Africa in democratic recession

2010-10-04 12:43
Johannesburg - Many countries in Africa are enjoying a period of economic growth, but the continent's progress has been undermined by declines in the rule of law, a political-performance survey said on Monday.

The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance, a survey designed to encourage good government and name and shame Africa's worst regimes, gave the continent a mixed report card, saying recent economic growth and development has been offset by declines in political rights and security.

The index, launched in 2007, is published annually by a foundation created by Mo Ibrahim, a wealthy Sudanese businessman who founded Celtel International telecommunications.

"The 2010 Ibrahim Index gives us a mixed picture about recent progress on governance across the continent," Ibrahim said in a statement.

"While many African citizens are becoming healthier and have greater access to economic opportunities than five years ago, many of them are less physically secure and less politically enfranchised."

Highest and lowest

The index examines 88 indicators and ranks African countries in five areas: overall governance, safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity, and human development.

The study's authors said Africa's overall governance, scored on a scale of zero to 100, remained largely unchanged from previous years with a continent-wide average of 49.

Mauritius (82) topped the overall ranking, followed by Seychelles (75), Botswana (74), Cape Verde (74) and South Africa (70).

Somalia (8) scored lowest. Eritrea (33), Zimbabwe (32), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (32) and Chad (31) rounded out the bottom five.

Of the 53 countries surveyed, 41 have seen improvement over the past five years in the area of sustainable economic opportunity, the foundation said.

But the gains have been offset by declines in 35 countries in the area of safety and the rule of law, and almost two-thirds of countries declined in the areas of participation and human rights.

Pay attention to rights

The study's authors said Africa's economic growth is being undermined by a "democratic recession", and urged the continent's leaders not to neglect the political side of development.

"We have seen from evidence and experience across the world that discrepancies between political governance and economic management are unsustainable in the long term," said a statement from Salim Ahmed Salim, former head of the Organisation of African Unity and a foundation board member.

"If Africa is going to continue to make progress we need to pay attention to the rights and safety of citizens."

Ibrahim is also the creator of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, the world's largest annual prize, created to reward former leaders for good governance.

Winners get a $5m prize split over 10 years, plus $200 000 annually for the rest of their lives and $200 000 a year for charitable causes of their choice.

The prize far exceeds the $1.5m given to recipients of the Nobel Prize.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

As the day warms up so does your enthusiasm and motivation towards a cause. You want to be socially significant in some way more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.