The second annual installment of the Ibrahim governance index, which aggregates third-party and original data to create a five point scorecard in every country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The essential political goods can be summarized and gathered under five categories: Safety and Security; Rule of Law, Transparency, and Corruption; Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; and Human Development. Together, these five categories of political goods epitomize the performance of any government, at any level.
Of interest to us here at Global Integrity is this related paper, “Measuring Corruption” by Oyinola Shyllon which briefly addresses the same topic as our recent book, A Users’ Guide to Measuring Corruption. I don’t disagree with Shyllon’s analysis, but would point out that alternative methodologies to corruption perception surveys and firm experience surveys exist, as we discuss at length in A Users’ Guide. As it stands, the Ibrahim index’s corruption metrics (a subset of the whole index) are not fundamentally different in approach than the work by Transparency International or the World Bank — it’s a different blend of third-party survey data.
Digging into the methodology a bit, I will give them points for recalculating their 2007 rankings as better information has come available, a bit of methodological rigor that will no doubt be ignored by the media.
The methodology papers also note that in-country variations (think Somalia/Somaliland) are important, but that little data is available sub-nationally. Well, we hear you, and Global Integrity’s working on it, so stay tuned.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass – Small states, island states, and Botswana and South Africa are the best governed countries in sub-Saharan Africa according to this year’s Index of African Governance, released today by researchers at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island-state, tops the list of well-governed territories for the second year, the Seychelles is second, Cape Verde third, Botswana fourth, and South Africa fifth. The remaining five top-ranking states are Namibia, Ghana, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe (another island state), and Senegal.
The bottom ten—the worst governed states this year—are Nigeria, Guinea, Eritrea, Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Angola, Sudan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia. Most of these states have been convulsed by civil wars. Many are also very poor—despite being oil producers.
The Index is based on fifty-seven indicators, such as deaths in war, crime rates, literacy, child mortality, educational opportunity, and gross domestic product, and sums the results for each African country according to five over-arching categories of safety and security; rule of law, transparency, and corruption; participation and human rights; economic opportunity; and human development. Each country is ranked fifty-seven ways and then five ways, and the overall final report card emerges from a combination of all of the scores.
This year, two low ranking post-conflict countries, Liberia and Burundi, emerged as most improved over last year, showing decisive progress. Overall, the Index results also show that governance across sub-Saharan Africa is improving. Thirty-one of the forty-eight counties progressed over last year.
Professor Robert I. Rotberg and Dr Rachel M. Gisselquist, who produce the Index for the Program on Intrastate Conflict at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, say that the rankings are illustrative and important. “But the real point of the Index is to strengthen African governance by giving African governments and civil society a diagnostic tool.” The Index displays each country’s strong and weak spots. “Insiders and outsiders can immediately zero-in on those critical areas among the fifty-seven which need help.” Donors, say Rotberg and Gisselquist, can use the Index results, as can foreign investors. “No more comprehensive tool exists for Africa,” they say.
The full results are available at www.nber.org and www.moibrahimfoundation.org/index.
They are also available in book form as Strengthening African Governance: Ibrahim Index of African Governance, Results and Rankings 2008, and on CD.