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Let Freedom Ring

09 March 2023   |  

EMsights Capital Group believes that economic and political freedoms and rule of law are important precursors for the economic development, growth, education and sustainability of sovereign countries. Through active due diligence, including on-the-ground country visits, in-person meetings with political, business and government officials, and daily monitoring of political and financial news, we actively follow a country’s pursuit and execution of fair and free elections, civil liberties, functioning of government, and the importance it places on economic freedom in real-time – in both its rhetoric as well as its enforcement of these principles.

We monitor sources like Freedom House, whose analysis of the past years’ events are instrumental in aggregating multiple views and comparing countries in their annual reports. Freedom House monitors metrics across 210 countries and territories and just released its’ 50th annual report for 2023. Highlights from the most recent report include:

  • In the 2023 report, 34 countries had improved metrics, while 35 countries worsened, marking the 17th consecutive year of declines in global freedom. There is a glimmer of hope, as this report featured the fewest countries experiencing year-over-year declines in that 17-year stretch.
  • 39 percent of the global population live in not free countries and territories, while only about 20 percent now live in free countries. The remainder of the global population falls in one of several middling categories.

Another notable source for assessing data on freedoms is the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. The group’s 2023 report covering 184 countries from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 was also recently released, with notable findings outlined below:

  • For the reporting period, the global average score for economic freedom sank relative to last year’s score to the lowest point in 20 years. Economic freedom has continued to deteriorate since the onset of Covid-19, notably due to global inflation and instability of money.
  • There remains a clear link between economic freedom and economic growth, with a significant correlation between economic freedom and the overall well-being of a country’s citizens.
  • Roughly half of the countries evaluated ranked at least moderately free or better, while the remaining half are considered mostly unfree or worse.
  • The U.S. sank to 25th in the world ranking of economic freedom to the lowest point in the nearly 30-year history of the index, plagued by government spending.

EMsights’ case studies:

In our assessment, these reports and their findings correlate to a country’s capability to achieve economic growth. We outline three case studies below based on the findings within these recent reports to identify two examples of countries with improving freedoms and one example of a country with lessening freedoms:


  • Colombia ranked as the largest advancer in political rights and civil liberties freedoms in countries with populations of 1 million or more according to Freedom House’s latest report.
  • The country’s rating on the Index of Economic Freedom for 2023 comes in at 63.1, in excess of the average world rating of 59.3 and the regional Americas rating of 58.6. It performed especially well in the “open markets” segment of scoring, with better-than-average scores for trade, investment and financial freedom.
  • Colombia’s 7.6% real GDP growth in 2022 outpaced the world average of 3.2%, as well as emerging market and developing economies, which averaged 3.7% real GDP growth in 2022.


  • Kenya also emerged as a top advancer in Freedom House’s assessment of political rights and civil liberties thanks to its democratic general election in 2022 and subsequent peaceful transfer of power.
  • While Kenya’s rating of 52.5 on the Index of Economic Freedom for 2023 sat below the world average, its rating remained consistent relative to last year. The country performed well relative to the rest of the world in terms of its government spending and monetary freedom.
  • Notably, Kenya’s real GDP growth in 2022 of 5.3% bested the world average of 3.2%, as well as emerging market and developing economies, which averaged 3.7% real GDP growth in 2022. The country is also expected to outperform in 2023 on this measure.


  • On the other hand, Tunisian president Kaïs Saïed’s undemocratic leadership translated to the country ranking as the third-largest decliner in Freedom House’s assessment of political rights and civil liberties.
  • Tunisia’s rating on the Index of Economic Freedom sank 1.3 points to 52.9. The country’s worst attributes included its fiscal health, investment freedom, financial freedom, government integrity and judicial effectiveness.
  • Unsurprisingly, Tunisia’s real GDP growth of 2.2% in 2022 trailed the rest of the world and the narrower emerging market and developing economies subset. The country’s real GDP growth is also expected to slow in 2023 according to the IMF and once again trail peer performance.

Source: Freedom House Freedom in the World 2023. Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom. International Monetary Fund Data Mapper – Real GDP Growth:

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