Africa: New Survey Picks Continent's Best, Worst-Governed Nations

The Index measures four main categories, including safety and the rule of law...
25 September 2007

Cape Town — Mauritius is sub-Saharan Africa's best-governed, and Somalia its worst-governed country. Seychelles, Botswana, Cape Verde and South Africa are also in the top five best-governed countries, while the bottom five also include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.

These are among the findings of a new survey, published simultaneously in London and Cape Town today, which says it is the world's most comprehensive ranking of African governance. The survey is based on 2005 statistics.

The survey, unveiled by the African telecommunications pioneer Mo Ibrahim and Professor Robert Rotberg of Harvard University, was developed under the direction of the university's Kennedy School of Government with the help of an advisory council of African academics.

The survey, which is called the "Ibrahim Index of African Governance", measures the quality of governance in sub-Saharan Africa's 48 states by five criteria: safety and security; rule of law, transparency and corruption; participation and human rights; sustainable economic opportunity; and human development.

It shows that some of Africa's most powerful and well-known countries are not as well governed as some of its minnows, economically speaking. Nigeria is ranked at 37th place among the continent's 48 nations, only two places ahead of Sierra Leone at 39th place.

Kenya is at 15th place, below Lesotho (11), Malawi (12) and Tanzania (14). Ghana ranks at 8, Senegal at 9, Rwanda at 18, Mozambique at 23 and Uganda in 25th place. Zimbabwe is at 31st place.

When measured against the criteria chosen for the survey, there are some surprises. Gabon has the best "safety and security," while Sudan has the worst, and South Africa, near the top of the list in other respects, is the third most dangerous country in the continent, safer only than Sudan and Burundi, and a little less safe than Nigeria.

Botswana is ranked top for the rule of law, transparency and lack of corruption, Mauritius for participation and human rights, and the Seychelles for sustainable economic opportunity and human development. Sudan is at the bottom of the list for all these categories except human development, where Chad holds bottom place.

The index also assesses the progress which nations make, and it has used historical figures to draw up rankings for 2000 and 2002.

These show that the countries which have shown the greatest improvements in governance between 2000 and 2005 are Angola, Rwanda, Eritrea, Burundi and Sierra Leone. The country which deteriorated most was Guinea-Bissau. The performance of Namibia, Cote d'Ivoire, the Central African Republic, Benin and Madagascar also declined over the period.

READ THE FULL RANKINGS:  Briefing note of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

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