Africa: Rwanda Tops Africa in Prosperity Index

Rwanda has been listed as the most improved country in the 2016 Africa Prosperity report by a UK-based think tank, Legatum Institute.

Photo: The New Times Rwanda's capital city Kigali (file photo).
Photo: The New Times
Rwanda’s capital city Kigali (file photo).

The report, released on Wednesday, shows that Rwanda has continued to register progress in its growth trajectory across various indexes.

The report aims at highlighting nations’ progress beyond economic aspects by taking into account indicators such as healthcare, education, governance, among others.

In the 2016 report, Rwanda’s improvement was facilitated by its performance in the eight indicators considered.

Rwanda was among the top performers on the continent; indicators such as economic progress, governance and healthcare featuring at positions fourth, third and sixth, respectively.

In other indicators, including education, entrepreneurship, security and social capital, Rwanda featured in the middle performing countries beating over 36 countries in each category.

Overall, Rwanda was ranked as the most prosperous country in the East African region and the 8th on the continent.

South Africa, Botswana and Morocco took the first, second and third positions on the continent, respectively.

The report’s authors put Rwanda in the category of ‘Low income over delivery,’ which constitute countries with little or no mineral resources but effective in delivery.

The countries in the category were described by the authors as having government effectiveness, rule of law, regulation that helps private sector development, civil liberties and freedom of choice as well as economic diversity.

“Rwanda is perhaps the best known reform story from the continent, taking itself from a broken post-Genocide nation, to Africa’s 8th most prosperous county,” the report reads in part.

Breaking down the drivers of the progress and prosperity, the report highlights aspects such as institutional reform, decentralisation and business sector reforms.

“Government drove systematic institutional reform, ensuring that the state was decentralised, the business sector reformed, and institutions strengthened. Rwanda ranks 3rd for Governance in Africa, and has the biggest prosperity surplus both overall and in Governance. Its transformation speaks to the enduring importance of good governance and in particular, rule of law, effective government, and regulation as a means of unlocking prosperity growth,” the report added.

 It notes that prosperity can still be delivered as long as the potential for governance reform remains.

“If governance is a prerequisite for the serious delivery of prosperity, then the budgetary constraints of lower growth driving it to prominence could prove promising for long-term prosperity across the continent,” the reports says.

Commenting on the report, Lord Malloch-Brown, the former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, said Rwanda had fared better than wealthier countries by doing much with little.

“Rwanda has done incredibly well in the report. During my time at UNDP I was astonished by the rate at which Rwanda came back on indicators like health care and education and overtook numbers of the period before the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. In a way, it is no surprise that Rwanda’s performance in the prosperity index compare to wealthier countries,” he said.

The Legatum Institute is an international think tank and educational charity focused on promoting prosperity.

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