SA ranked 5th in Africa for governance

12 October 2011

South Africa is ranked fifth out of 53 African countries in the 2011 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, sustaining its top five ranking for the third year running, behind Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana and Seychelles.

The country maintained its scores on three of the index’s main groupings, holding steady at 3rd for participation and human rights, and 7th for both sustainable economic opportunity and safety and rule of law. However, it slipped from 5th to 8th place for human development.

Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola welcomed the results, which were released on Monday, saying in a statement: “Steady as she goes, is one’s first impression of this vital index’s ranking of South Africa’s performance. This is an important message in the light of such turbulence in the world.”

Matola said it was encouraging to see African leaders being recognised for their effort in reshaping the reputations and governance infrastructure of their countries and, in consequence, the reputation of brand Africa.

2011 Ibrahim Prize winner

Cape Verde President Pedro Verona Pires, winner of the 2011 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, was honoured for his human rights record and governance achievements, including increasing the island’s prosperity while making it stable and democratic – and for refusing to stand for president for a third term.

“Honouring President Pires underscores a vital fact – that there is a strong correlation between countries that have positive reputations and those that are globally competitive,” Matola said.

The Ibrahim leadership prize as well as the country rankings are an important backdrop against which the continent’s progress – and that of individual countries – can be measured.

Economic growth ‘must benefit citizens’

One of the major trends is the evident economic growth across Africa, although this had to be viewed against “the stagnation, and in many cases the reversal, in the rule of law and citizens’ rights”, said Mo Ibrahim, the foundation’s founder and chair.

“We sounded alarm bells last year concerning this issue. If economic progress is not translated into better quality of life and respect for citizens’ rights, we will witness more Tahrir Squares in Africa.”

Established in 2007, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation gathered a comprehensive collection of quantitative data, making an annual assessment of governance performance in every African country possible.

The Ibrahim Index is currently compiled in partnership with an advisory council and a technical committee that include experts from a range of African institutions. It also works with Afrobarometer and Global Integrity South Africa, aiming to provide a framework for citizens, public authorities and partners to assess progress in governance on the continent.

SAinfo reporter