Since 2014 the Social Progress Imperative has sought to measure the lived experience of people across the world at the global, subnational, and local levels. In early October of this year, we released our first subnational Social Progress Index (SPI) for the provinces of South Africa in conjunction with our partners at IQ Business.
South Africa scored 67.44 points on the 2019 Global Social Progress Index, ranking 73rd overall and barely making into the top half of the 149 countries measured. As a country in relation to its economic peers, South Africa over-performed on the dimension of Opportunity (63.03), performed as expected on the dimension of Foundations of Wellbeing (65.35), and underperformed Basic Human Needs (73.93). While the global index does provide specific and nuanced insight into the lived experience of South Africans at the country level, more detailed and local data is needed to provide policymakers with the best tools and research to inform their decisions. The SPI: Provinces South Africa provides the data and insight into social progress in all nine of South Africa’s provinces, which magnifies the detail of the global index.
“The Social Progress Index for the Provinces of South Africa – our first ever Index in Africa – represents a significant milestone for the global movement to accelerate social progress. As one of the world’s most significant emerging economies and a member of the G20, South Africa serves as a powerful example to peers both regionally and around the world.” – Michael Green, CEO and Co-founder of the Social Progress Imperative.
This new index indicates that Gauteng (SPI score of 68.01, ranked 1st) and the Western Cape (66.70, ranked 2nd) have the highest levels of social progress in the country by far. All other provinces have scores in the forties, with the Eastern Cape (43.81) and Northern Cape (41.86) at the bottom, ranking 8th and 9th respectively. The SPI: Provinces of South Africa also provides detailed data on specific components and indicators for each reason. For example, the Northern Cape performs well on Water and Sanitation but struggles with several others including Environmental Quality and Inclusiveness. This allows policymakers to make informed decisions based on the particular strengths and weaknesses of the provinces in South Africa.
Within the components of the SPI: Provinces of South Africa, we can also access indicator level data to provide very detailed and specific information within each dimension and component. For instance, with the component of Access to Basic Knowledge, the index takes into account adult literacy rates, children not at school due to a disability, matric pass rates, and the percentage of individuals who are still schooling between the ages of 18 and 29. The provinces of Limpopo and the Eastern Cape have the lowest scores on this component overall. Specifically, Limpopo has 24.36% of the 18 to 29-year-old population still in school, whereas the Western Cape (5.04%) has more successfully graduated learners from basic education. Policymakers can use this specific data to ensure that the provinces of South Africa can learn from each other, bolstering strengths and diminishing weaknesses when it comes to social progress.
In reference to the index, the CEO of IQ Business, Adam Craker stated: “It allows us to measure the progress that will enable better decision-making, especially when determining priorities and budgets which can help advance the lives of South Africans.”
By aggregating data on social and environmental outcomes at the provincial level, the SPI: Provinces of South Africa allows social progress to be better understood within the national context of the country, but both its inhabitants and leaders. This more holistic view of social progress in South Africa allows decisions to be made that go beyond GDP and traditional measures to truly capture the way people live in the country. We are excited to see how measuring what matters in people’s everyday lives can improve policymaking, direct resources towards areas of need highlighted by the index, and make a real impact. To learn more about the Social Progress Index for South Africa, visit: https://iqbusiness.net/spi.