The Safest and Riskiest Countries To Invest In For 2017


We’ve updated our Investment Safety Rankings for 2017, see the new rankings here. For the uninitiated, these rankings have been compiled by us as a quantifiable way of deciding which markets are safe to invest in. Here is our post from 2016.

What Has Been Updated?

Our rankings rely on three main sources of rankings: the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings, Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, and the Fund For Peace’s Fragile States Index.

We have updated the Ease of Business Rankings to 2018 (from 2017), the Corruption Perception Index to 2016 (from 2015), and the Fragile States Index to 2017 (from 2016), so all three rankings have been updated to the latest available data.

The Biggest Improvements

Eight countries jumped 15 or more spots in our rankings:

  1. St. Vincent and the Grenadines: +50 spots, from 135 to 85
  2. Dominica: +41 spots, from 108 to 67
  3. Sao Tome and Principe: +41 spots, from 111 to 70
  4. St. Lucia: +38 spots, from 95 to 57
  5. Bahamas: +26 spots, from 82 to 56
  6. Grenada: +23 spots, from 107 to 84
  7. Kosovo: +21 spots, from 85 to 64
  8. Indonesia: +15 spots, from 101 to 86

It was a great year for small islands in the Caribbean. Kosovo is an interesting country to watch as it transforms into one of the safer frontier markets in the world, a remarkable turnaround. Seeing a big country like Indonesia improve so much also makes it worth monitoring. Just missing this list was Brunei which improved 14 spots to rank 45, up from the mid 80s two years ago.

The Biggest Drops

Six countries dropped by 15 or more spots:

  1. Mexico: -31 spots, from 68 to 99
  2. San Marino: -27 spots, from 80 to 107
  3. Trinidad and Tobago: -23 spots, from 69 to 92
  4. Armenia: -17 spots, from 65 to 82
  5. Ghana: -17 spots, from 81 to 98
  6. Seychelles: -15 spots, from 56 to 71

Poor Mexico. The country held steady in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, but got hit hard in both the Fragile States Index and Corruption Perception Index – deteriorating relations with the US have hit it hard.

What Are The Safest Frontier Market Countries To Invest In?

There was no change in the top 10 safest countries to invest in (all developed countries). The top 10 frontier market countries that are the safest to invest in are:

  1. Estonia (#19)
  2. Lithuania (#28)
  3. Slovenia (#29)
  4. Latvia (#31)
  5. Mauritius (#33)
  6. Chile (#34)
  7. Qatar (#42)
  8. Georgia (#44)
  9. Brunei (#45)
  10. Montenegro (#46)

Unsurprisingly, European frontier markets continue to dominate the list of safest countries. Brunei is now the safest frontier market in Asia to invest in, and Botswana remains the safest African market to invest in, coming in at #51.

What Are The Most Dangerous Frontier Market Countries To Invest In?

The 10 frontier market countries that are the most dangerous to invest in are:

  1. Somalia (#192, out of 192)
  2. South Sudan (#191)
  3. Yemen (#190)
  4. Afghanistan (#189)
  5. Syria (#188)
  6. Central African Republic (#187)
  7. Sudan (#186)
  8. Eritrea (#185)
  9. Chad (#183)
  10. Democratic Republic of Congo (#182)

Not much movement at the bottom of the rankings either, with Somalia coming in dead last again. Syria has gotten even more risky to invest in over the past year, dropping 6 spots to #188.

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