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Egypt, Libya plunge in Africa governance index

29 September 2014, 21:03

London - Egypt and Libya plunged in an annual ranking of good governance in Africa released Monday whose publishers also warned the raging Ebola epidemic will have a political fallout for the already fragile countries affected.

The biggest riser in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, released in London, was Ivory Coast.

Mo Ibrahim, the Sudan-born telecoms tycoon who founded the index, said overall governance had improved on the continent over the past five years, though all the leading countries have seen reverses in some fields.

Also read: Beds scarce, staff scarcer in Liberia's Ebola wards

Mauritius remains at the top of the 52 countries ranked, while Somalia stays far adrift at the bottom of the table.

The index ranks countries according to 95 indicators grouped under four categories: safety and the rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

Egypt and Libya, two countries shaken by Arab Spring revolutions, have fallen the furthest in the rankings, while Tunisia, which started the wave of uprisings, has remained relatively stable.

Egypt has shown the biggest deterioration in overall governance over the past five years, dropping eight points to 51.1 out of 100. It is consequently down 14 places in the African rankings to 26th.

Neighbouring Libya dropped 7.4 points to 42.1, and 16 places in the rankings to 43rd.

Other big fallers were Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic and Mali.

Ivory Coast on the up

The biggest gain in the index over the last five years has been Ivory Coast, up 7.8 points to 44.3, and rising six places in the index to 40th.

"They have commendable leadership and a clear vision as to where they want to take the country," Abdoulie Janneh, one of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation board members, told AFP.

"It is regaining its place as the economic leader in francophone west Africa."

The other big risers were Guinea, Niger, Senegal and Zimbabwe.

The top five countries in the 2014 index remained the same: Mauritius (81.7), Cape Verde (76.6), Botswana (76.2), South Africa (73.3) and the Seychelles (73.2).

But even the leaders showed some reversals too, with South Africa losing ground in safety and the rule of law, and participation and human rights.

The bottom five in the 2014 overall rankings were Guinea-Bissau (33.2), Chad (32.3), Eritrea (29.8), the Central African Republic (24.8) and Somalia (8.6).

Ebola fear factor 'colossal

Sierra Leone (25th), Liberia (31st) and Guinea (42nd), all gripped by west Africa's Ebola crisis, were ill-equipped to handle the epidemic, Ibrahim said, while there are fears it will drag them lower in the rankings.

"It's no coincidence that the three countries most affected are fragile, coming out of conflicts with limited ability to deliver efficient health care," he said.

"Countries with more resilient systems, like Senegal and Nigeria, have managed to contain it."

Janneh said the effects of the outbreak would likely be reflected in future indices.

"It is causing severe economic hardship, affecting agriculture, schools and tourism. The fear factor is just colossal," he said.

Overall across Africa, the index showed a 0.9-point improvement in governance over the last five years.

Economic improvements drove up African governance levels from 2004 to 2008, but in the last five years have flatlined.

"With everybody talking about the 'economic miracle' in Africa, we need to watch out here," Ibrahim said.

Progress in the participation and human rights category is what is now the main driver of overall African governance improvements, with Tunisia, Libya, Ivory Coast, Niger and Guinea showing the biggest rises.

Previously the index has been announced alongside the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership the world's biggest individual prize.

Given to retiring good leaders, no suitable candidates have been found in four of the last five years.

The award overshadowed the more meaty data charting Africa's progress, so this year the two were being unveiled separately although no date has yet been set for the leadership prize announcement.



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