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Governance: Zimbabwe ranked worst

AN international foundation on governance has ranked Zimbabwe at the bottom of the Southern African region, beating only strife-torn Somalia and Chad on the continent.

According to the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance 2010 released last week, Zimbabwe was placed 51 out of the 53 African countries judged for their commitment to four pillars of governance — safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development. The latest index is the second since its introduction in 2007 to include 53 African countries following previous criticism over its exclusion of North African nations.
Zimbabwe had an overall score of 31, 29 out of 100. In the Southern African region, Zimbabwe was ranked the worst performer.
The index also measures the delivery of public goods and services by government and non-state actors.
“It is 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,” reads the report.
The 2010 Ibrahim Index gives a diverse picture about recent progress on governance across the continent. While many African citizens are becoming healthier and have greater access to economic opportunities than five years ago, many of them are less physically secure and less politically enfranchised.
“We must ensure that the political side of governance in Africa is not neglected,” the report says. “We have seen from evidence and experience across the world that discrepancies between political governance and economic management are unsustainable in the long term. If Africa is going to continue to make progress we need to pay attention to the rights and safety of citizens.”
“This year in order to render the Ibrahim Index more reflective of recent performance, we decided to use the latest available data for every indicator where it was available. This means that for the year marked 2007/2008, for example 2008 data was used if available and 2007 if not,” the survey indicated.
The Index used former leaders to underline the importance of governance and the reason why the survey is carried out.
Bill Clinton was quoted saying “leadership is important everywhere but especially in Africa because the tasks faced by Africa’s leaders are challenging and the lives of many millions of people will depend upon the performance of those leaders. The foundation is a good example to create growth, stability and peace in Africa.”
Kofi Anan was also quoted saying “Good governance and democracy are central to Africa’s development. Without them it will be hard if not important for  African countries to achieve  the millennium development goals by 2015.”
According to the index the 2010 version includes an additional indicator assessing governments’ statistical capacity, providing insight into governments’ commitment to outcomes-driven policy-making and evaluation. New indicators have also been included to assess gender issues, provision of antiretroviral treatment and access to clean water and sanitation. However, the paucity of data about Africa continues to be a challenge for the Foundation in the compilation of the Index.
Official data for many key indicators of governance, for example,  poverty, maternal mortality and physical infrastructure are patchy or out-of-date. Commissioning and finding indicators that allow these key areas, among others, to be included in the Index as well as strengthening the assessment of issues currently covered by the Index remain a core priority for the Foundation.
Mo Ibrahim’s foundation was established to develop a criteria for good governance, stimulate public debate and challenge the continent’s leaders to set the global benchmark on this issue. The foundation  has a vision to promote and recognise good governance that will drive Africa’s political and economic renaissance.


Winfilda Shana

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