South Africa 5th for governance in Africa
16 October 2012
South Africa has held onto fifth spot in the 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, despite a one-point decline in its overall score, from 72 to 71 out of a possible 100, since the index was first launched in 2006.
The top 10 African countries for governance, according to the index, are (scores in brackets): Mauritius (83), Cape Verde (78), Botswana (77), Seychelles (73), South Africa (71), Namibia (70), Ghana (66), Tunisia (63), Lesotho (61), and Tanzania (59).
The 2012 version of the index was released on Monday by the London-based Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which makes information on governance quality in Africa freely accessible in the interests of good governance on the continent.
The index uses a methodology specially developed by a team from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in the US, with the help of an advisory council of African academics.
It measures country and regional performance across four main categories - safety and rule of law; participation and human rights; sustainable economic opportunity; and human development - breaking down into 14 sub-categories and 88 component indicators.
Improvement in one, decline in two categories
According to the index, South Africa's overall score for human development (where it ranks seventh overall) has improved by one point, from 76 to 77, since 2006. At the same time, its overall score for sustainable economic opportunity (where it ranks eighth overall) has returned to its 2006 level of 62.
However, despite being ranked third in Africa for participation and human rights, and seventh for safety and rule of law, South Africa's score in both these categories has dropped by two points since 2006: from 76 to 73 in the former, and from 73 to 71 in the latter category.
In this respect, the foundation says in its report accompanying the index, South Africa is to be grouped with three other regional powerhouses - Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria - as having slipped since 2006.
"All four countries have declined in both safety and rule of law and participation and human rights, with particularly noticeable declines in the participation sub-category," the report states.
"Nigeria, West Africa's powerhouse, has for the first time this year fallen into the bottom 10 governance performers on the continent."
Africa making progress overall
Overall, the 2012 index shows that Africa has made progress in governance in the last six years, with positive trends in 11 out of the 14 sub-categories, including all sub-categories within both sustainable economic opportunity and human development.
However, the other two main categories, safety and rule of law, and participation and human rights, registered declines - a disparity, the report states, which was first highlighted in 2010 and 2011 and which "remains an important concern".
At the indicator level, African countries made the most progress in cross-border tensions, core international human rights conventions, legislation on violence against women, ratio of external debt service to exports, digital connectivity, and anti-retroviral treatment provision.
The largest declines were registered in workers' rights, safety of the person, and transfers of power.
Southern Africa the top performing region
Southern Africa is the top performing region in the 2012 index, scoring above the continental average in all four main categories and all but one (rural sector performance) of the 14 sub-categories.
Over the last six years, the report states, "seven countries have demonstrated a significant improvement in their overall governance score: Liberia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia. One country, Madagascar, has significantly declined."
Over the same period, Tanzania has climbed up the rankings, making it into the top 10 for the first time in 2012. Angola, Liberia and Togo have left group of the 10 worst performers, to be replaced by Eritrea, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria.