Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Switzerland Remained The Top Most Positive Country In 2016

  • Switzerland is named World’s Most Positive Country for two consecutive years.
  • Italy made it to the overall list of positive countries for the first time ever, and Canada made it back to the list after two years of absence. 
  • Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, except North America, all have new regional winners this year.
  • In 2016, Africans liked the North Americans, Asians liked the South Americans, South Americans liked the Africans and both North Americans and Europeans endorsed themselves.
  • Global citizens became less hopeful regarding an immediate positive future for the world.

Switzerland clinched the title of the World’s Most Positive Country for 2016 for the second time in a row, according to the annual global index published by Daily Positive (D+), a unique online media organization from Australia for positive news. 

The annual list of top ten most positive countries is compiled based on a positivity index comprised of a global expert panel rating, a D+ journalists rating, a global web poll and the number of positive news entries in 2016 on the D+ website.

The top 10 World’s Most Positive Countries for 2016 along with respective ranking points are as follows:

Country Name
Total Points
New Zealand
United States of America

Apart from this overall list of 10 most positive countries, for the second time, D+ also produced a list of regional positive countries from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America. The regional winners were selected based on the same criteria used to select the overall winners but from a specific region.

Switzerland continued to amaze the world with sustainable developments and innovative initiatives. Some of the notable initiatives from 2016 are the inauguration of the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel under the Swiss Alps, breaking the world record for acceleration by a new Swiss electric car, and the historic completion of round-the-world journey by Solar Impulse 2, becoming the first airplane to circle the globe powered only by the sun. Among many Swiss sporting heroes from 2016 perhaps Stan Wawrinka, with his US Open Grand Slam tennis win, topped the list. Switzerland remained committed to help alleviate global poverty with a huge financial commitment to international organizations like the IMF. Switzerland continued to showcase the country's ability to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy.

China secured the second spot in the list of most positive countries, and it is the best ever ranking position for China in the history of the list. In 2016 the Chinese space program reached to a new height. Among many success stories, China successfully launched the world’s first quantum satellite, and launched its second space lab Tiangong-2 into orbit, paving the way for a permanent space station the country plans to build around 2022. China launched its longest manned space mission, sending two astronauts into orbit to spend a month aboard the space laboratory Tiangong-2 that is part of China's future permanent space station. Chinese sports heroes shone at the Rio Olympic and beyond. In a sign of great environmental commitment, China's wind power capacity overtook the European Union (EU) total for the first time, according to the official statistics published by Global Wind Energy Council.

Sweden swapped position with China in the list of most positive countries in 2016 compared with last year. In 2016, Sweden was named Europe’s most innovative country by European Commission, and ranked second at the Global Innovation Index because of their capacities and results for innovation. With such titles in possession, Swedish researchers continued to shine on the international stage. Sweden continued to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world, and clinched the top spot on the Girls’ Opportunity Index, a global index that provides a snapshot of the situation of girls in respective countries according to their opportunity to control their own lives and to fulfill their potential.

Australia moved up one spot in the list into the fourth position in 2016 compared with last year. Australian medical research had a great year and that helped boost Australia’s position in the ranking. Australian researchers built a world-first robotic surgical system, named HeroSurg, that gives surgeons the sense of touch while they drive a robot to conduct keyhole surgery via a computer. Australian surgeons performed Australian-first surgery on a baby diagnosed with spina bifida while it was still in the womb. Apart from these accomplishments, Australian researchers collaborated in a wide range of research fields with the international community. Despite apparent slow going, some of the biggest Australian businesses came back strong this year. For example, Australian flag carrier Qantas airline not only made profit after years of loss, but also was voted world's safest airline for the third year running.

Canada has been experiencing a new vibe in internal-external policy development with a fresh federal administration in charge. Perhaps that positive vibe put Canada back into the list of most positive countries after two years of absence. This Ice Hockey mad nation kept the top world titles to themselves. The Canadian economy is showing signs of growth despite early-year glitches. That in turn kept the recent national unemployment rate steady or lower compared with the first half of the year. Canadian researchers continued to innovate with projects such as ReFlex – a unique bendable smartphone.

New Zealand ranked as the sixth most positive county in the world. It is the best ever ranking position for New Zealand in the sixth year of running this award series. In 2016, Rugby, Cricket and Golf produced some notable positive stories for New Zealand in the sporting world. Foreigners who voted for New Zealand in our global poll were impressed by its hospitality, strong identity and openness.  New Zealand was ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

Singapore moved up two spots in the ranking compared with last year. Singapore's education system from school to university remained top class. The 2016 Olympics brought the best ever Olympic moment for the country when swimmer Joseph Isaac Schooling won the country's first-ever Olympic gold medal with his 100m butterfly swimming victory. Singapore stayed innovative with initiatives like introduction of the world's first self-driving taxi service trial.

Germany slipped down two spots in the list of most positive countries in 2016 compared with last year. However, Germany is still seen as being highly responsible in keeping the European Union together. As part of its Green Economy and Green Energy advancements, Germany announced a plan to ban fuel vehicles by 2030. "In 2016, Germany had a robust economy that invested heavily in renewable energy (wind and solar), continued to introduce innovation in the auto industries and in general remained one of the strongest competitive economies of the world", says one of our expert panel members. German tennis star Angelique Kerber established herself as a new tennis power house by winning the 2016 Australian Open and US Open grand slams.

Despite keeping the title of the Land of Unbridled Opportunity, the United States of America is in the ninth position in 2016. The US demonstrated positive leadership by being a relatively early signatory of the Paris agreement in order to deal with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. Continuing with the theme of the environment, the United States of America created the largest marine reserve on the planet, by expanding the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii to 582,578 square miles. The 2016 Rio Olympics will remain as one of the most memorable in recent history for the US, not only for securing the highest number of medals but also for the numerous inspiring stories that the athletes produced.

This is the first time Italy secured a spot in the list of most positive countries. In our global poll, Italy was highly praised for its welcoming attitude towards refugees. While speaking of Italy, delicious foods need to be mentioned, and on that note, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy was named the Best Restaurant in the World for 2016. Italian researchers have shone on the global stage and as recognition to that Italian scientist Fabiola Gianotti became the first female Director-General at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva.

D+ Most Positive Regional Countries 2016

Africa: Kenya
In 2016 Kenya carried the flag for the African region despite recent economic and political turmoil. Kenya ranked seventh in the world on how effectively children can access the justice system to defend their rights, and was the only country outside of Europe to make it to the top ten. Kenya became the first African team to win a World Sevens Series rugby tournament outside Africa by winning the 2016 Singapore Sevens tournament. The government of Kenya recently announced a significant commitment to restore 5.1 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2030.

Asia: Kuwait
Kuwait was the regional winner from Asia. Kuwait managed to maintain the highest level of positive diplomatic relationships with its neighbors and beyond. Kuwait discovered a new oil and gas field in the Western part of the country that is expected to provide a significant boost to the country's resource reserves. The Amir of Kuwait was recognized as the Humanitarian Leader by the United Nations for his support for the UN's humanitarian works.

Europe: Iceland
Iceland was named as the most positive regional country from Europe. Iceland ranked as the top most peaceful nation in the world in 2016. Their inspiring and uniting football team made history by playing their first ever match at a major tournament at the Euro 2016, and by making it through to their first ever quarter finals of the Euro football tournament.

North America: Cuba
Cuba is the only winner in 2016 which retained its regional title from last year. In 2016 Cuba further improved bilateral relationships with big economies such as the United States of America and the European Union. World leaders, from all over the world, the USA, China, Japan, among others, visited Cuba with a message of collaborative positive future. Further sanctions on Cuba were lifted to expand collaborations. These positive steps in the right direction helped Cuba welcome millions of tourists, up from the same periods last year.

South America: Colombia
Colombia was crowned as the regional winner from South America. This year Colombia presented the world one of the best ever messages of hope by signing a historic peace agreement with the country's largest armed group FARC, which is expected to end a 52 years of armed conflict. In recognition of such bold leadership shown to achieve peace, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016. Along with these great achievements, young Colombian researchers and entrepreneurs impressed the world with their respective initiatives. 

This year 4179 global citizens participated in our global poll with 49% men and 51% women. This is the first time ever we had more women participants than men. In total 30% of our global poll participants from Africa, Asia and South America voted for a country that is outside of their own continent. It is observed that Africans endorsed the North Americans, Asians endorsed the South Americans and South Americans endorsed the Africans in 2016. On the other hand, North American and European participants endorsed themselves.

Figure 1: Africans endorsed the North Americans, Asians endorsed the South Americans and South Americans endorsed the Africans

The global poll result suggests that World Peace, International Relations, Economy, Science & Innovation, Education, Environment and Sports were the most popular choice of positive accomplishments among both men and women participants while voting for their positive countries. 

Figure 2: Popular topics of positive accomplishments among men and women

D+ continued to observe the trend on the percentage of people hopeful for positive future, primarily the immediate future, based on the comments made during its global polls since 2011. It is observed that people’s positive outlook continued to decline since 2013. Apparently, confronting stances between neighboring countries, spread of terrorism and racial discrimination were the three main root causes identified for such decline in 2016.

Figure 3: Percentage of people hopeful for Positive Future

Certainly it was an eventful year and positive initiatives not only came from the winners but also from the countries that could not make it to the list in 2016. Finland was crowned as the greenest country in the world, and retained its top spot at the media freedom index. Chile declared their presence as the top football power house in South America by winning their second Copa America title in two years. In a remarkable public health achievement, Sri Lanka was certified by the World Health Organization (WHO) on having eliminated malaria, a life-threatening disease which long affected the island country. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) dared to be different by announcing the creation of a Ministry of Happiness devoted to ensuring the happiness of its citizens, and also rightfully kept its title of "World’s Charity Capital".

"It is very encouraging to see increasing global interest for the D+ World's Most Positive Countries initiative despite all the ongoing negative events around us. It makes us ever more determined to bring you the very best of the world." says Dr. Arif Jubaer, Founder of D+. 

D+ will present the above information and facts in detail at a presentation ceremony on Friday, 25 November 2016, 5.30PM at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

For more information on the World’s Most Positive Countries 2016 visit

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