Many African countries have scored well in the Good Country Index, thanks to their progressive refugee policies.

Introduced in 2014 by Simon Anholt, the Good Country Index ranks one hundred and sixty-three countries across seven categories. The Good Country Index uses data to determine the amount that countries contribute to the common good of humanity and the planet. As of 2017, the Netherlands rank first with Afghanistan ranking last.




The Good Country Index aims to prompt a discussion about how countries can balance their duty to their own citizens with a responsibility to the world. Importantly, the index has revealed how countries like Kenya and Uganda are leading the way in providing support for refugees.  Not only are they taking in a large numbers of people but both countries have made it possible for many asylum seekers to live in the community, rather than expensive immigration detention, while their refugee status is determined.


The areas assessed by the Good Country Index include global contribution to science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, planet and climate, prosperity and equality, and health and wellbeing. Within each category there are several subsections that outline how that category is determined.


Taken into consideration for ‘World Order’ is charity giving, number of refugees hosted, number of refugees generated, birth rate, and number of UN treaties signed.


The subcategory of number of refugees hosted is a deciding variable in boosting a nation’s Good Country rating. This subsection is determined by comparing the intake of refugees against the size of the country. Countries that have taken on large numbers of refugees in recent years have seen their Good Country rating rise, even if other areas have dropped.


For Kenya, the number of refugees accepted has seen the nation jump around thirty-seven places in four years. In 2011, Kenya ranked ninety-second overall and fifty-seventh in World Order. The past few years has shown the impact the World Order contribution can have on the overall ranked ‘Goodness’ of a country. Kenya has made the incredible shift up to sixty-third overall, and importantly forty-forth in World Order.


Coming in at rank seventy-seven last year, Uganda still shines in World Order, sitting at number sixty-three. Despite seeming to fall in average rank, countries like Kenya and Uganda have shown outstanding leadership in terms of refugee intake. Among the top eighty countries, most of which are considered developed, the only countries that match Kenya and Uganda’s contribution to refugee intake are Turkey, Lebanon, South Africa and Jordan. This illustrates the significant role that African and Middle Eastern countries have in helping refugees globally.   In each of the nations mentioned, alternatives to immigration detention are available for some or all of the refugees and asylum seekers hosted. See some of the alternatives here.


If this trend continues, African countries will continue to rise quickly through the ranks of the index.