Freepick__premium_330477_P9LQ1T_359_BTI_ST_NW.jpg(© ©

BTI Africa Report: A Divided Continent

Africa is deeply polarized between political and economic extremes. Some of the clouds on the horizon may prove to have silver linings. The African Union has a key role to play in transforming the region into a continent of opportunity.

Venezuela-Ausschreitungen_12592680765_2b46fe2477_o.jpg(© andresAzp / Flickr - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0,

BTI 2018: Democracy under Pressure: Polarization and Repression Are Increasing Worldwide

Restrictions on free speech, unfair elections and populist hunger for power – it is by no means just autocrats who have been tightening the screw of repression. Governments in democracies have also increasingly been trying to govern with a hard hand. And social division is deeper than it has been for a long time. Our current Transformation Index BTI shows what is behind this development, and which countries have been particularly affected.

Flagge_Olympia_Südkorea_Skoreaandolympicflag_ST-NW(© anja_johnson/Wikimedia Commons - CC BY 2.0,

Pyeongchang 2018: Peaceful Olympics amid Thawing Tensions

On 9 February the Pyeongchang Olympics will be opened. This means that South Korea will be the first country examined by the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) to host both summer and winter games. We fact-check the 2018 Olympics through the looking glass of selected criteria and indicators of our index, which will be published in March.

Titelbild_Onlinemeldung_BTI Teil 6_ Iran_Saudi-Arabien_Mekka_Kaaba_hq.jpg(© Omar Chatriwala / Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0,

BTI Summer Series: Iran and Saudi Arabia: Political hardliners boosting tensions

Sunnis against Shi’ites, Saudi Arabia against Iran – the Middle East is rife with tensions carrying unpredictable effects. In the last installment of our BTI Summer Series, guest author Jan Claudius Völkel explains the political and religious conflicts between the two countries.

Fotolia_55367396_X.jpg_ST_NW(© Fotolia/cescassawin)

BTI summer series: Mongolia: The Hidden Welfare Champion?

The World Social Forum will convene in Montreal from August 9-14. On occasion of the world’s largest civil society gathering, we look at an unknown star of social policy: Mongolia. Capitalizing on its mineral wealth, the country has set out to become a leading welfare state amongst emerging and developing countries.

10410362514_4426347448_o.jpg(© dany13 / Flickr - CC BY 2.0,

BTI summer series: Political doping: Brazil on the eve of the Olympic Games

Hardly any other country included in the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Transformation Index (BTI) has been as diligent in combating corruption as Brazil. Indeed, the country's prosecutors need all the resolve they can muster: Brazil's political system has recently been shaken by several bribery scandals, which have contributed to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. An analysis.

16542692845_5a748b639d_o.jpg(© Nico Kaiser / Flickr - CC BY 2.0,

BTI summer series: Slovakian EU Council Presidency: Putting the fox in charge of the hen house?

On July 1 Slovakia took over the EU Council Presidency. Until now the government led by Prime Minister Fico refuses to assume responsibility in the refugee situation and attracted attention with islamophobic and populist comments. Is it now able to play the intermediator in Europe?

ST-NW - BTI_Blog, Map of Republic of South Sudan(© Getty Images/iStockphoto/naruedo)

BTI summer series: The World's Youngest State Plunges into Renewed Violence

The terrorist attack in Nice and events in Turkey have pushed developments in South Sudan out of Western media headlines. Yet five years after independence, the situation in the East African state remains tense. The most recent outbreaks of violence have driven more than 10,000 South Sudanese to flee their homes.

Polizeiausruestung_Bangladesch_52476845_4db524dc02_o_1246x935px.jpg(© Rajiv Ashrafi / Flickr - CC BY-NC-SA 2.0,

BTI summer series: Is Bangladesh on the Brink of Civil War?

As the findings of our 2016 Transformation Index BTI show, political and social tensions across the globe are on the rise. As we take a closer look this summer at selected countries surveyed by the BTI, we will explore encouraging and worrying developments alike. We begin with Bangladesh, where political violence has reached a new peak with the terrorist attack in Dhaka on July 1.

Taipei_9482653996_dd04aa530c_o.jpg(© Dave Wilson / Flickr - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0,

BTI 2016: And the winner is … Taiwan

Ranking at the top of the BTI Status Index, Taiwan's transformation from an authoritarian developing country to a thriving democracy and market economy deserves special attention. What are the recipes for the island state's political and economic success?