Ten countries with the highest economic impact of violence

We’ve quantified the costs associated with war and violence around the world, finding the countries most affected.

The countries most affected by violence carry high economic costs as a result.

According to the latest Global Peace Index, the ten countries most affected by violence carry an average economic cost equivalent to 35 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP), compared to 3.3 per cent in the ten countries least affected by violence.

The global economic impact of violence is the expenditure and economic effects related to containing, preventing and dealing with the consequences of violence. The estimate includes the direct and indirect costs of violence, as well as an economic multiplier, which calculates the additional economic activity that would have accrued if the direct costs of violence had been avoided.

Direct costs include the cost of violence to the victim, the perpetrator, and the government. These include direct expenditures, such as the cost of policing, military and medical expenses. Indirect costs accrue after the violent event, and include indirect economic losses, physical and physiological trauma to the victim and lost productivity.

Libya is the only country to drop out of the ten worst affected countries from last year and is now ranked 11th., an improvement of one place from last year. The conflict in Libya receded in 2017 leading to a decline in violence and a slight improvement in its level of peace. The recent escalation in violence during 2019, may affect Libya’s position next year.

10. El Salvador
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 22%
Global Peace Index: 113

9. Colombia
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 25%
Global Peace Index: 143

8. Somalia
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 26%
Global Peace Index: 158

7. Cyprus
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 30%
Global Peace Index: 63

6. Venezuela
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 30%
Global Peace Index: 144

5. Iraq
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 32%
Global Peace Index: 159

4. North Korea
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 34%
Global Peace Index Rank: 149

3. Central African Republic
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 42%
Global Peace Index Rank: 157

2. Afghanistan
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 47%
Global Peace Index Rank: 163 out of 163 countries

1. Syria
Economic Cost of Violence (%GDP): 67%
Global Peace Index Rank: 162 out of 163 countries

Conflict-affected countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Central African Republic, Somalia and Colombia suffer from higher costs in the form of deaths and injuries from conflict deaths, terrorism, losses from refugees and internally displaced peoples, and GDP losses.

El Salvador and Venezuela make the top ten as they both bare significant costs associated with higher levels of homicide and violent crime. El Salvador has the highest economic cost from homicide as a percentage of GDP in the world.

Cyprus is an anomaly in the ten countries most affected by the impact of violence because the economic losses of the displaced portion of its population are substantial.

North Korea is also exceptional as the majority of its economic costs are related to the high levels of military expenditure relative to its GDP.