Botswana tops them all in governance - World Bank

Staff Writer
Botswana has received sterling scores on the World Governance Indicators (WGI) report covering the performance of 212 countries between 1996 and 2008.

The WGI, a product of the World Bank and the Brooking Institute, was released in Washington on Monday. Using data collected from different public, private, non-governmental organisations, as well as citizen and firm survey respondents, the WGI analyses governance using six key indicators. These indicators include Voice and Accountability, Political Stability, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption. Researchers then assigned aggregate scores ranging from -2.5 to 2.5 with higher values corresponding to better governance outcomes.

According to the report, Botswana's performance across the six indicators has remained impressive continentally and also worldwide. Generally, between 1996 and 2008, Botswana has remained among the one third top performers in governance, frequently climbing to the top quarter of the spectrum.

The WGI indicates that Botswana's highest scores over the years were in political stability, control of corruption, regulatory quality, government effectiveness, rule of law, and voice of accountability, in that order. Under Regulatory Quality, Botswana scored 0.49, 0.45 and 0.52 for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively, while under Government Effectiveness, the country scored 0.55, 0.66 and 0.67 over the same years.

For Control of Corruption, the country scored 0.86, 0.92 and one between the years 2006 and 2008, while the scores for Voice and Accountability were 0.496, 0.5 and 0.55 for the same years.

By comparison, South Africa's 2008 score for Regulatory Quality was 0.63 for 2008, while its scores for Government Effectiveness, Control of Corruption and Voice and Accountability for 2008 were 0.75, 0.3 and 0.68 respectively.

For Political Stability between 2006 and 2008, Botswana scored 0.96, 0.92 and 0.96, while South Africa scored zero, 0.04 and -0.04. Researchers said besides unequal performances, the disparity in some figures between countries could be explained by the number of sources of governance data in individual states.

The Regulatory Quality indicator aims to capture perceptions

of the government's ability to formulate and implement sound policies that permit and promote private sector development, while the Political Stability indicator captures perceptions of the likelihood that a government will be destabilised or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means. Government Effectiveness is concerned with perceptions of the quality of public services, civil service quality and the degree of independence of these services from political pressures. It also measures perceptions about the government's commitment to quality policy formulation and implementation.

Voice and Accountability relate to perceptions about the extent to which a country's citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, association and the media. Control of Corruption is concerned with perceptions about the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain as well as the capture of the state by elites and private interests.

Senior Fellow at the Brooking Institute, Daniel Kaufmann, said the WGI statistics show that current global governance standards have plenty of room for improvement in many industrialised countries and emerging economies."We should not presume that rich and powerful countries have the very best levels of governance and corruption control; the financial crisis reminds us that the quality of governance in G8 countries is not always exemplary," he said.

Kaufmann said some countries were recognising and responding to governance challenges and showing strong improvement that reflect concerted efforts by political leaders, policy makers, civil society and the private sector.

The researchers noted that in spite of some success stories, world governance had not improved much between 1996 and 2008.

"Coinciding with countries that have done well, a similar number have experienced deteriorations in several governance dimensions including Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire, Belarus, Eritrea and Venezuela. In many other countries, no significant change in either direction is yet apparent in recent years," researchers said.



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