The 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) released on Monday shows that South Africa ranks fourth out of 52 countries.
South Africa scored 73.3 out of a 100, a slight improvement of 0.3 from last year. The overall governance showed a mild improvement in participation of human rights, sustainable growth and human development – 74.4, 71.3 and 78.8 respectively but only scored 68.1 in Safety and Rule of Law.
The main reason behind the lower score was Personal Security, which scored a low 30.4 making it one of the top 10 countries on the continent to receive lowest scores in Safety & Rule of Law.
Safety & Rule of Law is the only category in the 2014 IIAG to have demonstrated two consecutive five-year period deteriorations in the past ten years.
The index is supposed to provide a framework for citizens, government, institutions and the private sector to assess the delivery of public good, services and policy outcomes across the continent.
Mo Ibrahim, founder and chairperson of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation that was established to support good governance and exceptional leadership on the African continent, said the index was designed to reject the “one-size-fits-all” attitude when looking at Africa
“Anyone who wants a true grasp of African realities must first reject the one-size-fits-all approach which reduces the African continent geographically or governance conceptually, in favour of a more granular approach,” said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim said the approach often taken when dealing with Africa was either of Afro-pessimism of Afro-optimism which is why a call for an Afro-realist approach was necessary.
The index showed that 13 out of the 52 countries had wide-reaching gains, having improved in overall governance and in the political, social and economic governance dimensions over the past five years. However, the dramatic deteriorations or underperformance of some countries are a cause for concern.
“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 on-going commitment to the governance agenda,” said Ibrahim.
In addition Ibrahim said: “The results of the 2014 IIAG challenge our perceptions about the state of African governance. Africa is progressing but the story is complex and doesn’t fit the stereotypes.”
Africa Rising narrative
Jay Naidoo, board member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said “we need to make sure that the Africa Rising narrative that everyone is talking about truly benefits all African people”. Nigeria, the strongest economy in Africa, ranked 37th, a slight improvement from the 2013 ranking where the country took 41st position.
Nigeria has seen a safety and rule of law deterioration by 6.6 score points and human development has deteriorated slightly by 0.3 points. But for the counter balance, Nigeria has seen an improvement in sustainable economic opportunities at 3.8 and a bigger improvement in participation and human rights at 6.4.
Mauritius held onto its top spot followed by Cape Verde and Botswana but each still recorded deterioration in some aspects.