Is Africa run better than before?

October 6, 2008

“People look at headlines from two or three countries and forget there are 55 countries in Africa and in most of them life is normal.”

That is what Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born telecoms entrepreneur and one of Africa’s best known business leaders, told Reuters at the launch of the 2008 Index of African Governance by his foundation.

Sudanese-born telecommunications entrepreneur Ibrahim speaks at a news conference - April 2008/Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters

The index showed that governance had improved in almost two-thirds of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa since the 2007 index.

It follows weeks after the Transparency International corruption perceptions index, on which African states featured heavily among the worst offenders.

The Ibrahim Index is based on criteria including corruption, economic stability, security, rights, laws, elections, infrastructure, poverty and health.

The winner – Mauritius – will not be much of a surprise and nor will the fact that Somalia was in last place. Liberia had shown the most improvement.

Despite the dramatic headlines from Africa’s crisis zones, an overall improvement in governance is one of the reasons cited by investors for unprecedented financial flows to Africa in recent years.

“Africa is open for business,” Ibrahim told us. “Investors should look at our growth. And with the global financial situation the way it is, perhaps their money is safer in Africa than in the U.S.”

But how deep does any improvement in governance go? How long might it last? Who is doing well and who should do more? What do you think?

12 comments

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I think Africa is doing phenomenally well… talk about a comeback after being kicked down by colonialism.

Consider that many of the old colonies are still sucking up African resources (think of Anglo-American and how much they take from South Africa – despite this, South Africa recently cleared it’s debt. One of the few countries in the world to do this.)

It’s time to start thinking about what Africa has achieved despite the odds against them.

Viva Africa and the African adventure!

I think our leaders are starting to realise that IMF, World Bank are not the answers to our problems. The answer lies in self competency, hard work, discipline and genuine partnership and cooperation. Like McCain said, Obama is willing to sit down with countries like Iran without conditions, this old man fails to realise that the days of condition are long gone.

Posted by Nduka Tolefe | Report as abusive

Well I think African countries have made a lot of progress. If we take a look back at the presidents from the 90 s and now(for countries which are having real presidential elections) progresses have been made when it comes to their running styles because people are traveling abroad and know what is going on and try to follow countries where democracy rules. And based on that we can say that these countries are safe to invest in. The example of Senegal is a good one located in West Africa this country is open to investors, they great time frames ( paper work for starting a business and there are a lot of opportunities there
so i think Africa is definitely better run than before.

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Yes, the days of preconditions are coming to an end, I agree but the failing casino economy of the US should be a lesson to evolving markets in Africa and elsewhere…
http://www.blacksnextdoor.wordpress.com

No.

Posted by bill | Report as abusive

I agree Africa is awakening politically and economically

I should say africa is doing much better now.

Posted by betty | Report as abusive

Folks, we are beginning to see a true renaissance of Africa as never before despite all the odds and the pictures of gloom painted over the years by the western press.

For example look at Kenya. Despite unstable post election period that threatened the economy, the country is back on track. One of the largest IPO’s in African history took place shortly after that period, showing a vote of confidence with the oversubscription of close to 600%. Other sectors of the Kenyan economy have registered tremendous gains notwithstanding high oil prices !

As Mo Ibrahim said with the global financial situation the way it is, perhaps their money is safer in Africa than in the West. The rate of return on capital is outstanding and there is a dramatic improvement in governance.

I would urge anyone that never even considered Africa a “safe haven” to indeed do so with a fresh perspective.

Posted by P.S Ndungu, Dallas, TX | Report as abusive

African, especially leadrs of Africa should be ready to accespt the solution for Africans problem is in the hands of the Africans them selves not in the hands of IMF, World Bank, or the West. it it time to stand by our selves in any case. they should not open their doors in the name of “free market or Liberal democracy”, which is taking Africa into Neo-Colonization.
for this there are some signs which we are witnessing, like the Ethiopian case. so African brothers has to stop be selfish and stand for the beterment of their country and as well as their continent.it is only through this Africa will stand all the problems it is facing

Posted by Gebru G/Egziabher | Report as abusive

Yes Africa is doing much better than before.

African countries need to utilise the skills and qualities of their people whilst investing in human development. Inn the long term these countries should aim to diversify their economies and exports and should look at the past of developed countries to try and forecome possible future problems.

African countries need to diversify who they trade with as currently there is an unequal bargaining power between consumers(eg Europe and U.S) and the suppliers (the African countries). They should increasingly try to find more markets for african goods and look further eastwards where the newly industrialised countries (china and india) have a shortage of resources and have a higher disposable income.

I hoped that by now the African countries would have realised that the U.N, World Bank, IMF and World Trade organisation are institutions dominated by developed countries who, unsurprisingly, act in the best interests of their countries and their people. These institutions are means of controlling developing countries’ economies, politics and increasingly people to achieve the political, economical and stratic interests of (mainly) the west. Many forms of aid only create debt and further underdevelopment due to conditionality. In 2008, developing countries received $53.7 billion in aid and paid $381 billion back as payments. Developing countries should try to use reasonable amounts of aid and realise that borrowing is not the way forward, especially not if it risks your country’s economical and political independance.

Posted by peter | Report as abusive

Absolutely not, Africa is on a downward spiral, that is accelerating at a frightening pace. Talk about not living up to your potential!

I am an African, more specifically a South African, and it breaks my heart to witness the speed at which this beautiful country is unravelling. Our lives have become playthings for the ANC, which is determined to break this country down until it is indistinguishable from the rest of Africa.

Posted by Powerless | Report as abusive

To powerless, a lot of work needs to be done in South Africa, the society has been fragmented due to years of racial apartheid, what do you expect, i visited South Africa and to be quite frank your country needs a lot of education, real integration and harmony because the division i experienced was quite alarming. Crime is high, blackmen lacked social skills. I could not interact with other black people except the ladies,i had no problem interacting with white South Africans (both men and women). I was advised by the hotel receptionist in Sandton not to venture out side my hotel for a stroll at 6.30 pm. As a black man i was shocked at the level of hostility that i witnessed. The other parts of Africa were more welcoming and loving.

Posted by Nduka Tolefe | Report as abusive