Prosperity means having the opportunity to work, earn a living, save, innovate, move forward, take risks, succeed or fail. It is freedom to live without hunger, without poverty, without conflict, without disease or slavery, the freedom to express oneself, to protest, to vote, to follow one’s beliefs.

Prosperity is enjoying the space to breathe and re-create, to bring out the best of yourself and the best in others. Prosperity is all that and more, according to the findings of the Legatum Institute.

The The Legatum Prosperity Index™ was created to determine a country’s level of prosperity. For a decade, the Legatum Institute has been analysing the progress made by each country in this field in order, "to bring to life prosperity".

The 2016 edition covers 149 countries and incorporates 104 variables. Its methodology is based on nine main criteria: the natural environment, safety, health, education, governance, the quality of the economy, individual freedoms, social capital and the business environment. The results are then weighted by the "Prosperity Gap" which measures the conversion gap per capita GDP (purchasing power, wealth) in real prosperity for all. This makes it possible to calculate the surplus or deficit of prosperity for each country.

Thus, New Zealand has capitalised the largest surplus since 2007, while Venezuela has accumulated the largest deficit over the same period. In the 2016 ranking, New Zealand leads the way. Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Canada, Austria, Sweden and Denmark follow suit. The United Kingdom is in 10th place, the United States is 17th, and France 18th. Yemen closes the march at 149th place. In the top ten of the first African countries, Mauritius took the 30th place, followed by South Africa (48th), Namibia (68th), Ghana (87th), Rwanda (88th), Tunisia 93rd), Kenya (97th), Morocco (101st), Senegal (106th) and Zambia (108th). However, the majority of African countries concentrate on the last part of the ranking.

Looking more closely at the evolution over a decade, the The Legatum Prosperity Index™ finds that 70% of countries have experienced positive growth in their prosperity. But some countries have made a significant leap.

These include Togo, Lithuania, Germany, Ecuador, Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates.

After happiness, it is therefore prosperity that is measured to better capture the progress of countries, not purely through economic indicators, but by socio-human criteria. A great advance to encourage.

Find out more about the The Legatum Prosperity Index™ here.

This article originally appeared in Forbes Afrique and has been translated from French