South Africa is the 123rd most peaceful country out of 163 countries and districts measured in the 2017 Global Peace Index

South Africa remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

This is according to the 2017 Global Peace Index by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which shows that levels of peace across the world have improved slightly when compared to 2016.

According to this report, South Africa ranks as the 123rd most peaceful country in the world, out of the 163 countries and districts measured.

South Africa was ranked 126th in 2016 and has slightly improved its placement on the index.

BusinessTech reports that the country performs very poorly in six indicators, with a perception of high levels of criminality, easy access to weapons, relatively high levels of political terror and high levels of violent demonstrations.

However, the two stand-out marks against South Africa are in terms of violent crime and homicide, which are among the worst in the world.

In the societal safety and security category, SA ranks within the bottom 20 in the world, while the murder rate makes the country the eighth most violent, with a rate of 33 per 1000 000 people.

Iraq is seen as the least safe country just below Syria, while Iceland is ranked as the safest country in the world.

The report detailed that the levels of violence and insecurity also have a massive impact on the economy, with IEP measuring the cost of violence in South Africa at 22,3% of GDP, or $144,2 billion (R1,92 trillion) – roughly $2 582 (R34 500) per person.

This is the 16th highest cost of all countries in the world. The report also shows that Switzerland has the lowest cost of violence (1,5% of GDP), while Syria carries the highest cost (66,9% of GDP).

The index shows that on balance, things across the world have improved, with 93 countries becoming more peaceful by its metrics, and 68 becoming less peaceful.

The IEP points out that global peace levels have deteriorated over the past 10 years, with a 408% rise in battle deaths, a 247% increase in deaths from terrorism and the number of refugees doubling in the past decade.

On the positive side, 72% of countries have reduced their armed forces, 67% have seen a drop in their murder rate (including South Africa); and 65% have reduced military spending as a percentage of GDP.

The top 10 most peaceful countries in the world, according to the report, are Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland and Japan.

Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Sudan, Central Africa Republic, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria are the least peaceful countries, as indicated by the report.