October 31, 2014:
To no one’s surprise Somalia ranked last in seventh annual African Governance Index. The next four less worse nations were Central African Republic, Eritrea, Chad and Guinea-Bissau. Founded and funded by a wealthy Sudanese telecommunications entrepreneur, the index is compiled from 30 independent African and international sources and measures a hundred indicators to measure and rank 52 African countries. Currently the countries that rank highest are Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, South Africa and the Seychelles. The nation with the highest rating got 81.6 (out of 100) and the lowest got 8.6. The average for all nations was 51.5.
Since 2012 Sudan and the newly created South Sudan have been excluded from the index but that will change when enough data on both countries is again available. That may take another year or so. The index shows nations fluctuating in their absolute ratings, although their rank in the index is less likely to change. The countries that improved the most in the last year were Ivory Coast, Guinea, Niger, Zimbabwe and Senegal. You don’t hear much about those places in the media. But the five nations that slipped the most (Egypt, Libya, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic and Mali) are in the news a lot.
Indexes like this have become increasingly common and popular, except with the leaders of those nations shown to perform the worst. Because all these indexes use data that is verifiable it is difficult for the poorly performing leaders to dismiss them out of hand. That puts pressure on the poor performers to improve, or face the wrath of a population that is better informed of why they are getting screwed. Most of the poorly performing nations are also dependent on foreign aid and these surveys cause donor nations to apply pressure as well.