This is the finding of a research study conducted by Afrasia Bank and global wealth research firm New World Wealth into migration patterns of the continent’s wealthiest people.
How women are generally treated in society is one of the biggest motivating factors that high-net-worth individuals take into consideration when making decisions on where to settle and research has shown that the higher the level of safety in a country, the greater that country’s long-term growth potential tends to be.
“In our view, countries with a good level of safety for women will outperform those with low levels going forward,” Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth says. “In fact, the safety of women is arguably the best way to judge a country’s long-term economic prospects.”
In terms of the research, safety refers to being protected from crimes such as rape, assault, slavery and trafficking, and doesn’t refer to issues of gender equality, equal rights or equal opportunity.
South Africa, while experiencing a host of rape and sexual assault cases, lies somewhere in the middle in terms of the safety of women.
“South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa that has reasonably reliable crime data. However, when it comes to crimes such as rape, most go unreported. For every one reported, about three are not reported. We would estimate SA to be mid-range, so somewhere in the 70-80 range out of 195,” Amoils says.
Out of these 195 countries, just 58 have “reasonably reliable” crime stats.
Sudan, Libya, Mali and Somalia have been flagged as the least safe for women on the continent, with Nigeria also highlighted for becoming increasingly unsafe for women.
“There are issues with women safety, especially in northern Nigeria. Nigeria is one of the 30 biggest economies worldwide by GDP and among those 30 countries, we estimate that it is the least safe for women,” says Amoils.
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He’s cautious to add, however, that other economies in the top 30 that don’t release reliable crime statistics, like Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, could potentially be worse for women than Nigeria.
Worryingly, the research reveals that women can be arrested for just reporting rape in over 40 countries around the world.
Globally, Australia – with its stringent immigration policy and an efficient police service – has been rated the safest country in the world for women, followed by Malta, Iceland, New Zealand and Canada.