VIDEO: Top 100 most peaceful countries in the world 2019

Peace, some people say, starts with a smile. But ask anyone who lives in one of the most peaceful countries in the world, and they will probably tell you that it is the other way around.

These most peaceful nations also enjoy lower interest rates, a stronger currency and higher foreign investment—not to mention better political stability and stronger correlation with the individual level of perceived happiness.

Sadly, the economic impact of violence is quantifiable too: on a global scale, in 2018 it amounted to $14.1 trillion in purchasing-power parity (PPP) terms, or to 11.2 % of the total global gross domestic product (if the sheer scale of these figures makes them a little hard to grasp, we are talking about $1,853 for each person on the planet).

These are the most significant takeaways from the 2019 Global Peace Index compiled by the international think-tank Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) covering 163 independent states and territories home to 99.7% of the world’s population.

The ranking, which is based on 23 indicators grouped into three criteria (societal safety and security; extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict; and degree of militarization), paints a sobering picture: while the level of global peacefulness improved very slightly for the first time in five years (by 0.09%, with 86 countries improving, and 76 recording deteriorations), the average has declined by 3.78% since 2008.

In the meantime, the number of refugees has rocketed to 1% of the global population, the highest level in modern history.

It certainly should not come as a surprise that many longstanding tensions and conflicts, especially in the Middle East and Africa, remain unresolved.

Last year, Syria, Afghanistan and the Central African Republic incurred the largest economic cost of violence, equivalent to 67%, 47% and 42% of their GDP respectively (for reference, in the 10 nations most affected by violence, the average cost was 35% of GDP, compared to 3.3% in the 10 least affected).

And while some improvement in the level of overall peacefulness was recorded in Europe, peacefulness in Russia, the Eurasia and Asia-Pacific region, in South and Central America, the Caribbean and the United States took a hit.

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