Liberia Declines in Mo Ibrahim Ranking

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The quality of the governance in Liberia seems to be on a downward spiral, the latest results from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Index of African Governments (IIAG) suggests.

The 2014 IIAG provides full details of Liberia’s performance across four categories of governance: Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

The 2014 IIAG ranks Liberia 31 out of 52 in the overall ranking.   This is two steps down from the 2013 rankings. The country also declined in the regional ranking from 10th in 2013 to 11th in the latest.  It is not known whether the ongoing health crisis in the country has had an impact on the results.

 The new ranking was delivered Monday, September 29 through a teleconference from the foundation’s headquarters.

Despite vast improvements since 2000, Liberia’s governance score remains below the continental average for Africa as well as the regional average for West Africa.

The 2014 IIAG shows that less than the previous 94% of Africans live in a country that has experienced overall governance improvement since 2009.

Since 2000, Liberia has shown its biggest improvement in the category of participation, especially political participation and  human rights; but the latest figures  show a massive decline in accountability and personal safety(a category in which many other African countries have seen improvements).

The country has in recent times experienced the killing of innocent citizens by security detachments, though it is not known  whether this contributed to the massive decline in the sub-category of personal safety.

Little Shaki Kamara was allegedly killed by an officer of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) during the West Point fracas last month. Another unidentified man was also allegedly killed by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) at the ELWA junction; a situation that led to the suspension of seven of them pending investigation.

• Ranks 31th (out of 52) overall

• Scores 49. (out of 100), lower than the African average (51.6)

• Ranks 11th (out of 16) in the West African region

• Scores lower than the regional average for West Africa (49.3)

• Ranks its highest in the category Human Development (33rd out of 53.6)

• Ranks its lowest in the category Sustainable Economic Opportunity (39th out of 52)

Liberia showed the largest deterioration of governance in terms of accountability and personal security (-9.7 points, -3.6 points since 2009).

The biggest gains in the past five years were in terms of rule of law and national security (1.6 points, 15.0 points).

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation index, established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa, says that it is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.

The foundation provides tools to support progress in leadership and governance. It aims to promote meaningful change on the continent.

According to the foundation, overall governance improved on the African continent from 2009 to 2013, but the reasons for this improvement differ from those in the five years before that.

Progress in recent times has been driven by participation and human rights, while in the five years before that it was sustainable economic opportunity. This has, however, stalled in the recent period.

Countries in the bottom half of the rankings showed the largest improvements over the past five years. These include Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger.

Historically strong performers like Mauritius, South Africa, Cape Verde, Botswana and the Seychelles have shown deterioration in at least one category of the rankings in the past five years, but their trends are still overall upwards.

Asked why the foundation’s award for achievement in African leadership had only been awarded once in the past five years (in 2011 to Pedro Pires from Cape Verde), yet governance rankings have gone up, the foundation said the award had different criteria and was given to leaders of state who improved their countries during their tenure. The foundation said the index and the award were not related.

Jay Naidoo, a board member of the foundation, said high-ranking countries should not assume that future achievements will follow previous accomplishments.

“Let us make sure that ‘Africa rising’ narrative, that everyone is talking about, truly benefits all African people,” said Naidoo.

Ibrahim, the chair of the foundation, said: “Africa is progressing but the story is complex and doesn’t fit the stereotypes. Even if the overall picture looks good, we must all remain vigilant and not get complacent.”

The countries at the bottom of the pile are Eritrea (number 50 with 29.8 points), Central African Republic (24.8) and Somalia (8.6) –countries which have all seen conflicts in recent times.

Meanwhile the IIAG provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in African countries and is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance. The 2014 IIAG combines 130 variables from 34 independent African and global sources.

 The 2014 IIAG covers a 14-year data period from 2000 to 2013. The two five-year   periods referred to are 2005-2009 and 2009-2013.

All scores in the IIAG are out of 100.

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