South tops survey of best governed regions

Oct 06, 2009 | Financial Times Online
Southern Africa outperforms north Africa in the delivery of public goods and services, according to an annual survey of governance. The survey - launched three years ago by Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese billionaire philanthropist - aims to help civil society track government performance in Africa. Its rankings are led by Mauritius, the Seychelles and Cape Verde. Country assessments are based on 84 indicators collated from a range of data provided by institutions and experts and broadly categorised under safety and security; participation and human rights; sustainable economic opportunity; and human development. For the first time the rankings include north African states, which score better on human development but are dragged down overall by a poor record on political freedom and human rights. Southern Africa was on average the best governed region, with South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho all making the top 10. Tunisia is the only north African country in the top 10, with Egypt trailing at 11, followed by Algeria at 14, Morocco at 16 and Libya at 23. The worst performing region was central Africa, with west Africa placed third and east Africa fourth. "With southern Africa outperforming north Africa, we can see a picture emerging that fundamentally challenges our perceptions about Africa," Mr Ibrahim said. Somalia was the worst-governed state, followed by Chad and Zimbabwe. This year's rankings include new indicators intended to improve accuracy and iron out anomalies. The oil-rich state of Gabon slumps from the top 10 to 21 using the adjusted measures, which have eliminated a perceived bias in previous years towards police states by merging assessments of personal safety with those for the rule of law. Countries including Liberia, Burundi and Angola have seen a marked improvement in political freedoms over past years. However, respect for human rights in Ethiopia has deteriorated sharply. Three countries - Gambia, Mozambique and Eritrea - show meaningful deterioration overall, while Liberia, recovering from civil war, has made progress climbing up from near the bottom. Report available at www.moibrahimfoundation.org Full article at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9e87f5ce-b20f-11de-a271-00144feab49a.html