The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has just released its 2011 Index of African Governance. I’d encourage you to follow the link and download to your heart’s content. For most of you the Summary will be more than sufficient. On the whole Ibrahim himself argues, “The findings of the 2011 Index present a complex yet hopeful picture for African governance. An optimistic story is emerging from our continent’s successes.” And keep in mind that Ibrahim is a clear-eyed realist — he’s not the type to engage in empty posturing or puffery. If anything Ibrahim would be likely to dampen enthusiasm.
Of the 53 countries assessed (South Sudan had not yet gained autonomy and Western Sahara has not yet been recognized as an independent nation state) here are the top ten:
1. Mauritius 2. Cape Verde 3. Botswana 4. Seychelles 5. South Africa 6. Namibia 7. Ghana 8. Lesotho 9. Tunisia 10. Egypt
Clearly Southern Africa does well, with four representatives in the top ten, as do islands, with three.
The bottom ten (from the very worst to the merely awful):
53. Somalia 52. Chad 51. Zimbabwe 50. Democratic Republic of Congo 49. Central African Republic 48. Sudan 47. Eritrea 46. Côte d’Ivoire 45. Equitorial Guinea 44. Guinea-Bissau
Obviously the instability in the Horn and in Central Africa explains a great deal of the composition of the bottom feeders. And parts of West Africa continue to be wracked with instability though that region seems to have some of the continent’s greatest variance with a number of success stories (Ghana, Benin at 11, Senegal at 15) to go with those on the other end of the spectrum.