Sierra Leone, the second most peaceful country in West Africa in 2015, has overtaken Ghana to become the most peaceful country in the sub-region, as measured by the Global Peace Index of the Institute for Economics and Peace – an international think tank based in Australia.

Both Ghana and Sierra Leone are in the second quintile of the most peaceful countries around the world but Ghana was ranked 46th of 162 countries in 2015, while Sierra Leone was ranked 50th.

From fifth in Africa in 2015, Ghana has been leapfrogged by Sierra Leone and is now the sixth most peaceful country on the continent and the second in West Africa.

Globally, Ghana is ranked 44th out of 163 countries assessed by the Institute for Economics and Peace, in the 2016 Peace Index.

Ghana’s assessment by the range of indicators used in the index, was largely unchanged except for a marginal improvement in political instability and military expenditure.

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Access to small arms and light weapons was Ghana’s worst indicator, rated at four out of five – same in the previous year – while ratings from assessment on internal and external conflict, displacement and death from conflicts, weapons imports, and the presence of nuclear and heavy weapons, were on the low .

Sierra Leone saw improvement in two indicators – political terror and external conflicts – and in its overall peace index from 1.827 to 1.805.

Ghana on the other hand, saw a very marginal deterioration from 1.807 in 2015, to 1.809.

Mauritius was the most peaceful on the continent, followed by Botswana, Madagascar, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia and Tanzania.

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The Institute for Peace Peace improved in 81 countries around the world but the gains were outweighed by deterioration in 79 others, driven largely by terrorism and political instability and the resulting dramatic increase of refugees and displaced persons.

“While the majority of terrorist activity is highly concentrated in five countries –Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan – the breadth of terrorism is spreading, with only 23 per cent of countries in the Index not experiencing a terrorist incident,” the Institute for Peace and Economics said.