Africa

Africa democratic rights advances reversed, says report

  • 4 October 2010
  • From the section Africa
Construction worker in Kenya
Image caption Economic growth is being undermined by reversals in rights and security, the index suggests

Africa is developing economically but some democratic advances have been reversed, an annual index suggests.

The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance ranks 53 African countries according to 88 indicators, ranging from corruption to education.

Mauritius is at the top of the list while Somalia is at the bottom.

The index suggests that across Africa, economic and health gains are being undermined by declines in political rights, security and the rule of law.

The index, which has been published since 2007, scores countries on a scale of zero to 100. It is sponsored by the Sudanese telecoms mogul Mo Ibrahim.

"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," Mr Ibrahim said in a statement.

In this year's report, the average score was 49 - largely unchanged from previous years.

Mauritius (82), the Seychelles (75) and Botswana (74) top the overall rankings, while Somalia (8), Chad (31) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (32) are at the bottom.

Angola, Liberia and Togo saw marked improvements in their scores, while Eritrea and Madagascar slipped significantly.

The index groups indicators in four groups. In two of them, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development, the picture was mostly positive - and in fact no country declined significantly in these categories, the index authors said.

But in the other two categories - Safety and Rule of Law, and Participation and Human Rights - the picture was grimmer.

'Depressing'

On the economic front, progress was made, with 41 of the 53 nations registering improvements.

Indeed, Mr Ibrahim points out that Africa is currently growing at four times the pace of Europe, helped by booming portable telephony and raw materials industries.

But 35 states have become less secure, while two-thirds of African countries show a declining performance in terms of human rights, the index suggests.

These are depressing findings, says the BBC's Africa editor Martin Plaut.

Countries near the bottom of the index, such as Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all still suffer from rebellions and civil wars - problems Africa was meant to put in the past, he adds.

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