A comparison between the most and least peaceful countries by the Institute for Economic & Peace shows the economic burden violence generates for societies.
The average economic cost of violence in the ten most conflict-affected countries in the world is equivalent to 41 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP).
In stark comparison, the average economic cost of violence in the ten most peaceful countries amounts to just 3.9 per cent of their GDP.
The ten countries with the highest economic cost of violence have high levels of armed conflict, large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs), high levels of interpersonal violence or large militaries — all factors that generate a large economic toll.
Afghanistan and Syria rank as the least peaceful countries globally and suffer the highest economic cost of violence as measured against their GDP.
High-intensity, conflict-affected countries, such as Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia and the Central African Republic, suffer higher costs from conflict deaths, terrorism and losses from refugees and IDPs. Similarly, Iraq and Sudan — countries affected by medium-intensity conflict — suffer similar conflict costs, in particular, losses from refugees and IDPs.
Venezuela is affected by high institutional and social fragility, and in terms of GDP, suffered one of the largest percentage costs from homicide globally, equivalent to 10% of its GDP. In addition, Venezuela incurred substantial losses from refugees and IDPs. In 2019, there were 3.6 million Venezuelans displaced abroad.
In comparison, the ten most peaceful countries incur a significantly lower cost from violence. the average economic cost of the ten most peaceful countries amounts to 3.9% of their GDP. This is significantly smaller than the global country average of 8.5% of GDP.
The 2021 Economic Value of Peace report shows that the global economic impact of violence is estimated to be $14.4 trillion. In addition to causing suffering, interpersonal violence, social unrest and collective violence hinders productivity and economic activity, destabilises institutions and reduces business confidence. Violence disrupts the economy, resulting in adverse and ongoing negative effects even after conflict subsides.