Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

SA has dropped to 37th overall and second in Africa — behind Rwanda — on a global index‚ which measures the strength of physical property rights‚ intellectual property (IP) rights‚ and the legal and political environments that contain them.

The "dramatic" decline came after the government announced a move towards land expropriation without compensation.

A total of 125 countries are ranked‚ with Finland‚ New Zealand and Switzerland scoring the best while countries such as Haiti and Yemen are at the bottom.

The annual International Property Rights Index is compiled by the US-based Property Rights Alliance‚ in co-operation with 113 think-tanks across the world, including the Free Market Foundation in SA.

"SA’s score declined by 0.65 points from 7 in 2017 to 6.35 in 2018. This is the largest decline by any country measured in the index‚" the Free Market Foundation said in a statement on Wednesday‚ after the release of the 2018 results.

Property rights are a key indicator of economic success and political stability‚ the index report states.

Economist Hernando de Soto commented: "Weak property rights systems not only blind economies from realising the immense hidden capital of their entrepreneurs‚ but they withhold them from other benefits as evidenced through the powerful correlations in this year’s index: human freedom‚ economic liberty‚ perception of corruption‚ civic activism‚ and even the ability to be connected to the internet‚ to name a few."

Read the full report here.