How to Rank Good Governance: The Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
October 25, 2007

Event Summary

Recognizing that improving governance takes political leadership, Mo Ibrahim, the founder of Celtel, created the Prize for Achievement in African Leadership to be awarded to a former African head of state or government who has demonstrated excellence in African leadership. Consisting of a $5 million award to be paid out over 10 years and a $200,000 annual stipend after that, the prize has grabbed the attention of the governance community for its vision and initiative. The winner, announced on October 22 in Alexandria, Egypt, was chosen based on a new African governance quality index designed by Robert Rotberg of Harvard University.

On October 25, Brookings hosted Professor Rotberg who discussed the creation of the new index and the implications of the African Leadership Prize for the improvement of governance in Africa. He was joined by Chris Fomuyoh, director for Central and West Africa at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Aart Kraay, lead economist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank.


ROBERT ROTBERG: We define governance in the index as a good supply of political goods. The political goods are measurements and proxy measurements of the performance of government. We're insistent on that we're attempting to measure the delivery of political goods, so we measure the performance of governments. That's why this can be done in D.C. as well as any other place in the world, because we're measuring the delivery of services to you, to citizens, to inhabitants.

. . .My purpose in getting the index going, inventing it, creating it and so on, is to strengthen African governance and it's not to create an index, per se. The index is only a tool in order to help African governments and civil societies help themselves move forward. The premise here -- the premise here is really very strongly felt that what is most lacking in Africa in general is good governance. Good governance is what will improve the lives of Africans, what will make better development and will produce greater peace and fewer lives lost. And that's an argument which I can continue if you ask about it in the question period.