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Africa: Ibrahim Governance Index
Oct 8, 2007 (071008)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
"What we're trying to say is that at the end, governance is
reflected in what is delivered to people. .. We are not commenting
on the policies. ...Policies should reflect in goods delivered to
people. We're trying to capture it [this way] instead of going
through this endless discussion about policies - what is good, what
is bad - which becomes, at the end of the day, very subjective." -
With the release of his foundation's Index of African Governance,
African mobile phone entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim is hoping to advance
the discussion about how African leaders deliver the results their
people want. The Sudan-born founder of Celtel has also resigned
from his position of chair of the Celtel board after building the
company into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise and leading
telecommunications operator with 21 million customers in 14 African
countries. He now plans to devote most of his time and energies to
the foundation, which focuses on African governance.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from the report on the
index, including rankings for 48 sub-Saharan African countries, as
well as an interview with Mo Ibrahim. Ibrahim contrasts this index
with others as a measure of results delivered rather than opinions
about policy, and calls for corrections to both data and
methodology to be submitted via the foundation website, which is
available in French, Portuguese, KiSwahili, and Arabic as well as
English. See http://www.moibrahimfoundation.org
Another AfricaFocus Bulletin sent out today reports on latest
developments in the fast-moving African information and
communications industries in which Mo Ibrahim made his fortune.
For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on developments in information
and communication technology in Africa, and a custom search of
Balancing Act Africa and other key sites, see
"No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over
a Half Century, 1950-2000" is now shipping, and still available for
ordering on-line at a 20% discount until the end of October. The
book will also be on sale at the African Studies Association 50th
anniversary meeting in New York City, October 18-21.
The editors, along with Africa World Press, the Association of
Concerned Africa Scholars, and AfricaFocus Bulletin invite New
York activists, attendees at the African Studies Association, and
others who are interested to join them for a celebration of the
book's release on October 20, 2007.
For more information: http://www.noeasyvictories.org
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
Ibrahim Index of African Governance
September 25, 2007
"We are shining a light on governance in Africa, and in so doing we
are making a unique contribution to improving the quality of
governance. The Ibrahim Index is a tool to hold governments to
account and frame the debate about how we are governed. Africans
are setting benchmarks not only for their own continent, but for
the world. " Mo Ibrahim
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance has been created in
recognition of the need for a more objective and quantifiable
method of measuring governance in the 48 countries of sub-Saharan
Africa. The Ibrahim Index provides both a new definition of
governance, as well as a comprehensive set of governance measures.
Based on five categories of essential political goods, each country
is assessed against 58 individual measures, capturing clear,
- Safety and Security
- Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption
- Participation and Human Rights
- Sustainable Economic Development
- Human Development
Key features of the Ibrahim Index include:
Comprehensiveness - the large number of measures included in the
Ibrahim Index makes it one of the most comprehensive assessments of
the governance in sub-Saharan African ever undertaken.
Focus on political goods - the Ibrahim Index uniquely defines
governance as the delivery of key political goods, capturing
defined, measurable outcomes rather than subjective assessments.
Geographical coverage - the Ibrahim Index examines all 48 countries
of sub-Saharan Africa for three years (and hereafter annually),
making it among the most complete and up-to-date indexes ever
Ranking - The Ibrahim Index is the first such attempt to explicitly
rank sub-Saharan African countries according to governance quality.
Progressiveness - the Ibrahim Index will be expanded and refined on
an annual basis, offering a continually improving assessment of
On this website you can explore the full data set for the 2007
Ibrahim Index (using a dataset from the year 2005) and
retrospective data sets for 2002 and 2000. You will also find a
number of papers on benchmarking governance.
The Ibrahim Index is a project of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and has
been developed under the direction of Robert I. Rotberg and Rachel
Gisselquist of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
A Summary of the Rankings
A select handful of countries consistently rank at the top of the
Index of African Governance. Listed in order of their ranking in
the 2007 Index (using 2005 data), these are Mauritius, the
Seychelles, Botswana, Cape Verde, and South Africa. Completing the
2007 top ten are Gabon, Namibia, Ghana, Senegal, and Sao Tom and
These top ten also do well in 2002 and 2000, although their
positions relative to each other shift slightly year to year. ...
The Index also shows that a set of countries have consistently been
governed poorly relative to the rest of the continent. Those
occupying the bottom five positions in 2005 (from worst to slightly
less worse) are Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad,
Sudan, and Guinea-Bissau. These countries are followed in 2005 by
Liberia, Angola, the Central African Republic, Burundi, and Sierra
Leone. Several of these worst performing countries highlight the
long-running effects of conflict, suggesting the difficulties of
rapidly improving political goods performance even with improved
Positioning at the bottom, like positioning at the top, is also
relatively stable, although less so. Somalia, at the bottom in all
three years, is the exception.Similarly, the DRC comes in at #46 or
47 (second or third from the bottom) in all years. The Sudan is at
#45 in all three years. The following countries also fall into the
bottom ten in all three years: Angola, Burundi, Chad, and Liberia.
Largest Changes in Performance
Improvements in performance by countries can be assessed in the
Index of African Governance by looking at the changes in country
scores from year to year. The countries that have shown the
greatest improvements from 2000 to 2005 are Angola, Rwanda,
Eritrea, Burundi, and Sierra Leone. Angola's score improved by 12.3
points from 2000 to 2005.
The country that has shown the largest decline in government
performance as measured by the Index between 2000 and 2005 is
Guinea-Bissau. Its score declined by 9.4 points Other countries
that have shown declining performance between 2000 and 2005 include
Namibia, Cote d'Ivoire, the Central African Republic, Benin, and
Ranking and Score in Alphabetical Order
Country Ranking Overall Score
Angola 42 44.3
Benin 13 61.2
Botswana 3 73.0
Burkina Faso 21 56.7
Burundi 40 46.8
Cameroon 24 55.6
Cape Verde 4 72.9
Central Afr. Rep. 41 46.7
Chad 46 38.8
Comoros 26 53.8
Congo 30 52.1
Cote d'Ivoire 36 48.8
D. R. of Congo 47 38.6
Djibouti 29 52.5
Equatorial Guinea 32 51.6
Eritrea 38 48.3
Ethiopia 27 53.2
Gabon 6 67.4
Gambia 22 55.8
Ghana 8 66.8
Guinea 33 51.5
Guinea-Bissau 44 42.7
Kenya 15 59.3
Lesotho 11 64.1
Liberia 43 42.7
Madagascar 17 57.7
Malawi 12 63.7
Mali 20 56.9
Mauritania 16 58.8
Mauritius 1 86.2
Mozambique 23 55.8
Namibia 7 67.0
Niger 28 53.1
Nigeria 37 48.3
Rwanda 18 57.5
Sao Tome & Principe 10 65.3
Senegal 9 66.0
Seychelles 2 83.1
Sierra Leone 39 48.3
Somalia 48 28.1
South Africa 5 71.1
Sudan 45 40.0
Swaziland 34 50.9
Tanzania 14 60.7
Togo 35 49.8
Uganda 25 55.4
Zambia 19 57.5
Zimbabwe 31 52.0
New Governance Index Is 'An African Effort' for Development
25 September 2007
By Katy Gabel
The "Ibrahim Index of African Governance" announced in London and
Cape Town on Tuesday is a project of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation,
which was established as part of the vision of leading African
businessman Mo Ibrahim. He spoke to Katy Gabel of allAfrica.com.
How was the index prepared? What sort of people were on the
research teams, and how did Africans participate?
The index was prepared totally independently by the Kennedy
School of Government. We gave the project to what we saw as the
foremost academic institution working in the area of governance.
It was led by Professor Robert Rotberg and his researchers ...
We also had a supervisory - an advisory - committee comprised of
about twelve [people] - mainly academics - from Africa to advise
the Kennedy School of Government. We had people from Kenya, from
Zambia, from Malawi, from Sudan, from South Africa, etc., really
acknowledged, good people to help with the direction of the
project. We have the cooperation of many institutions - we had
NGOs, think tanks, who were kind enough and supportive enough,
because there was no point in re-inventing the wheel here. We are
very grateful to the United Nations, to the World Bank, the IMF,
the WHO, Unicef, Transparency International, Freedom House - for
all the organizations which collect a certain amount of data and
give it to us.
So we're able to collect data and we're able to really construct
- when I say we, I mean the academics at Harvard - a
comprehensive set of data and verify and fill in the gaps. They
[the team of academics] sent some people to some capitals to fill
in gaps. They communicated with government statistical offices -
it was really a measured effort to try to get the most accurate
set of data possible for Africa.
Why is this index important?
The value of the index will be more and more apparent as we go
and build the databases year after year. For example, this year
we'll be using 2002 through 2005. In coming years, you will be
able to trace countries as they move up or as they fall. What
matters, really, is not where you are on the table, but where you
If you are the leader of a country at the bottom of the table,
and in five years you move up on the table, then you have done
something great. Your course is much better than someone who
started at number four and ended up at four again, or five.
Nothing happened there.
Are you confident that these rankings reflect how effective
It must be. Because me, as a person - I have no opinion about who
is better or worse. I am not a politician. I am not in politics.
I'm just a citizen. It is interesting for me to know who is doing
better than the others.
... We all have our perceptions. I go to visit a country, I end
up in a five-star hotel in a nice city and I'm driven there and
taken back and I say, "Wow, this is a wonderful country, it's
safe." But I've been looked after. Is the country really safe?
How do we get the facts away from perception?
As such, what comes, comes. What we need to make sure is that all
the numbers are correct. We're inviting every government and
every institution in Africa to please, if they disagree with any
number, please correct us. Please meet with our people. We're
going to pay attention and we will verify. Each number here is
clearly defined - where it came from, how to source each
sub-category [of data]. If anybody disagrees with a number,
please come forward and we will have a discussion. We will have a
discussion with the academics, and we will facilitate that to
make sure that mistakes, if any, will be corrected, because we
have no interest in publishing a wrong number. Not only numbers,
even methodology. We have 58 sub-categories - maybe some people
will suggest we should have more.
Some of the results are surprising ...
What is happening here is that there are so many components to
this [and] the different components can measure differently ...
For example, if safety and security of individuals is [measured],
it is quite possible that in Zimbabwe you have a better safety
score than in Nigeria - I'm just thinking [of possible reasons].
I can look here at the table and see that Nigeria is scoring with
62 in security and Zimbabwe with 75. Sometimes in dictatorships
you have high security and street safety, for example. People
might be very safe, in that sense - petty crimes and violence, I
mean. So it depends what areas you're measuring on.
I think that what really matters here is ... where people are
moving. If you look at 2002 and 2005, you can see the rises and
falls [in overall ranking]. I'm sure Zimbabwe has been falling
there like a stone. Don't forget that Zimbabwe was quite a
developed country, with good, developed networks and it had
telecommunications - it had cellular way before Nigeria had it.
There are certain things there which were happening, but then
there was a steep fall over time. Also, don't forget this is data
for 2005. When we have the data for 2006 and 2007 I think you
will see more changes.
Are all sub-categories given equal weight?
As far as I know, all the data in the categories and
sub-categories was weighted equally except in the area of
security where some data was more reliable than other data and
[the team] weighted one or two sub-categories. But in all other
areas everything was weighted equally. That was my understanding.
Does this index account for the unequal status of some countries
- for example, a country which has been through a war, or one
which has been the beneficiary of preferential trade agreements?
No - we are trying to stay away from political relationships or
judgments. What we're trying to say is that at the end,
governance is reflected in what is delivered to people. If you
have a good trade agreement, for example, hopefully that will
reduce prices and help exports, etc. and [so] that will be
captured by other measurements.
We are not commenting on the policies. We are trying to take a
snapshot of what's happening [between] certain years for
everybody. We're measuring things - telecommunications, water,
electricity - how many people have [access to] these things. It
all comes under sustainable economic development.
Policies should reflect in goods delivered to people. We're
trying to capture it [this way] instead of going through this
endless discussion about policies - what is good, what is bad -
which becomes, at the end of the day, very subjective.
Given that this year's data only spans the past five years, to
what extent do you expect the index to inform that decision of
the committee which will select the forthcoming "Mo Ibrahim Prize
for Achievement in African Leadership"?
That is a very good question. It will give [them] some ideas, but
some of the leaders they are considering might have started way
before that. This is unavoidable because we cannot go back in
history and reinvent data. That data doesn't exist it's not
What I expect is that the Prize Committee - which I'm not a
member of, by the way, but is comprised of a number of very wise
and experienced people [will be] able to use their judgment to
augment what information they can glean from this paper and
select the winner.
[Soon] the job will be easier, because you're going to have more
and more data on the past and you'll be able to trace changes.
You really need to see the index as a project in progress. The
true value of this complete index will become very apparent
before maybe five or seven years, when we can look back and see
the development of data.
How can this index help international organizations, regional
organizations, and even civil society groups?
It's really a genuine piece of work which people should pay
attention to because it will help. If people study this
information, it will help. It will help both governments and
civil society. It is not meant as a means to shame or to point a
finger because we have no interest in doing that. It's just an
objective way to say, "Guys, here is a snapshot of what's
happening in all its detail. Have a look and see what we can do
Do you hope that the index will replace other measurements
currently used by aid agencies and donor countries?
We are not really doing this for Western governments or donors.
We exist for Africans. This is an African effort. Our foundation
is an African foundation. What we really care about is African
civil society and African governance.
We hope that what we have here is the basis of an objective and
rational dialogue so that [all parties] can have a meaningful
dialogue. People can ask, "Why are we moving up here?" or "Why
are we moving down here?" "That country next door managed to
improve health. Let's see what they have done and we can learn
from them." It could be a nice tool. That's really what we'd like
to have happen that the African people themselves use this data
to see how they can move forward.
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