Africa: Mo Ibrahim Foundation Launches World's Most Comprehensive Ranking of African Governance

press release

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is today publishing an innovative new ranking of governance quality in sub-Saharan Africa.

Developed under the direction of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with the help of an advisory council of African academics, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance assesses sub-Saharan Africa's 48 nation states against a comprehensive new index of governance indicators.

The Ibrahim Index provides both a new definition of governance, as well as a comprehensive set of governance measures. Based on five categories of essential political goods, each country is assessed against 58 individual measures, capturing clear, objective outcomes. To be published annually, the Index records the performance of countries in 2000, 2002 and 2005, offering a report card on the accomplishments of each country.

The founder and Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, says:

"We are shining a light on governance in Africa, and in so doing we are making a unique contribution to improving the quality of governance. The Ibrahim Index is a tool to hold governments to account and frame the debate about how we are governed. Africans are setting benchmarks not only for their own continent, but for the world."

Key features of the Ibrahim Index include:

o Comprehensiveness – the large number of measures included in the Ibrahim Index makes it one of the most comprehensive assessments of the governance in sub-Saharan African ever undertaken.

o Focus on political goods – the Ibrahim Index uniquely defines governance as the delivery of key political goods, capturing defined, measurable outcomes rather than subjective assessments.

o Geographical coverage – the Ibrahim Index examines all 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa for three years (and hereafter annually), making it among the most complete and up-to-date indexes ever compiled.

o Ranking – The Ibrahim Index is the first such attempt to explicitly rank sub-Saharan African countries according to governance quality.

o Progressiveness - the Ibrahim Index will be expanded and refined on an annual basis, offering a continually improving assessment of governance.

The full data set is being presented as a fully interactive tool on the Mo Ibrahim Foundation website –

As part of the Foundation's mandate to improve governance quality, the website also features a formal mechanism whereby constructive criticism and feedback can shape a continually improving index year on year.

A project of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Ibrahim Index has been prepared and compiled entirely independently of the Foundation by Professor Robert I. Rotberg and a team at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was launched in October 2006 to promote good governance in Africa with the support of, among others, Nelson Mandela, Alpha Konaré, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair.

On 22nd October 2007, the Foundation will announce the winner of the world's biggest prize, the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, to be awarded to a former African executive Head of State or Government who has demonstrated exemplary leadership. The Index will inform the deliberations of the Foundation's Prize Committee, chaired by Kofi Annan, when it meets next month.

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