SA ranks 4th on Mo Ibrahim governance index

2014-09-29 17:12

South Africa’s quality of governance has it ranked fourth in a list of 52 African countries, according to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Index of African Governance for 2014, released today.

Like last year, South Africa, with 73.3 points out of 100, ranks behind Mauritius (number 1 with 81.7 points), Cape Verde (with 76.6 points), and Botswana (76.2).

The countries at the bottom of the pile are Eritrea (number 50 with 29.8 points), Central African Republic (24.8) and Somalia (8.6) – all countries which have seen conflicts in recent times.

South Africa has increased with 0.5 points in terms of overall governance since 2009, and showed the largest deterioration of governance in terms of national security (-8.3 points since 2009).

The biggest gains in the past five years were in terms of infrastructure (12.9 points up from a fairly low base of 64.3 points), health (6.9 points up) an the rule of law (7.8 points up).

The largest decline was in national security (-8.3 points), the rural sector (-6 points), rights (-3.9 points) and accountability (-3 points).

The index boasts that it is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.

According to the foundation, overall governance improved on the African continent from 2009 to 2013, but the reasons for this improvement differ from those in the five years before that.

Progress in recent times has been driven by participation and human rights, while in the five years before that it was sustainable economic opportunity. This has, however, stalled in the recent period.

Countries in the bottom half of the rankings showed the largest improvements over the past five years. These include Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger. Historically strong performers like Mauritius, South Africa, Cape Verde, Botswana and the Seychelles have shown deterioration in at least one category of the rankings in the past five years, but their trends are still overall upwards.

Asked why the foundation’s award for achievement in African leadership had only been awarded once in the past five years (in 2011 to Pedro Pires from Cape Verde), yet governance rankings have gone up, the foundation said the award had different criteria and was given to leaders of state who improved their countries during their tenure. The foundation said the index and the award were not related.

Jay Naidoo, a board member of the foundation, said high-ranking countries should not assume that future achievements will follow previous accomplishments.

“Let us make sure that ‘Africa rising’ narrative, that everyone is talking about, truly benefits all African people,” said Naidoo.

Ibrahim, the chair of the foundation, said: “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.”

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