ZIMBABWE was this week ranked by the Ibrahim Index on African Governance (IIAG), done by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the worst governed country in the region despite registering a slight improvement on a continental scale over the last four years.
Editor’s Memo by Dumisani Muleya
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 by Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa.
Its mission is to put governance at the centre of African development discourse. Leadership and governance are key to progress or lack of it thereof.
The Ibrahim Prize laureates have so far been laudable African leaders: former presidents Nelson Mandela (honorary) of South Africa, Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique (2007), Festus Mogae, Botswana (2008), Pedro Pires, Cape Verde (2011) and Namibia’s Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2014.
The overarching message in this year’s IIAG is that when looking at the average of all countries, overall governance progress in Africa has stalled since 2011. However, Africa is made up of 54 countries, and there are varied results across different categories.
Further, the IIAG is comprised of 93 indicators, which make up the 14 sub-categories of four categories. Each has their own score, for each country, across a 15-year time period (2000-2014 inclusive).
One can, therefore, pull out some all-embracing findings, but it is important to note that underneath these there is a wealth of other data and information which address complex issues.
According to the IIAG report released on Monday, Zimbabwe improved on its rankings driven by rare progress within the safety and rule of law category, among others.
Over the last four years, only six countries improved across all four categories. The star performers are: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia and Zimbabwe. An interesting mix which includes democracies, authoritarian regimes, a monarchy and a conflict zone, which shows that the grading methods and matrices are sophisticated enough to capture the nuances.
Coming from a low base, Zimbabwe improved in participation & human rights, with strong showings in the sub-categories of rights and gender. The country also did well in national security, personal safety, public management and infrastructure, welfare and health.
However, it maintained a tail-end position in the region after being ranked 12th out of 12 studied Sadc states. Overall, Zimbabwe came 44th out of 54 African countries assessed.
This is not surprising given how the country has been run or indeed run down since 1980.
Zimbabwe — a bastion of misrule — has been badly mismanaged and reduced to a shambles by an incompetent and corrupt toxic leadership.
The top 10 improvers in overall governance over the last four years, the report shows, represent almost a quarter of the continent’s population. These in a descending order include Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Seychelles, Ghana, Tunisia, Senegal and Lesotho.
The index itself, which takes into account a variety of indicators ranging from corruption and rule of law to infrastructure and sanitation, shows of the 10 countries ranked best, five have seen a decline in governance scores since 2011.
The report, the ninth so far, sadly notes that despite having some of the world’s fastest growing economies and preparing to take its place in a future global economy which will see the earth’s population reach 10 billion by 2050, overall Africa’s progress in governance is stalling.
The main reasons for the stymie are declines in two broad areas: those relating to safety and the economy. Although the average decline in measures of safety and the rule of law is pulled down by conflicts such as those in South Sudan, Libya and the Central African Republic, even nominally peaceful countries also slipped on this score.
Among the recidivists are Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, Seychelles and Ghana. Although Zimbabwe improved, it unsurprisingly remains bottom in Sadc.