10 October 2011

Governance: The Best and Worst Nations in Africa

The 2011 Mo Ibrahim Index of African governance is out. No index is perfect by any means, but this one is interesting because it puts a premium on the very important issue of governance.  The Great Lakes Policy Forum panel discussions last week put a strong emphasis on the need to improve governance in the DRC.  It is no surprise that the Congo among the worst nations rated by the index.

A quick capture of the best and the worst:

Top five: 1 Mauritius; 2 Cape Verde; 3 Botswana; 4 Seychelles; 5 South Africa
Bottom five: 49 Central African Republic; 50 Democratic Republic of the Congo; 51 Zimbabwe; 52 Chad; 53 Somalia

Scroll down to the bottom of the post you in order to see a breakdown of the scores by country. Meanwhile, here are some of the key findings according to the organization's press release:
Key Index findings across the past five years (2006 to 2010) show that:

- Large differences in performances between countries and across categories are masked by the unchanged continental average of 50 for overall governance quality.

- Liberia improved across all four categories and 13 out of 14 sub-categories.

- Togo and Angola have also seen meaningful improvements.

- Togo's score has increased in all four categories, in particular Participation & Human Rights, which was Togo's weakest score in 2006.

- Angola has improved in three categories, in particular Participation & Human Rights and Human Development, which were Angola's weakest scores in 2006.

- Egypt, Libya and Tunisia demonstrate starkly the imbalance between weak performance in Safety & Rule of Law and Participation & Human Rights and strong performance in Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. This imbalance between the countries' performance in Human Development and Participation and Human Rights might well have been a trigger for instability.

- While all three countries are ranked in the top ten in Human Development, with Egypt and Tunisia also ranked in the top ten for Sustainable Economic Opportunity, all three countries are ranked in the bottom half of the Index for Participation & Human Rights, with scores that are below the continental average.

Category trends:

- Sustainable Economic Opportunity: 38 countries improved, three significantly. No country has declined significantly.

- Human Development: 48 countries improved.

- In the Health sub-category in particular all but two countries improved and neither of the two declines is significant.

- Safety & Rule of Law: 36 countries declined, one significantly.

- Participation & Human Rights: 39 countries declined, one significantly.

- The greatest declines in Safety & Rule of Law and Participation & Human Rights are substantially larger than the concurrent improvements in Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

Here is the list in order of rank:

There is a lot more to be seen when reading the full report (pdf).