Cape Town – South Africa’s quality of nationality scored 33% out of a possible 100% and is rated a nationality of only medium quality, according to the Henley & Partners – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index (QNI).
It was launched in London on Wednesday.
Ranked 87th on the index, SA falls in the second half of the over 150 states represented. However, the country’s nationality is up three positions since the 2015 index.
It is also ranked fourth in sub-Sahara Africa, just one position behind that of Cape Verde, but considerably lower down the rankings than those of Mauritius and the Seychelles, which ranked 54th and 55th respectively, and are positioned in first and second place regionally.
Scoring 82.7% and consistently ranking highest for the last five years, Germany’s quality of nationality remains first in the world, according to the QNI.
Following closely behind Germany, France and Denmark share second place on the index with a score of 82.4%, and Iceland ranks third overall at 81.3%. The UK also ranked in the extremely high category, just missing out on the Top 10 in 12th position with a score of 79.2%.
The US, ranked 29th on the QNI with a score of 68.8%, is still higher than the EU mean of 63%.
The global mean in 2016 was 39.32%, with Afghanistan taking last position on the index with a score of 14.6%.
Opportunities and aspirations
“Nationality plays a significant role in determining our opportunities and aspirations, and the QNI allows us to analyse this objectively,” says Nigel Barnes, managing partner at global citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners in South Africa.
He points out that, when it comes to both travel and settlement freedom, South Africa is lagging behind in its rankings.
“With visa-free access to just 98 countries, SA’s nationality is positioned 74th in the travel freedom ranking, much lower than, for example, those of Mauritius or the Seychelles, which grant access to 130 and 137 destinations respectively,” he explained.
Similarly, on settlement freedom, the South African nationality is ranked comparatively low. With full access to only one state – post-Soviet Georgia – SA is positioned 45th on the freedom of settlement ranking.
Barnes explains that the key premise of the index is to compare the relative worth of nationalities, as opposed to, simply, countries.
“In the majority of circumstances, our nationality plays an important role in establishing a highly irrational ceiling for our opportunities and aspirations,” says Barnes.
He regards the QNI a resource for financially independent individuals who wish to acquire the benefits of dual citizenship.
Where the 2016 overall ranking of the QNI is led by European nationalities, in contrast, the vast majority of African countries are still ranked in the bottom half of all participating states. However, scoring substantially higher than their sub-Saharan neighbours and just missing a position in the QNI Top 50, Mauritius and the Seychelles are the exception.
“Generally, the sub-Saharan African nationalities suffer from weaknesses in both their internal and external values,” says Barnes.
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