Which Countries are Most Similar to South Africa?

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Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based objective way to measure this. The index weights equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. In addition each aspect was roughly balanced evenly between quantity/percentage and quality/type. See this post for a full explanation: https://objectivelists.home.blog/2020/05/30/country-similarity-index/

Similar to other English-speaking countries in Africa, especially Namibia and Botswana

4 of the top 5 countries were colonies of Great Britain, with the exception being Namibia, which was a German colony, which was later ruled by South Africa. They all have English as one of their official languages. In addition all of these countries used the South African Rand as currency at one time or another.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to South Africa

  1. Namibia had been ruled by South Africa from the end of World War I to 1990, so it is no surprise that the countries are so similar. Although Namibia has its own currency, South African Rand is also legal tender. Its official language is English, but it also has the most speakers of Afrikaans after South Africa. However, Namibia is drier and more of as desert than South Africa.
  2. Botswana is another former British colony in Southern Africa. There were plans for Botswana to be incorporated into South Africa, until Tswana leaders resisted them. Like South Africa, it is one of the wealthiest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its government’s structure also mirrors South Africa as it has a president elected by the country’s parliament.
  3. Eswatini is located to the east of South Africa. It gained its independence from Britain in 1968, but it still has English as one of its official languages. Like Namibia, it has its own currency, but also uses the Rand. However, Eswatini is poorer and less developed than South Africa. In addition, it is an absolute monarchy.
  4. Zimbabwe is another former British colony similar to South Africa. However, many white settlers fled the country after Mugabe gained power. It is quite different politically from South Africa, since its government is more unstable. In addition, it is also poorer and has less developed infrastructure. 
  5. Lesotho is the largest country completely surrounded by another country, however it is only fifth on this list. Lesotho is much poorer and more rural than South Africa. In fact, 86% of its population are agricultural workers. In addition, unlike South Africa, which almost exclusively uses coal for electricity, Lesotho is mostly powered by hydroelectricity.
  6. Zambia, 7. Kenya, 8. Ghana, 9. Cape Verde, 10. Malawi

Top 10 Places Least Similar to South Africa

  1. North Korea has obvious political differences from South Africa. North Korea has very strict gun control and drug laws, in contrast to South Africa. In addition, while college is free in North Korea, in South Africa many students must pay fees even for primary school.
  2. Kuwait is located in the Arabian Desert between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It is a wealthy, developed, and highly urbanized country. Although South Africa and Kuwait have dry climates, Kuwait is more of a desert.
  3. Japan‘s demographics and culture are very different from South Africa. However both countries drive on the left and are mountainous.
  4. Qatar is another small Arabian country on this list. It is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, connected to Saudi Arabia. It has one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world in contrast to South Africa.
  5. Bahrain is similar to Qatar and Kuwait. It is a small densely populated island in the Persian Gulf, which is highly developed.
  6. South Korea, 7. Taiwan, 8. United Arab Emirates, 9. Cambodia, 10. Bhutan

    Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to South Africa

Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.


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