Ghana is ranked seventh in the latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance. The country, which ranked eighth in the last index, improved its overall score to 70.1 per cent between 2005 and 2006 among 48 sub-Saharan African countries.
It placed second among 16 West African countries.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, a non-governmental organisation committed to helping to improve the quality of governance in Africa, arrived at the results based on data compiled from the World Bank, the United Nations, Transparency International and other credible and reputable international organisations.
According to a report made available to the Daily Graphic, for the second year running Mauritius topped the Ibrahim Index, scoring 85.1 per cent this year.
The top five countries whose positions remained unchanged over the last index included The Seychelles, Cape Verde, Botswana and South Africa.
According to the report, the Ibrahim Index looked at the areas of Safety and Security; the Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption; Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity, and Human Development.
"The most notable improvement was in the Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption, where Ghana's score rose by 2.2 points," the report said.
The country scored 86.1 per cent under the Safety and Security category in 2008, as against the 86 per cent it scored under the same category in 2007.
According to the report, Ghana scored 72.7 per cent under Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption in 2008, as against the 70.5 per cent it scored in 2007.
Under Participation and Human Rights, it scored 80.2 per cent, thus scoring an additional 0.4 points over the past year's.
It said the country scored 47.3 per cent under Sustainable Economic Opportunity, against the 46.6 per cent it gained in 2007, while it scored 64.3 per cent under Human Development, as against the 64.1 per cent it scored last year.
It further stated that newly published data showed that two-thirds of sub-Saharan African countries had improved their performance, especially in the areas of good governance, with notable progress in participation and human rights.
It explained that the 16 members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demonstrated strong performance in the Ibrahim Index, with Cape Verde, Ghana and Senegal ranking within the top 10 of the overall Ibrahim Index.
"With respect to last year, 10 members of ECOWAS improved their scores, four saw declining scores and a further two saw no change. Within ECOWAS, Ghana ranked second out of 16 member countries, outperformed only by Cape Verde,” it said.
The Ibrahim Index indicates that two-thirds of sub-Saharan African countries improved on their governance performance during the last year. Liberia, the fastest riser, ranks 38th, with a change in score of 10.4 points to give a score of 48.7.
Participation and Human Rights was the category with the largest improvement, with 29 countries demonstrating progress. Many of these have demonstrated improved participation in elections.
The full board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation convened in Addis Ababa, the home of the African Union, to make the announcement yesterday morning.
Mo Ibrahim, the Founder and Chairman of the foundation, said, “Obscured by many of the headlines of the past few months, the real story coming out of Africa is that governance performance across a large majority of African countries is improving.”
“According to this comprehensive analysis, progress is being made across the continent against a range of key governance indicators.
I hope that these results will be used as a tool by Africa's citizens to hold their governments to account, and stimulate debate about the performance of those who govern in their name,” he continued.
Ms Mary Robinson, a member of the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, who has previously served as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland, said, “It is particularly fitting that during the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we are seeing the most notable improvement in governance take place within the category of participation and human rights.
More sub-Saharan African countries than ever are holding democratic elections, and I am hopeful that this will help form the platform for continued progress across the continent.”
The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive ranking of sub-Saharan African nations according to governance performance, which is assessed against 57 criteria.
These criteria are divided into five overarching categories which, together, make up the core obligations which governments have to their citizens.
The index was created in recognition of the need for a comprehensive and quantifiable method of measuring governance performance in sub-Saharan Africa and it has been designed as a tool for civil society and citizens to hold governments to account, stimulate debate on governance and provide a diagnostic framework to assess governance in sub-Saharan Africa.
The index is produced by Professor Robert Rotberg, Dr Rachel Gisselquist and his team at the Programme on Intrastate Conflict and Conflict Resolution at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, under an agreement with and funding from the Foundation Board.
Professor Rotberg is supported by an advisory council of African academics and corporate leaders.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was launched in October 2006 and is committed to supporting great African leadership.
It was founded by Mo Ibrahim, one of Africa's most successful business entrepreneurs, and has the support of a number of world leaders, including Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela and Amartya Sen.
The foundation also confers the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, the largest annually awarded prize in the world.
The Prize Committee, chaired by Mr Annan, awards US$5 million to a former African Executive Head of State or Government who has demonstrated excellence in leadership during his or her tenure in office.
The former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, in October 2007 became the inaugural Ibrahim Laureate.
The report added that the next Ibrahim Laureate will be announced on October 20, 2008.
Story by Mabel Aku Baneseh