Rwanda Moves Up Mo Ibrahim Index Rankings

Rwanda has risen two places in the overall ranking of the latest Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) to 23rd.

Rwanda has been part of seven countries that have significantly improved in their overall governance score since 2000 to 2011, according to the Index. The others are Liberia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

This is the sixth year in which governance outcomes in Africa have been measured, looking at both country and regional performances across four major categories -Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development – and 88 component indicators.

According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Mauritius came top in the overall index, followed by Cape Verde, Botswana and the Seychelles, continuing the same pattern as last year. Somalia was last, a position it has occupied since the index was first published. The country came last in each of the four category rankings. Somalia’s overall score has declined since 2006. Tanzania moved into the top 10 for the first time this year, while Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola registered significant improvements. Sudan and South Sudan were not included this year.

Speaking ahead of the index launch on Monday, the Sudanese-born philanthropist Mo Ibrahim told the Guardian that what Africa needs is a balanced development.

“Economic success cannot be a replacement for human rights or participation, or democracy … it doesn’t work,” he said. “It worries us a lot when we don’t see the trickle-through factor, when gain goes to the top 1per cent or 2 per cent, leaving the rest behind.”

Ibrahim also advised the governments in Kigali and Kinshasa together with their friends to sit down and talk to find a lasting solution to the chaos in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Its not in anybody’s interest to leave the eastern part of Congo in chaos. Rwanda and Congo need to sit down an find a solution,” he said. “Move away from name calling and finger pointing. Its time for the parties to sit together with the help of their friends and find a solution to the chronic problem of Congo.”

The biggest announcement of the night however was that there is no winner of the 2012 Mo Ibrahim Prize for African leadership.

The $5-million prize, which is awarded each year to a democratically elected president who showed excellent leadership and a commitment to good governance, serves to encourage leaders of African countries to leave office after their terms expire instead of clinging onto power.

There have been only three winners – former presidents Festus Mogae (Botswana), Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique) and Pedro Verona Pires (Cape Verde) – since the prize was set up six years ago.

According to the prize committee, no candidate had met all of the tough criteria this year.

“If we say, ‘we’re going to have a prize for exceptional leadership,’ we have to stick to that. We are not going to compromise,” Ibrahim said. “We’re not saying, every year we have to find somebody.”

The $5-million award is given over 10 years followed by $200,000 a year for life.

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