LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Somalia was the worst-ranked country in an annual African governance index released on Monday, which showed even the best performers had slipped in at least one category over the past five years.
The east African country ranked lowest in all four categories of the 2014 Ibrahim Index: safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development.
Mauritius kept the top spot, followed by Cape Verde, Botswana, South Africa and the Seychelles, all of which were in the top five last year.
The index is based on more than 100 indicators from over 30 independent African and international sources.
Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese telecoms tycoon who founded the index, welcomed the fact that 13 out of 52 countries had improved in overall governance as well as political, social and economic governance over the past five years.
Yet he cautioned the highest performers to be on guard to maintain hard-won good governance gains.
“Over the past five years, every one of the top five ranking countries has deteriorated in at least one category, demonstrating that even the highest performers need to remain vigilant and retain an ongoing commitment to the governance agenda,” Ibrahim said in the foreword to this year’s report.
Mauritius, South Africa and the Seychelles slipped in the safety and rule of law category, Cape Verde in human development and Botswana in sustainable economic development. South Africa also took a few steps backward on human rights.
Those who improved most in overall governance were Ivory Coast, Guinea, Niger, Zimbabwe and Senegal, while the situation deteriorated most in Egypt, Libya, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic and Mali.
Southern Africa scored the highest regional average, with Namibia and Lesotho joining Mauritius, Botswana and South Africa in the top 10.
Central Africa got the lowest regional average, with Central African Republic coming in just ahead of Somalia in the overall ranking and Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Congo also among the 10 bottom-ranked countries.