Botswana Joins Global Leaders in Political Stability

Phathisani Moyo

Gaborone, Botswana - Jul 2007

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A World Bank Institute report on ‘Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006’ released on Tuesday held at the World Bank Institute in Washington DC, has ranked Botswana the top global leader in Political Stability and the Absence of Violence in the continent as well as among the top countries in the world. 

“This Office is pleased to note that Botswana has once more been singled out for special praise by World Bank researchers in the context of the 2007 World Governance Indicators (WGI) Report,” said Presidential Press Secretary Jeff Ramsay.

According to the Presidential Spokesperson, with a score of 92.8% Botswana was ranked number 16 in the world out of the 212 countries and territories covered by the study, as well as ranked number one in Africa.  The score also placed Botswana above all of the G8 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK, and USA.

Ramsay said the African democratic state is joined by other high achievers among those classified as “developing countries such as Slovenia, Chile, Estonia, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Costa Rica.

The 2007 World Governance Indicators Report reflects a decade-long effort by a global network of researchers to build and update the most comprehensive cross-country set of governance indicators currently available to the public. 

Its composite indicators for 212 countries and territories have been drawn from 33 different data sources to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.  Botswana scored exceptionally well in all six areas identified by the Report as being the key components of good governance.

“The office of the President is also pleased to note that Botswana has performed well in all six of the Report’s identified components of good governance,” said Ramsay.  As labeled in the report itself, these are i) Voice and Accountability – measuring political, civil and human rights, ii ) “Political Stability and Absence of Violence” – measuring the likelihood of violent threats to, or changes in, government, including terrorism, iii) Government Effectiveness – measuring the competence of the bureaucracy and the quality of public service delivery, iv) Regulatory Quality – measuring the incidence of market-unfriendly policies, v) Rule of Law – measuring the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, including judiciary independence, and the incidence of crime, vi) Control of Corruption – measuring the abuse of public power for private gain, including petty and grand corruption and state capture by elites.

With a composite score for all of the above categories of 74 Botswana, long touted the shining example of democracy in the continent and “Miracle of Africa”, occupies first position in Africa, followed by Mauritius and Cape Verde.

According to the World Bank statement, measuring various countries’ governance performance, and their improvements over time, is both a key item on the international governance agenda and a complex challenge, as governance has many dimensions, each with inherent measurement challenges.

“The hopeful news is that a considerable number of countries, including some in Africa, are showing that it is possible to make significant governance progress in a relatively short period of time.  Such improvements in governance are critical for aid effectiveness and for sustained long-term growth.” says Daniel Kaufmann, co-author of the report and Director of Global Programs at the World Bank Institute.  “Bribery around the world is estimated at about US $1 trillion dollars, and the burden of corruption falls disproportionately on the bottom billion people living in extreme poverty,”

The report builds on research of the importance of governance and its impact on development over the past decade.  Good governance matters for other human development outcomes such as infant mortality, illiteracy, and inequality.  Good governance has also been found to significantly enhance the effectiveness of development assistance in general, and of World Bank funded projects in particular.

This is the sixth update of the Worldwide Governance Indicators, reflecting work over the past decade to develop evidence-based measures that help development stakeholders track the quality of institutions, support capacity building, improve governance, and address corruptio

The conclusive results are that improving governance helps fight poverty and improves standards of living.  The benefits of the good governance prevailing in Botswana are self evident as the country currently has the fastest growing economy in the world.