Africa is more peaceful today than it was two or three decades ago. In 1998, for example, at least 14 countries in the mother continent were in the midst of war. That has changed dramatically over the years because of the continent’s efforts to maintain peace and enhance international support. Despite some parts of Africa still experiencing a few internal conflicts, many of the wars of the nineties have since ended. But what are the most peaceful countries in Africa in 2021?
According to the Global Peace Index, Mauritius is the most peaceful country in Africa, followed by Ghana and Botswana in that order. Furthermore, at least seven countries in Africa rank in the top 60 of the most peaceful countries in the world.
The most unsafe countries in Africa are South Sudan, followed by Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, the Central African Republic, and Sudan. The seven countries also happen to be on the list of only 13 of the least peaceful countries in the world.
What are the 10 most peaceful countries in Africa?
Below are the top 10 most peaceful countries in Africa 2021 as per the recent Global Peace Index.
- Sierra Leone
- The Gambia
- Equatorial Guinea
15 of the most peaceful countries in Africa
Most African countries have experienced high political instability and unrest, wars, corruption, and economic stagnation threatening peace. However, some of them have shown commendable levels of peace. Here is a list of the top 15 most peaceful countries in Africa 2021.
1. Mauritius (28)
For many years, Mauritius, a small island country in the Indian Ocean off of Madagascar, has ranked among the topmost peaceful countries in the world. But before attaining peace, the country experienced ethnic riots in the 1960s and 1990s.
At the turn of the millennium, the government of Mauritius set up many policies towards peace, including preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands and bridging religious and cultural divides. Today, Mauritius is the 28th most peaceful country globally and one of the few nations without ongoing domestic and international conflict.
2. Ghana (38)
Ghana ranks second as the most peaceful country in Africa and 38th in the world. Unlike many African nations, the country enjoys peace because it has maintained political stability for many years.
Although Ghana has many ethnic groups separated by religion, class, and politics, people coexist in peace and togetherness. Furthermore, Ghana is one of the few countries in Africa that abhors bloodshed and has never had a major civil war since independence.
3. Botswana (41)
Botswana ranks at number three in Africa and number 41 in the world among the most peaceful nations. A core factor that has made the country peaceful is stability. In most African nations, governance has been changing from a single party to multiparty systems. But Botswana has enjoyed multiparty democracy since independence.
Furthermore, the country has never experienced any prominent critical occasions to an imminent troublingly more violent path. Also, the country has not had drastic societal changes or disruption of the pre-existing colonial structures, as seen in many countries in Africa.
4. Sierra Leone (46)
Between 1991 and 2002, Sierra Leone was one of the most conflicted countries in the world. The country experienced a civil war that left tens of thousands of people dead.
It took the interventions of the British military and the United Nations to bring the country to peace. Today, Sierra Leone is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa, ranking at number four and number 46 globally.
After the war, the government of Sierra Leone embarked on a peacebuilding mission. It started by forming a truth and reconciliation commission, rehabilitating victims, rebuilding damaged villages, giving people access to opportunities, and stabilising the government and economy.
5. The Gambia (53)
The Gambia is the fifth most peaceful country in Africa and 53rd in the world. However, before 2017, it was among several countries in Africa to experience the most significant deterioration of an ongoing conflict.
The nation faced a constitutional crisis after the long-serving incumbent President Yahya Jammeh refused to step down despite losing in an election.
Despite the fragile socio-economic and political climate, The Gambia peacefully transitioned to a new political authority through democratic methods and has not experienced any forms of violence ever since.
6. Senegal (54)
Senegal is the sixth most peaceful country in Africa and 54th globally because of the coexistence of various religious groups. Apart from religion, it has a history of breeding global diplomatic, financial, and intellectual connections that have led to its stability. Senegal has also enjoyed a stable democracy and peaceful transitions to power.
Unlike some of its neighbouring countries, the country has never experienced military coups. Although the southern Casamance region has seen a low-level civil war for three decades, it has not been significant enough to disrupt peace in the country.
7. Tanzania (58)
Tanzania ranks at number seven in the list of peaceful countries in Africa and number 58 globally. It also ranks first as the most peaceful country in Eastern Africa. Tanzania fell into profound economic decline two decades after independence. Then, it descended from being a multiparty democracy to a single-party system.
Within a short time, Tanzania became a one-party autocracy. But despite its political atmosphere, Tanzania is a peaceful nation because it possesses a culture of civic peace. Race, religion, ethnicity, and politics do not provide any principal basis for conflict in Tanzania.
8. Malawi (59)
Malawi is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa and shares its borders with Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. It ranks at number eight in the list of the most peaceful countries in Africa and 59 globally. Although Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, it has enjoyed peaceful coexistence since independence. The nation has also enjoyed stable democracy after ending one-party rule in 1993.
9. Equatorial Guinea (62)
Equatorial Guinea is the ninth most peaceful country in Africa. It also ranks at number 62 among the most peaceful nations in the world. The country has only had two presidents since independence in 1968. The current president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, has been in power since August 1979.
He is the second-longest consecutively serving current non-royal national leader in the world. Despite being a peaceful country, Equatorial Guinea tends to have challenges with free and fair elections because it is a dominant-party state.
10. Namibia (65)
Namibia is the tenth most peaceful country in Africa and the 65th in the world. The country gained its independence in 1990 from South Africa. Since then, it has experienced political stability with no significant internal or external conflicts.
Although Namibia tends to have competitive elections, they are largely peaceful and orderly. Furthermore, Namibians have the right to peaceful assembly, something that the government tries to respect from time to time.
11. Eswatini (69)
Eswatini is a landlocked country bordering South Africa and Mozambique. It is one of the smallest countries in Africa, with 1.2 million inhabitants (World Bank). Eswatini, or The Kingdom of eSwatini and formerly known as Swaziland, is one of the friendliest countries with low crime rates in the Southern African region. The country ranks at number 11 in the list of the most peaceful countries in Africa and 69 globally.
12. Madagascar (70)
Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southern Africa. It is the twelfth most peaceful country in Africa and ranks at number 70 in the world. Madagascar has not always had political stability since it gained independence from France in 1960.
Despite the political instability and many political crises in the country, including coups, violent unrest and disputed elections, Madagascar has experienced peace for almost four decades. That is thanks to its domestic capabilities for peaceful conflict management and coexistence.
13. Zambia (71)
Zambia ranks at number 13 on the list of the most peaceful countries in Africa and 71 in the world. The peace enjoyed by the country has everything to do with political stability, especially after embracing multiparty democracy in 1990.
14. Liberia (76)
Liberia has had two civil wars, from 1989 to 1997 and 1999 to 2003. The conflict killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions. In 2003, warring parties signed the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement, marking the end of political conflict and the country’s transition to democracy.
Since then, Liberia has made remarkable peace gains. As of 2021, it is the fourteenth most peaceful nation in Africa and number 76 globally.
15. Morocco (79)
Morocco ranks at number 15 on the list of the most peaceful countries in Africa and 79 globally. It is a politically stable country ruled under a constitutional monarchy. During the Arab Spring of 2011, Morocco did not experience major civil protests.
Over the years, it has maintained peace by using reforms, social development, and modernisation. These three factors have made it an oasis of political stability and peace in a region marred by violence and conflicts.
The five most peaceful countries in Africa are Mauritius, Ghana, Botswana, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia. South Sudan is the least peaceful country, followed by Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, the Central African Republic, and Sudan. A country in Africa enjoys peace if it is free from ongoing domestic and international conflict.
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