Mauritius, a small Indian Ocean island nation, is the best-governed nation in Africa, according to the latest governance index by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. This is the fifth consecutive year that Mauritius is finishing top of the annual index, whose main aim is to support and encourage good governance in Africa.
Out of 53 African countries, Mauritius, which has a population of about 1.2 million people, got the highest overall score of 81.4 percent followed by Seychelles with 73.4 percent and Botswana with 72.7 percent respectively. At the bottom end of the table was Somalia with a score of only 11.6 percent behind Africa’s newest state South Sudan, which scored 20.2 percent.
Although Rwanda was not included in this year’s Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), it is reported to be the only African country that has maintained year-on-year improvement of its overall governance score. The foundation further notes that no country registers a year-on-year decline.
IIAG, which was started in 2000, is designed to make a continuous assessment of the performance and trajectories of countries, groups and regions with regard to governance.
According to this year’s index, the African continent has, on average, been improving, albeit gradually, in the overall governance performance, with Mauritius remaining at the top of the table.
IIAG says the progress is being driven by improved performance in three of its four governance categories, including Human Development, Participation & Human Rights, and Sustainable Economic Opportunity. However, there seems to be a steady decline in the Safety & Rule of Law category.
“Looking at the last five years within this period, varying trends appear. Human Development and Sustainable Economic Opportunity are still progressing but at a slower pace. Participation & Human Rights is the only category to marginally pick up speed,” IIAG writes.
“Conversely, deterioration in Safety & Rule of law, although still present, shows signs of abating.”
Part of the reason why Mauritius is doing so well in terms of governance is that the government has established strict codes of conduct for civil servants and has put in place mechanisms to ensure the codes are properly adhered to.
Under the current President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib, cabinet ministers are required to uphold political impartiality of the civil service and ensure that there is no conflict of interest between public duties and private interests. Perhaps this is something that other African countries should emulate.
by Fredrick Ngugi