Ibrahim Index shows improvement in African governance


The index, which is released annually by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, is a comprehensive collection of quantitative data on governance in Africa. It provides an assessment of governance in every African country.

“General governance is improving, particularly looking at economic growth and economic opportunities,” Jay Naidoo, a board member of the Mo Ibrahim foundation told CNBC Africa on Tuesday.

The countries that have experienced overall governance improvement since 2000 are home to 94 per cent of people living on the continent.


“What’s positive around the index is that post conflict, countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi and Angola are doing exceedingly well. In fact they’ve made the biggest gains since 2000 over the 13 years that we have collected data,” said Naidoo.

An interesting figure from the IIAG is that Mauritius is ranked as number one in terms of overall African governance while South Africa is only ranked fifth behind Botswana, Cape Verde and the Seychelles.

South Africa’s ranking has fallen one place since 2000 due to a notable decline in its score for participation and human rights.

While overall African governance is improving, a large drop was seen in rule of law.

“What is declining is certainly issues related to the rule of law [such as] human rights. Worker rights have declined by 23 points across Africa,” he added.

A concern from the index, he pointed out, is that there is a large widening gap that exists between countries that are doing exceedingly well at the top and the countries at the bottom.

According to Naidoo, another concern however is the issue around the creation of social and economic opportunities for the youth.

“By 2035 our workforce will be bigger than that of China and India combined. By the year 2050 we will be 2 billion people on the African continent and half of them are young people so that’s a positive demographic dividend,” he said.

Naidoo believes that if the issues of economic opportunities, training and education are addressed, this could save the youth from a life of poverty.

Despite the positive data from the index, the Mo Ibrahim prize for African governance was not awarded this year, resulting in no winner for the fourth time in five years.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s judging committee announced on Monday that it was again unable to identify a worthy African candidate for the 5.4 million US dollar prize, which is the world’s most valuable individual award.

“We’re saying that you have to be exceptional. You would have had to have built up social cohesion, performed your duties with ethics and moral values and continue working in the field of human wellbeing of African people,” explained Naidoo.

However, he believes that this should not be seen as a failure.

“To award that prize three times in the last seven years is exceptional in itself.  If we had to offer the prize in Europe or North America, I cannot think of a single leader who will qualify for that prize,” Naidoo added.

He further explained that with the data from the report reflecting an overall improvement in African governance, the chances of finding a winner for the Mo Ibrahim prize in future are higher.

“I’m sure that if governance, that is now improved, work within the framework of delivering the goods to its citizens, there will be winners in the future,” said Naidoo.