Afghan boy delighted to learn his country again ranks at top.
BobCarriesOn.com has released its annual report of the world’s top 193 countries, based on alphabetical order. Afghanistan remains No. 1, a position it has held since 1967, when the state of Aden, on the Arabian Peninsula, became part of Yemen.
Afghanistan’s fifty consecutive years at the top of the list is impressive. Its longevity has been surpassed only by Abyssinia, which was No. 1, alphabetically, from 1137 to 1889, when it became part of modern Ethiopia.
The No. 1 standing has benefitted Afghanistan in many ways. It has helped bolster the country’s stature, for example, among Westerners who are interested in poppy growing, goat grabbing (which is a national sport), and war-zone safety practices. It has also helped offset other rankings, such as: The Legatum Prosperity Index, 148th; World Happiness Report, 154th; Life Expectancy at birth 162nd; GDP Per Capita 175th; and Ease of doing business 181st.
Among other countries, the United States was unable, once again, to rank higher than 185th. It finished ahead of only Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. And in continental standings, the U.S. fared even worse, finishing 23rd out of the top 23 North American countries.
Looking ahead to next year, Afghanistan could find its top spot in jeopardy. Abkhazia, a tiny slice of the former Soviet Union, has been successful at getting only a handful of nations to recognize its independence from the country of Georgia. However, one of those nations is Russia. So, Abkhazia could soon find that its breakaway aspirations — and hopes of becoming No. 1 — have the full support of the U.S. State Department.
Top finishers by continent, based on alphabetic order (world standings in parentheses)
Afghanistan (1); Armenia (8); Azerbaijan (11).
Azerbaijan has more mud volcanoes than any other country, and also the largest mud volcano. There is little evidence, however, that either fact has influenced the Azerbaijanis’ attitude toward mud wrestling, either as a sport or a political tactic.
Albania (2); Andorra (4); Austria (10).
Andorra has one of the world’s highest life expectancies and, perhaps not coincidentally, has not been to war in more than a thousand years.
Algeria (3); Angola (5); Benin (19).
Benin is home to the largest remaining population of lions in West Africa. It also ranks 162nd in life expectancy. The two seem to be unrelated.
Antigua and Barbuda (6); Bahamas (12); Barbados (15).
The world’s first recorded sale of rum took place on Barbados, which is still a major producer. Despite that, Barbados has a literacy rate of 99%.
Argentina (7); Bolivia (21); Brazil (24)
The Yungas Road, leading from Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, has been called the world’s most dangerous. It has been suggested that one solution to the vehicular carnage — for people dressed as zebras to help children cross the streets — does not go far enough.
The once proud, boastful Australians now rank only 19th worldwide for beer consumption per capita.
BobCarriesOn.com Editor in Chief Bob Payne in on the board of the Know YourABC’s Foundation.