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Sunday, August 5, 2012

05. Most: Ghana
Not only was it the first sub-Saharan country that Europe traded with, but Ghana is also the first African nation to achieve independence. Yet the road after that was very rocky with coups, corruption and a period of military rule. A constitution and multi-party government established in 1992 has held firm, today making it one of the most stable countries in Africa. Not as much can be said for the country's chaotic neighbors. As such it ranks high in access to weapons and has some problems with violent crime. Nonetheless, Ghana is helping stabilise the region.
05. Least: Nigeria To understand Nigeria's challenges, you have to appreciate its diversity. There are over 500 documented languages in Africa's most populated country - and lots of ethnic tension. While led by a democratic government since 1999, years of civil war have left Nigeria with many armed groups fighting for their own territories. Most notable are the Islamic factions in the north, such as the terrorist group Boko Haram. These have enforced harsh Islamic laws, causing many to be displaced to the south of the country. Corruption around Nigeria's oil reserves is also a big problem, as is the crippling poverty many people live in - even those in oil-rich areas.
04. Most: Namibia
Since gaining independence from South Africa, this home to the world's oldest desert has been stable. There were some skirmishes with rebels in the east of the country during the early Nineties. But Namibia remains a highly functional democratic society, though it has been dominated by the SWAPO party since independence.
Strong-arm tactics by security forces, long detentions and ongoing land restitution cause a bit of tension, while some minority groups have felt victimised by the government. Still, Namibia is not doing too badly at all.
04. Least: Central African Republic
Criminality, homicides and access to weapons are just three of this small country's major problems, followed by a bevy of other issues that keep the Central African Republic from moving forward. Since independence in 1960, the CAR has experienced numerous coups, military riots and armed rebellions. This has left the country awash with illegal weapons and corruption. In 2009 a peace deal was struck and a unity government was formed, but now the country has to deal with an insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)
. Being chronically underdeveloped, regional help has been keeping the CAR from falling apart. But the region is also part of its problem - two of the worst 5 African countries are its neighbors.
03. Most: Mozambique
Despite only emerging from a bruising civil war in 1992, Mozambique has made great strides into becoming a peaceful society. Widespread poverty and the easy access to wartime weapons have caused some problems with crime and violent demonstrations around political disputes. But Mozambique's government has been consistently stable. Floods and droughts in recent years have put pressure on what is a poor country, yet its people have shown a resilience towards making this east coast tropical paradise a true jewel in the African crown.

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