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Mauritius Highest, Somalia Lowest on Africa Governance Index


Mauritius is the best run country in Africa and Somalia is the worst, according to a new good governance index published on Tuesday. Tendai Maphosa has the details in this report for VOA from London.

The first annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance assessed the performance of 48 nations on such categories as safety and security, rule of law, corruption, human rights, economic stability, poverty and health.

Mauritius scored highest overall on the index, followed by the Seychelles, Botswana, Cape Verde and South Africa.

Guinea Bissau, Sudan, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo join Somalia in the bottom five.

Zimbabwe, mired in a political and economic crisis, is number 31 on the list.

The index is the brainchild of sixty-one-year-old Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese businessman who was raised in Egypt and now lives in London. It was compiled for the foundation by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ibrahim, considered in many circles as the founding father of African mobile telecommunications, hopes the report will improve governance in Africa.

"I honestly believe Africa is moving forward," he said. "We had better economic performance in the last six or seven years consistently. We are over five percent growth in our economy. More and more elections are taking place. Yes some of our elections were not perfect but at least they are taking place, and they are improving and human rights are improving. There are glaring issues of course in two or three conflict points, three or four countries dominate the news, but that tends to mask what's happening in the rest of Africa."

Ibrahim's foundation is also sponsoring the Achievement in African Leadership Prize. It will be the world's most generous annual philanthropic prize, worth three times as much as the Nobel Prize. The winner will receive $5 million, spread out over 10 years, and $200,000 per year beyond that, until death.

Only democratically elected sub-Saharan leaders can qualify. They will be judged by how well they have performed in eight categories, including offering security to their citizens, as well as promoting the rule of law, economic opportunity and political freedom. To collect the award, they will have to leave office when their term ends.

A committee headed by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will select the winner of the Mo Ibrahim Prize. This year's winner will be announced next month.

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