions' and the State" in Proselytization and Communal Self-Determination in Africa, ed. Abdullahi An-Na'im, 169-190. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books. Terence O. Ranger (2008) p30.

Pew Forum. Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
(2012) The Global Religious Landscape: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Major Religious Groups as of 2010. Published 2012 Dec 18, accessed online 2013 May 01.

Terence O. Ranger
(2008, Ed.) Evangelical Christianity And Democracy in Africa. Published by Oxford University Press, UK. Part of the series of books on Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in the Global South (series editor Timothy Samuel Shah).

United Nations
(2013) Human Development Report. This edition had the theme of The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. Published on the United Nation's HDR website at hdr.undp.org/.../hdr2013/ (accessed throughout 2013). UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.

Footnotes

  1. The Social and Moral Index by Vexen Crabtree (As of 2015 Jun 27).^^
  2. United Nations Human Development Report (UN HDR) 2013. Table 4 (Gender Inequality Index).^
  3. Nominal Commitment to Human Rights report published by UCL, London, UK, at ucl.ac.uk/spp/research/research-projects/nchr accessed 2011 Apr 30.^
  4. Reporters Without Borders Report "2013 World Press Freedom Index: Dashed hopes after spring" at fr.rsf.org/.../classement_2013_gb-bd.pdf accessed 2013 Feb.^
  5. LGBT sources:^
  6. Zuckerman, P. (2007). Atheism: contemporary numbers and patterns. In M.Martin (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations" by Lynn et al. (2009).^
  7. Gallup (2009).^
  8. Pew Forum (2011) - data for 2010.^
  9. Hinnells (1997) African Religions. Added to this page on 2015 Jun 26.^
  10. Hinnells (1997) Ancestor Worship (African). Added to this page on 2015 Jun 27.^
  11. Added to this page on 2015 Jun 27.^
  12. Timothy Samuel Shah, Boston University, USA. Senior research scholar at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University; adjunct senior fellow for religion and foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves as a principal researcher for Religion in Global Politics research project at Harvard University. Quotes from his preface to Terence O. Ranger (2008).^
  13. Terence (2008) p30. Added to this page on 2015 Jun 27.^

© 2015 Vexen Crabtree. All rights reserved.