Malawi ranks16th in African governance index: Best score since 2000

Despite growing discontent from the citizenry with the Joyce Banda administration, Malawi has, under the current leadership, registered its biggest score improvement in 13 years in the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG).

The 2013 IIAG, released in London on Monday , 14th October, indicates out of the 52 African countries Malawi is now ranking 16th, jumping by one step from last year’s position 17.

According to the seventh Ibrahim index, Malawi has registered its biggest score improvement since 2000 in the Human Development category which measures welfare, education and health.

However, despite the score improvement Malawi’s governance score remains below the regional average for Southern Africa, which is 59.2 out of 100 (the highest score).

Mo Ibrahim: His Foundation's annual governance appraisal calls for greater focus on justice and safety to avoid social unrest
Mo Ibrahim: His Foundation’s annual governance appraisal calls for greater focus on justice and safety to avoid social unrest

The country has remained on position seven (out of 12) in the Southern Africa region.

Malawi’s overall performance in the 2013 IIAG is 56.9 (out of 100), which is higher than the continental average (51.6) earning an improvement of +5.2 since 2000.

The country, according to the latest statistics, has done tremendously well in the category of Safety and Rule of Law scoring 11th  out of the 52 nations.

However, its lowest score is in the categories of Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development where it has, in both, attained position 28 out of 52.

In the Rule of Law sub-category, Malawi has also scored its highest attaining position 7 out of 52) while ranking lowest in the education sub-category by scoring 39 out of 52.

The 2013 IIAG provides full details of Malawi’s performance across four categories of governance- Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

Overall, the index shows that 94 per cent of Africans– including those in Malawi– live in a country that has experienced overall governance improvement since 2000 while the six per cent live in a country that has experienced governance deterioration since 2000.

And the countries that have experienced governance deterioration since 2000 include Madagascar, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, Libya and Mali.

The index also shows the Southern Africa region being the best performing at the overall governance level. This has been the case every year since 2000

Eight out of the 12 Southern African countries have scored above the continental average (51.6) with five ranking in the top 10 and only Zimbabwe ranking in the bottom 10.

The region has improved its overall score by +4.3 since 2000. Three categories have shown improvements since 2000 and these are Participation & Human Rights (+1.4), Sustainable Economic Opportunity (+6.7) and Human Development (+9.9) while the Safety & Rule of Law is the only category that has declined since 2000 (-0.7).

Southern Africa achieved its highest score ever since 2000 in 2012 and only declined between 2001 and 2002.  Mauritius is the highest-ranking country in the region, (ranking 1stout of 52) with an overall scoring of 82.9, says the index.

Zimbabwe is the lowest-ranking country in the region at 47 out of 52 with an overall scoring of 35.4.

However, according to the index, overall governance continues to improve at the continental level with countries that have experienced overall governance improvement since 2000 scoring 94 per cent.

Five post-conflict countries – Liberia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Burundi – top the league of the table for most improved performers since 2000.

Two of these countries- Angola and Rwanda- have shown year-on-year improvement in overall governance, coming from their lowest point in 2000 and reaching their highest peak yet in 2012.

Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said after releasing the index: “Neither Afro-pessimism nor Afro-optimism do justice to modern Africa. This is now the age of Afro-realism – an honest outlook on our continent. It’s about a celebration of its achievements but also a pragmatic acknowledgement of the challenges that lie ahead.”

No winner

Meanwhile the world’s most valuable individual prize – the Mo Ibrahim prize for good governance in Africa – has gone unclaimed yet again.

The $5m (£3.2m) prize is supposed to be awarded each year to an elected leader who governed well, raised living standards and then left office.

This is the fourth time in five years there has been no winner.

“After careful consideration, the prize committee has determined not to award the 2013 prize,”  committee chair Salim Ahmed Salim, the former Tanzanian prime minister  told a news conference in London.

The last laureate was former Cape Verde president Pedro Pires, who won in 2011.

Sudan-born telecoms entrepreneur Mr Ibrahim launched the prize in an attempt to encourage African leaders to leave power peacefully.

The $5m prize is spread over 10 years and is followed by $200,000 a year for life.—(Additional reporting by Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times)

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