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Southern Africa best governed

CAPE TOWN, Oct 5 – Southern Africa is home to five of Africa’s best governed countries, while most of central Africa continues to perform below average, according to a study released Monday.

The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance, using data from 2007 and 2008, released its third annual report on leadership in Africa, for the first time measuring all 53 countries against 84 criteria.

Among the top 10 performers, Mauritius (1st), Botswana (4th), South Africa (5th), Namibia (6th) and Lesotho (9th) were from southern Africa.

Mauritius, with 82.8 points, has topped the list of Africa’s best governed nations for the third year in a row, followed by Cape Verde (78) and the Seychelles (77.1), while war-ravaged Somalia (15.2) again landed at the bottom.

Zimbabwe, which did not even feature in the bottom 10 in 2007, was among the bottom five for two years running at 51st place and is currently the worst performer in southern Africa.

The index uses the four main categories of safety and security, human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development to measure governance.

Southern Africa scored best in safety and security, while north Africa, the second best performing region, came out tops in sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

Mo Ibrahim, a wealthy Sudanese businessman, launched a foundation to recognise and award good leaders and to promote good governance, on a continent blighted by conflict, corruption and mismanagement.

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He also offers an annual prize of about five million dollars to the continent’s best leader, won last year by Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae, around three times that granted by the Nobel jury.

The report follows the release of a Harvard study on Thursday, which also ranked Mauritius number one, and Somalia as the worst.

The Harvard study, which was linked to the Ibrahim Index in 2007 and 2008, used 57 indicators which led to slight differences in rankings, but confirmed the small island states are the best run on the continent.

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