Press release: South Africa retains ranking in 2017 Ibrahim Index of African Governance

Every year the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance assesses the performance of all 54 African countries in categories such as human rights, the rule of law, sustainable economic opportunities and human development.

According to Mo Ibrahim, pictured, and his 2017 index of African Governance, South Africa shows signs of bouncing back after a decade-long slump. (Image: Mo Ibrahim Foundation)

Brand South Africa today welcomed the results of the 2017 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), which saw South Africa retain its rank of 6 of 54 countries assessed in the index.

In its 11th iteration, the IIAG is an annual statistical assessment of the quality of governance in every one of the 54 African countries, covering a period of 17 years from 2000. The 2017 IIAG framework has four overarching categories that reflect the foundation’s definition of governance: Safety and Rule of Law; Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; and Human Development.

In terms of these pillars, South Africa improved in the indicator of Participation and Human Rights, moving up from position 5/54 to 4/54. As a democratic nation, it is heartening to see South Africa improve its rank. South Africa’s rank in the category of Safety and Rule of Law remains the same as the previous year, at 7/54.

The IIAG’s focus on governance is a critical issue, especially in the African and emerging market context. While general governance performance, as outlined in the IIAG results, speak to general state capacity, South Africa also has notable strengths in terms of its corporate governance environment.

Commenting on the 2017 IIAG, Brand South Africa’s CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela said, “This year has been a particularly challenging one for South Africa, with a number of incidents in public administration and the private sector leading to the creation of grounds for improvements in administration. As a consequence of these incidents, whether they involved fraud, improper administration, badly informed managers or failing supervision, corporate governance in the private sector and in the public sector have become subjects that are widely discussed and reported on in the media.

“Cultivating [good] governance is high on South Africa’s agenda, which is why authorities across various stakeholder groups are working hard to safeguard and improve governance. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders, including government, business and civil society, to ensure not only that we deliver on our central mandate of providing sound and sustainable initiatives for the country’s economic and social needs, but also that we are well run, and that investments yield the required results that will address unemployment, inequality and poverty in South Africa.”

Dr Makhubela added: “Despite improvements in the areas highlighted above, Brand South Africa notes with concern a decrease in the country’s ranking on Sustainable Economic Opportunity from position two to four, and Human Development from position six to eight.

“In an increasingly competitive global landscape, the risk of poor governance remains fairly high. We need to look to institutions of governance such as Parliament, the SA Reserve Bank, the Human Rights Commission, the Financial Services Board, the Competition Tribunal, and many more, to obtain insights on how they are all playing their part in ensuring that South Africa’s Constitutional Democracy and Rule of Law continue to demonstrate high levels of resilience, maturity and good governance.”

The conversation can be followed at @Brand_SA #CompetitiveSA.