News / Africa

African Governance Index Shows Decline

More than 2,000 people attend the opening of the first congress of Morocco's ruling party since the moderate Islamists won the November polls which took place under the theme of good governance in Rabat, July 14, 2012.
More than 2,000 people attend the opening of the first congress of Morocco's ruling party since the moderate Islamists won the November polls which took place under the theme of good governance in Rabat, July 14, 2012.
Anita Powell
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has released its 2012 African Governance index, an annual study that this year showed worrying slides among Africa’s economic powerhouses and in Zimbabwe. The foundation was also due to announce which former African leader won the coveted $5 million African good governance award. On that front, the foundation had a surprise.  

No winner?

And the world’s largest prize for excellence in African governance goes to … no one.

It’s not the first time this has happened. Nor, says Mo Ibrahim Foundation board member Jay Naidoo, is it surprising.

“The award is not just for ordinary service, it is for exceptional service," said Naidoo. "And the criteria that the board and that the prize committee uses, no one has exceeded and achieved exceptional service in terms of contributing to social cohesion, in terms of integrity, in terms of transparency, the way that they delivered services to people.

"And the board said that it is not sufficient to say we have give the prize out, itself it’s a very important and powerful political message to say that we do not believe that anyone is entitled to this prize in this year,” added Naidoo.

Standards

Ibrahim, the Sudanese telecoms billionaire who started the award in 2006, said Monday in London that the prize committee refused to compromise on its standards.

The committee also declined to give an award in 2009 and 2010.

In addition to showing exceptional leadership, the award stipulates that the winner be democratically elected and that he or she leave office voluntarily after serving only a constitutionally mandated term.

Those qualities are rare among African leaders. Many of the continent's leaders serve for decades before dying in office. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is an example: he has led since 1980 and says he wants to stay in power.

On Monday, Ibrahim singled out the 88-year-old Mugabe, saying his leadership prevented the resource-rich southern African nation from being an African powerhouse.

Possible contenders

This year there were two popular contenders for the prize: former Zambian president Rupiah Banda, who gave up power to election winner Michael Sata; and former Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, who gave up power to election winner Macky Sall -- though Wade notably changed the constitution to allow himself to run.

Former winners of the Ibrahim prize include Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Festus Mogae of Botswana and the Pedro Pires, former president of the tiny island nation of Cape Verde.

The foundation also released its annual index of African governance Monday.

Naidoo started with the good news: he says the index shows there has been clear progress and improvement in African governance in the past decade. He also cited improvement in gender issues.

“The not-so-good news is the fact that the economic powerhouses of Africa, namely Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Kenya have shown a decline in certain sectors, particularly around the issue of law, in terms of human rights, in terms of security," said Naidoo. "And I think that’s not really good news for us, because they are the ones expected to pull the African continent out of the global economic crisis.”

Rankings

South Africa topped the powerhouse group at fifth place. But Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, fell to an all-time low on the rankings, at 42nd place. Nigerian is struggling with the rise of an Islamist group that has killed well over 1,000 people in the past two years, many of them police and government officials.

Once again, tiny Mauritius nabbed the top spot among 52 ranked nations.

At the bottom, predictably, is Somalia. Even to a casual observer, Somalia performs poorly on all four of the foundation’s four criteria for good governance: safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

The ranking doesn’t include Mo Ibrahim’s nation of Sudan, or the newly independent South Sudan. The foundation says it doesn't have comprehensive data on either nation.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs