Nov 24, 2014

Myanmar Named World’s Most Generous Country

Myanmar came out as the most generous country in the world, along with the United States, beating out top global economies when it comes to giving, according to the World Giving Index 2014.

Myanmar and the US shared a 64 percent generosity rating, followed by Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia, Charities Aids Foundation (CAF), a British charity organisation, revealed in the recently published index.

Only five countries in the G20, a bloc of the world’s largest economies, made it to the top 20 of the index.

Respondents of the survey were asked if they donated money, volunteered with an organisation or helped a stranger in the past month and the answers were averaged to determine a final score. The report was based on Gallup data collected across 135 countries.

Myanmar improved on its joint second place reported in 2013, with an increase from 58 percent to 64 percent in the index.

Myanmar’s lead ranking is mainly due to an extraordinarily high incidence of donating money, which has seen a further uplift this year to stand at 91 percent from 85 percent revealed in last year’s report.

Nine out of ten people within Myanmar follow the Theravada school of Buddhism, under which the lives of the Sangha (ordained monks and nuns) are supported by dana (charitable giving) by lay followers of the religion. This translates into a strong culture of charity, with Myanmar ranked first for donating money and 13 percentage points ahead of the second placed country, CAF said. Sri Lanka, another country with a strong Theravada Buddhist community, also ranked within the top 10 of the index (placed 9th).

The United States is the only country to rank in the top 10 for all three kinds of giving covered by the index: helping a stranger (1st), volunteering time (joint 5th) and donating money (9th).

The report reveals that the trend of giving is not tied to the wealth of a country, and a prosperous economy also does not guarantee higher levels of giving money. Despite the growing economies of “BRIC” countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – only the latter has seen an increase in donating money to charity since last year, although all four saw an increase in volunteering.

The countries which comprise the top 10 remain largely the same as those reported in 2013. Of most significance is the entrance of Malaysia in seventh place, from a 2013 reported ranking of seventy-one, reflecting a 26 percentage point increase in its World Giving Index score.

Source: Myanmar Business Today