The world’s top five most globally connected countries in 2017 were the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates. Eight of the top 10 most connected countries are located in Europe, helping make it the world’s most connected region, in particular for trade and people flows. North America, the leader in capital and information flows, ranked second among world regions, followed by the Middle East and North Africa in third place.
In Sub Saharan Africa, the highest ranking country was Mauritius, which featured in 40thposition, while South Africa was named the highest ranking country on the African continent itself, with an overall ranking of 56thplace.
At the global level, the GCI shows, for example, that just about 20% of economic output around the world is exported, roughly 7% of phone call minutes (including calls over the internet) are international, and only 3% of people live outside the countries where they were born. The report also debunks the belief that distance is becoming irrelevant. Most countries are much more connected to their neighbors than to distant nations.
The GCI continues to reveal vast differences between levels of globalization in advanced versus emerging economies. Emerging economies trade almost as intensively as advanced economies, but advanced economies are more than three times as deeply integrated into international capital flows, five times for people flows, and almost nine times with respect to information flows.
Additionally, while leaders from large emerging markets have become major supporters of globalization on the world stage, emerging economies’ progress catching up in terms of global connectedness has stalled.
Mozambique was named as one of the five countries where international flows exceed expectations the most. This is positive news for the region, because deeper global connectedness can help accelerate countries’ economic growth.
One cause for optimism regarding further growth potential for Sub Saharan Africa, is the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), signed by 49 countries in March 2018. According to a study by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, full implementation of the AfCFTA could double intra-African trade and boost the whole continent’s global connectedness.