The Mo Ibrahim Index

Yes folks, it’s that time of the year again when the Mo Ibrahim Foundation releases its findings on African governance, development and economic growth.  The main findings of this year’s report is “an increase in economic and human development” but disappointing reverses in democracy.  Press release here.

These sort of indexes and rating systems should always be taken into consideration within their context, but it does serve as an interesting marker for where the continent is, in the grand scheme of things.

The top order has a familiar look to it, with Mauritius, Seychelles and Botswana coming in first to third.  It’s also a case of the usual suspects holding up the table, with Somalia, Chad, DRC and Zimbabwe fighting it out for last place.  Although Zimbabwe has made improvements in many areas, it can take some time for this to show up on the Mo Ibrahim Index.

The recent gains by the continent by way of democratic reforms appear to have fallen behind, but I don’t think this is a huge cause of concern.  Governments across the world are in turmoil; the Democrats in the United States are about to get a walloping in the Mid-Terms, there is an uneasy coalition government in place in the United Kingdom, several other European states have stronger right-wing influences than ever before, and rising power Brazil is heading towards a run-off in its presidential election.  This may not be a reflection on global democracy, but in a young continent like Africa these global trends have a more noticeable effect.

The news about economic growth is very pleasing.  Some reports show African growth higher than anywhere else in the world.  Perhaps this has to do with Africa’s vast wealth of raw materials which will always be in high demand, unlike the collapse of the US motor industry last year, or the struggling Japanese electronic market.  Africa weathered the ‘global’ recession very well, and now is in a good position to make further gains for itself.

Africa’s position of economic gains but democratic losses is not unique.  In fact, India can be seen to be going through a similar situation.  Economic growth is through the roof , but it still suffers from a hugely decentralised government that appears unable to keep up with this growth.  An example of this can be seen in India’s rather disappointing preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

All in all I think things are looking positive.  But there are events on the horizon which are going to attract more attention to the continent, such as the possible succession of South Sudan, elections in Zimbabwe, and the white elephant in the room that is Somalia.  Come on Africa, lets prove the pessimists wrong.

Published in: on October 4, 2010 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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