CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Mauritius’ government and private sector delivered the best services and public goods to its citizens, ranking first in an African-wide governance survey released today by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
The Indian Ocean island scored top in all four of the survey’s main categories, beating Cape Verde and next best Seychelles, with an average total score of 82.8 percent.
Fourth and fifth positions went to Botswana and Africa’s strongest economy South Africa.
In its third year and for the first time including all 53 African countries, the 2009 Ibrahim Index of Governance measures 84 indicators — broadly categorised under safety and security; participation and human rights; sustainable economic opportunity and human development.
Released at the University of Cape Town, it showed the Southern African region faring best on average with 58.1 percent, followed closely by North Africa at 57.7 percent.
The worst performing region was central Africa, averaging 40.2 percent, with West Africa placed third at 51.7 and East Africa fourth at 46.9.
The seven countries of central Africa, including Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea, all ranked outside the top 20, and with the exception of Gabon, performed below the continent’s average score.
Anarchic Somalia, a haven for pirates launching attacks on foreign ships and where an Islamist insurgency has helped paralyse effective government, propped up the index with the weakest total score of 15.2 percent.
It registered the continent’s lowest scores for economic opportunity at 0.9 per cent, and 9.1 per cent for safety and rule of law.
Just above in 52nd place was Chad, and next was Zimbabwe, where the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai faces an uphill battle to rebuild a ruined economy.
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance was created to help civil society track government performance in Africa. This year it was compiled with the assistance of various institutions, including Afrobarometer and the American University in Cairo.
Mo Ibrahim is a Sudanese-born telecommunications entrepreneur.