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African countries show 'decline in economic opportunity'

FOUNDER: Mo Ibrahim

MAURITIUS, CAPE Verde, Botswana, South Africa and the Seychelles have topped an annual chart assessing how well countries in African are governed.

But the rankings also showed that each of them have declined in some aspects compared to the previous year.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which compiles the index, measures categories including overall government performance, safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunities and human development in countries across the continent.

The countries at the bottom - Eritrea, Central African Republic and Somalia - have all seen conflicts in recent times.

Kenya, notably, ascended the ranks moving from 21 last year to 17 this year.

At the continental level, average overall governance performance has registered a slight improvement over the last five years.

Of the 52 African countries ranked in the index, 41 showed progress in human development, while 39 indicated an improvement in government performance.

But overall safety and rule of law indicators slid, and sustainable economic opportunities also declined.

Mo Ibrahim, a leading Sudanese businessman who founded the index, said: "Africa is progressing but maybe not in the way you think it is. Even if the overall picture looks good, we must all remain vigilant and not get complacent.

“We must welcome the fact that 13 out of the 52 countries show wide-reaching gains, having improved in overall governance and in the political, social and economic governance dimensions over the past five years.”

He warned: "The dramatic deterioration or underperformance of some countries are a cause for concern. Over the past five years, every one of the top five ranking countries has deteriorated in at least one category, demonstrating that even the highest performers need to remain vigilant and retain an ongoing commitment to the governance agenda."

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