Ibrahim Index of African Governance

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Mauritius tops the Index again, while Egypt and Libya slide.

The island nation of Mauritius has topped the African Governance Index for the eighth year running.

Mauritius has been ranked first in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) 2014 for the eighth consecutive year. Among the 52 countries rated by the Foundation, Mauritius scored the highest overall mark of 81.7 points. Cabo Verde was second with 76.6 points, with the average score for the continent being 51.5 points. In third, fourth and fifth places were Botswana, South Africa and the Seychelles, all of which were in the top five in 2013.

Southern Africa scored the highest regional average, with Namibia and Lesotho joining Mauritius, Botswana and South Africa in the top 10.

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in African countries. It was established in recognition of the need for a robust, comprehensive and quantifiable tool for civil society to track government performance in Africa. Compiled by combining over 100 variables from more than 30 independent African and global institutions, the IIAG is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance. The mammoth statistical undertaking collects tens of thousands of data points from 52 different African countries (excluding only Sudan and South Sudan, as their recent split means there is no available data).

The charitable foundation said it has moved back the date for awarding the $5m African leadership prize, in an attempt to keep attention focused on the index instead of the lucrative award.

The 2014 index, released on September 29th, reveals that in the past five years, the continent’s overall governance has improved only slightly, with an average improvement of less than one point, out of a maximum score of 100.

For the eighth consecutive year, volatile Somalia scored worst, with a dismal 8.6 points out of 100. Somalia’s government is more stable than it once was, but the country remains awash in weapons, reliant on food aid, and beset by the al-Shabaab insurgency and inter-clan clashes. The fragile East African country ranked lowest in all four categories of the Ibrahim Index: safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

Central Africa had the lowest regional average, with Central African Republic coming in just ahead of Somalia in the overall ranking with Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Republic of Congo also among the 10 bottom-ranked countries

Those who improved most in overall governance were Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger, Zimbabwe and Senegal, while the situation deteriorated most in Egypt, Libya, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic and Mali.

“The greatest improvements in governance are happening in some very low ranking countries,” said Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese telecoms tycoon who founded the index. He singled out Côte D’Ivoire, Guinea and Zimbabwe.

“Those guys are very low in absolute ranking, but they are showing great improvement…What is interesting about these improvements is that it comes after a period of negative trends. These countries were going down, and then they started to move up somehow.”

This inevitably is conflict-related – all three states are recovering from conflicts of varying intensity. The Zimbabwean improvements came under the government of national unity which followed the 2008 post-election violence.

Ibrahim welcomed the fact that 13 out of 52 countries had improved in overall governance as well as political, social and economic governance over the past five years. However, he warned the highest performers to be on their guard to maintain their hard-won good governance gains.

In his foreword to the latest report Ibrahim said: “Over the past five years, every one of the top five ranking countries has deteriorated in at least one category, demonstrating that even the highest performers need to remain vigilant and retain an ongoing commitment to the governance agenda”.

Mauritius, South Africa and the Seychelles slipped in the safety and rule of law category, Cabo Verde in human development and Botswana in sustainable economic development. South Africa also took a few steps backward on human rights.

“Africa is progressing but the story is complex and doesn’t fit the stereotypes. Even if the overall picture looks good, we must all remain vigilant and not get complacent,” said the index founder.

In terms of backsliding, the so-called Arab Spring has had a seriously negative impact on governance in Egypt and Libya, with Egypt dropping 14 places in the overall rankings (from 12th to 26th) and Libya dropping 15 places (from 27th to 43rd). The revolution in Tunisia does not seem to have had such dire consequences, as its indicators remained relatively stable and it is still in the top 10.

Ibrahim Index of African Governance Director Liz McGrath pointed out some highlights of the report: “So we have seen that at the continental level, the Ibrahim Index shows that overall governance has slightly improved over the last five years, but this rate of improvement has been slower than in the previous five-year period. And we have also seen that the drivers of governance improvement on the continent have changed over the past 10 years. So whereas sustainable economic opportunity was the main driver between 2005 and 2009, since 2009 overall governance has been driven by participation in human rights and human development,” said McGrath.

The rankings show an overall continental improvement in health indices, despite the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The data for this year’s report were collected before the first mass Ebola outbreaks were reported.

But McGrath says the index measures health through many variables, which include maternal health, immunizations, nourishment and sanitation.

“These indicators are not necessarily direct proxies for a crisis like Ebola. So it is important just to basically look at the fact that these things are improving on the continent, these measures are, definitely, perhaps in large part to the Millennium Development Goals, getting better in Africa,” she said.

The Index

The list below shows rank, country, score out of 100, five-year change 2009-2013:

1st — Mauritius, 81.7 (+1.3)

2nd — Cape Verde, 76.6 (+1.3)

3rd — Botswana, 76.2 (+1.3)

4th — South Africa, 73.3 (+0.5)

5th — Seychelles, 73.2 (+2.7)

6th — Namibia, 70.3 (+1.1)

7th — Ghana, 68.2 (+1.6)

8th — Tunisia, 66.0 (+2.2)

9th — Senegal, 64.3 (+4.6)

10th — Lesotho, 62.3 (+3.8)

11th — Rwanda, 60.4 (+4.6)

12th — Sao Tome and Principe, 59.7 (+4.4)

13th — Zambia, 59.4 (+3.1)

14th — Morocco, 58.8 (+2.9)

15th — Tanzania, 58.2 (-1.7)

16th — Malawi, 57.6 (+1.9)

17th — Kenya, 57.4 (+4.1)

18th — Benin, 56.7 (-3.5)

19th — Uganda, 56.1 (+1.0)

20th — Algeria, 54.4 (+1.4)

21st — Burkina Faso, 53.3 (-1.7)

22nd — Mozambique, 52.2 (-2.2)

23rd — Gambia, 51.6 (-0.9)

24th — Swaziland, 51.5 (+1.3)

25th — Sierra Leone, 51.1 (+3.9)

26th — Egypt, 51.1 (-8.0)

27th — Gabon 51.0 (+2.0)

28th — Mali, 49.5 (-5.7)

29th — Niger, 49.4 (+5.5)

30th — Comoros, 49.3 (+0.3)

31st — Liberia, 49.3 (+3.4)

32nd — Ethiopia, 48.5 (+2.1)

33rd — Madagascar, 48.2 (-1.1)

34th — Cameroon, 47.6 (+1.5)

35th — Djibouti, 46.8 (+0.7)

36th — Togo, 46.4 (+2.8)

37th — Nigeria, 45.8 (+0.6)

38th — Burundi, 45.3 (-0.1)

39th — Mauritania, 44.5 (+0.8)

40th — Ivory Coast, 44.3 (+7.8)

41st — Republic of Congo, 43.4 (+3.1)

42nd — Guinea, 43.3 (+6.5)

43rd — Libya, 42.1 (-7.4)

44th — Angola, 40.9 (+0.3)

45th — Equatorial Guinea, 38.4 (+0.1)

46th — Zimbabwe, 38.0 (+5.4)

47th — Democratic Republic of Congo, 34.1 (+0.8)

48th — Guinea-Bissau, 33.2 (-6.8)

49th — Chad, 32.3 (+2.5)

50th — Eritrea, 29.8 (-2.8)

51st — Central African Republic, 24.8 (-6.2)

52nd — Somalia, 8.6 (+0.5)

Note: Sudan and South Sudan remain unranked awaiting enough data following 2011 split.

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in African countries. Compiled by combining over 100 variables from more than 30 independent African and global institutions, the IIAG is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.

The Foundation defines governance as the provision of the political, social and economic goods that a citizen has the right to expect from his or her state, and that a state has the responsibility to deliver to its citizens.

The IIAG assesses progress under four main conceptual categories:

  • Safety & Rule of Law
  • Participation & Human Rights
  • Sustainable Economic Opportunity
  • Human Development

More: The 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

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