Winners and losers of Mo Ibrahim’s African governance index

Mo Ibrahim in Tunis earlier this year.

ONE supporter, African entrepreneur and philanthropist Mo Ibrahim this week announced the winner of the 2012 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership and released his 2012 Assessment of African Governance, organized by watchdog group the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

For the third time since announcing the award, there is no winner in 2012 for the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, the most valuable individual prize in the world. The fact that no candidate met the requirements for the prize is a reflection of the continuing challenges of governance and leadership that many African countries face, which Mo Ibrahim is working tirelessly to address.

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But it’s good to know that Mo only awards the Prize to individuals who truly deserve it. The $5 million Prize is awarded to a democratically elected former African head of state or government, who governed well, raised living standards, and then – here’s the key – voluntarily left office.

Last year, Cape Verde President Pedro Verona Pires won the prize. In earlier years the prize was won by Botswana’s President Festus Mogae and Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano.

Although there was no winner for his Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation did release the results for the 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. It ranks African countries by progress across 88 indicators in four categories: safety and the rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

Fifty-two of Africa’s 54 countries are ranked in the 2012 Index. Because of the recent reconfiguration of Sudan and the new state of South Sudan, insufficient data was available to include them in the 2012 Index. Two indicators are new to the 2012 index: prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), literacy and revenue collection. The PMTCT data is from UNAIDS, literacy data comes from UNESCO, and includes basic numeracy. Revenue collection is measured using data from the African Development Bank and World Bank and covers both the legal tax structure and actual tax collection.

The top 5 ranked countries in the Index have been the same for the past 5 years. Mauritius came first, followed by Cape Verde, Botswana, the Seychelles and South Africa. Somalia ranked last overall, as it has since the index was first published – in addition, Somalia’s overall score has declined since 2006.

While the countries that rank at the extremes remain relatively stagnant, the movements within the Index are the most interesting. There were some improvements. For example, Tanzania moved into the top 10 for the first time this year, and Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola registered significant improvement overall.

Angola, Liberia and Togo moved out of the bottom ten performers on the 2012 Index, but they were replaced by Eritrea, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria. This is Nigeria’s first time in the bottom ten on the 2012 index. On the other end of the spectrum, Madagascar has declined significantly in their overall score in 2012. The index summary illustrates the relative decline of “regional powerhouses” Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. All four of these countries’ score declined in safety and the rule of law and participation and human rights since 2006.

Check out the website for the 2012 Ibrahim Index where you can interact with the data and rankings yourself.