Saturday, January 01, 2011
TOP AFRICAN DICTATORS 2011
Story: Courtesy of East African Newspaper
The problems of corruption, violence, poverty and elections that make a mockery of democracy continue to be a monkey on Africa’s back.Increasingly, though, they are now becoming the lesser problem, not the primary one.
There is now a new narrative, which no longer sounds overly optimistic — that Africa is on the course to being “the most happening” continent in the world.
In 2010, Africa’s population surpassed one billion people — close on the heels of China and India.
And something else — just over 40 per cent of Africans live in cities — a proportion close to China’s and India’s.
This is important because it is cities that drive modern economies.
And, for good measure, statistics show that 59 million African households earn at least $5,000 per year and that number is forecast to reach 106 million by 2014.
The world’s richest corporations are booking a ringside seat at the Africa party.
Walmart — America’s and the world’s largest supermarket chain — recently offered more than $4 billion to buy a South African retail chain.
Coca-Cola has announced it will spend $12 billion over the next 10 years to improve its production and sales network across the continent.
Increasingly, many people argue that Africa has one big problem to solve — leadership; especially political leadership.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, thinking along the same lines, in 2007 launched its African Leadership Prize.
At $5 million, it is the world’s richest prize. The prize was to encourage good leadership and democracy, and was given to a just-retired leader to enable them keep their inspiring example alive through selected public projects.
After two awards, it ran out of candidates. Apart from the Mo Ibrahim Prize, there is no other significant effort to put the spotlight on African leaders.
At Nation Media Group, we decided to offer some thought on this matter, and our Africa Project staffers SAMANTHA SPOONER and JEFFREY DAVIS spent the year tracking reports of the political actions of all of Africa’s leaders and measuring them against the impact their governments had. The result is our first Annual African Leaders Scorecard.It is a first stab, a throwing of the stone in the bush to see what comes out.
We rely on various indexes; The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance; the Democracy Index; Freedom House’s Press Freedom Index; Transparency International’s Corruption Index; and the UN’s Human Development Index.
We then developed a Nation Media Group (NMG) Index to complement the others we chose.
The final score on which the political leaders are judged is an average of the scores from all these indexes.
This is, by no means, an iron-clad scientific approach, and should be considered as the beginning of an exploration and measurement of the continent’s leaders that, we hope, we shall only be able to perfect in the years to come.