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Somalia shamed in African governance index
LONDON, September 25, 2007 - Somalia was named and shamed Tuesday as the worst-governed country in sub-Saharan Africa in a survey of political performance across the continent.
The inaugural annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance, published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, ranks 48 countries against 58 individual measures.
The foundation uses those measures to rank countries on five factors: safety and security; rule of law, transparency and corruption; participation and human rights; sustainable economic opportunity; and human development.
Island nation Mauritius topped the index (86.2), followed by Seychelles (83.1), Botswana (73.0), Cape Verde (72.9) and South Africa (71.1).
The bottom five were Guinea-Bissau (42.7), Sudan (40.0), Chad (38.8), the Democratic Republic of Congo (38.6) and Somalia (28.1).
The foundation was created by Mo Ibrahim, a wealthy Sudanese businessman and the Celtel International telecommunications firm founder, with the index drawn up by experts at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in the United States.
It was established as an African-based project to recognise good leaders -- and name and shame the shoddy regimes.
"We are shining a light on governance in Africa, and in so doing we are making a unique contribution to improving the quality of governance," said Ibrahim.
The index "is a tool to hold governments to account and frame the debate about how we are governed. Africans are setting benchmarks not only for their own continent, but for the world."
"Without good governance, we cannot move forward. We need to move away from the sentiments to see what is really happening on the ground. More important than the ranking, it's important to see the movements over the years."
The index is based on data from 2005, the last year with reasonably complete available data.
Compared to 2000 rankings, Rwanda was the biggest riser, up 18 places at 18th, followed by Ethiopia, up 10 places at 27th.
Guinea-Bissau performed the worst, falling down 21 places to 44th, followed by DR Congo, down 12 places at 47th.
Zimbabwe was ranked 31st on 52.0.
The foundation, launched last year, has the backing of former South African president Nelson Mandela, former UN chief Kofi Annan, former US president Bill Clinton and former British prime minister Tony Blair, among others.
Professor Robert Rotberg, from the Kennedy School and an Ibrahim Index director, said: "It's a testament of the new trend in Africa that African businessmen take on the challenges and try to do something about governance.
"Good governance is responsible for bringing peace, stability and prosperity. Bad governance is responsible for conflict and poverty."
The first annual Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, to be awarded on October 22, will land a former head of state or government with a five-million-dollar (3.5-million-euro) prize split over 10 years with 200,000 dollars annually for the rest of their lives.
A further 200,000 dollars a year will be made available for good causes espoused by the former leader.
The prize far exceeds the 10 million Swedish kronor (1.5 million dollars, 1.1 million euros) given to recipients of a Nobel Prize.