The ranking of the most powerful countries on earth for 2020 came with little surprises. For one, Switzerland remained the leader of the world’s pack, while Egypt retained its frontline position in Africa. Speaking of small shockers, Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, did not appear on the ranking.
One may think that with the various titles sat on by Nigeria, the West African country would never miss such a ranking. The world’s most populous black nation, Africa’s best national brand and the continent’s most attractive magnet for venture capital. Still, Nigeria managed to miss what could be the most significant ranking in the world.
Ever since the rankings started in 2016, Nigeria has always been represented – however at the bottom side. In 2016, the country was ranked 57th most powerful country, out of 60 nations that were considered. In the 2017 edition, it occupied the 77th position in a list of 80. In 2018, it went up one place to collect the 76th spot among 80 nations.
The ranking was published by US News and World Report. It examines the degree of political, economic and military power of a nation, as well as its external influences. As part of an annual Best Countries survey, the findings were collated based on responses from 21,000 people.
The 2020 Best Countries report and rankings are based on how global perceptions define countries in terms of a number of qualitative characteristics, impressions that have the potential to drive trade, travel and investment and directly affect national economies. The report covers perceptions of 73 nations.
Parameters such as entrepreneurship, cultural influence, citizenship, openness for business, military power, and quality of life, among others, were included. The study and model used to score and rank countries were developed by BAV Group and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Nigeria, in terms of this ranking, has never had a loud voice when it comes to national power. Judging from its bottom-rank position in the last few years, there is little to no surprise the country finally disappeared from the list. Yes, it was among the most powerful countries in Africa, but now it’s no longer part of the mix.
WeeTracker talked to the compilers of the report to ascertain why Nigeria got kicked out. Deidre McPhillips, Senior Data Editor at U.S News, in response, emphasizes the criteria for a country to be ranked at all. Referring to the methodology of the report, she said: “In order for a country to be considered in the Best Countries rankings, it must meet key economic and human rights metrics”.
Speaking of methodology, the 73 countries in the recent rankings had to meet 4 criteria in the most recent year. for which data are available specific to each benchmark. First, the countries had to be in the top 100 countries in terms of GDP in 2017, off World Bank’s data. Second, they had to be among the top 100 countries in terms of FDI inflows in 2017, based on World Bank data.
World Bank data was also called on to show the top 100 countries of international tourism receipts in 2017. Lastly, the countries had to be among the top 150 countries in the U.N.’s Human Development Index, based on the 2017 report. The nations that did not reach all four of these benchmarks and those that did not report these statistics were not included.
According to McPhillips, Nigeria was dropped off the rankings this year because it also fell out of the top 150 countries in the United Nations’ Human Development Index. The 2019 Human Development Index Ranking actually put the black country in the 158th position. In the 2017 edition of the index, which the ranking considers, Nigeria was in 157th place.
Nigeria may have made the cut for the first three criteria, but fell short in the United Nations’ listing. The report says: “This year, three countries – Austria, Bolivia and Kenya – were added back into the analysis, while 10 other countries did not make the cut: Angola, Belgium, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania and Uruguay”.
Meanwhile, Ghana, who was not included in the 2016 edition, has been performing fairly well. It took 68th place in 2017, 71st in 2018, 69th in 2019, and finally 67th in 2020 – the country’s best so far. So, is Ghana replacing Nigeria in the league of the most powerful countries in Africa? No.
McPhillips offered that Nigeria – like other countries – can rejoin the rankings in any years it meets all of the benchmarks. “Ghana was also ranked in each edition of the Best Countries rankings except for the inaugural 2016 edition,” she says. “Thus, it would not be accurate to say that one country is replacing the other”.
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