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Top 10 High Democracy Index African Countries

AfricaDecember 4, 2016 - Measuring democracy is a highly complex task and there is no universal mertic for it. As in everything politics, any measure in this regard is going to be subject to debate and interpretation. Nevertheless, here is one metric, the Democracy Index, that has been quoted in many circles around the world in recent years. 

The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the UK based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are UN member states. The index is based on 60 indicators grouped in five different categories measuring pluralism, civil liberties, and political culture. In addition to a numeric score and a ranking, the index categorizes countries as one of four regime types full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.

The index was first produced for 2006, with updates for 2008, 2010 and the following years since then. This data is obviously in the eyes of this organization and its methodology, and not necessarily a widely-agreed upon assessment. There are other sources out there that show varying results, or even disupte the very definition of democracy itself.

The table below shows the Democracy Index of the top 10 most democratic countries in Africa, according to EIU. 10 is the maximum possible score in this metric, showing the highest democracy level possible.

We are also showing in this chart the GDP per capita and the Education Index for these countries. The GDP per capita is reported in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). The PPP measures the purchasing power of money in each country (rather than the nominal currency, which can be manipulated locally). The countries listed below as most democratic generally have high GDP per capita as well as high Education Index by African standards. It is debatable whether the higher living standard in these countries was brought by the relatively better democratic governance or the other way around.  Many people believe high scores in these two categories are essential, although not sufficient, for democracy to take hold and thrive.

Ethiopia's GDP per Capita (PPP) is quite modest by comparison, $1869, and it ranks in the middle, 28 among 54 African countries in this Democracy Index. Ethiopia's GDP Per capita (PPP), although it has gone up in recent years quite substantially, is still signifcantly less than the Sub-Saharan Africa average of US$ 3,695, and way below the world middle income average of US$ 10,821, to which the country aspires to join in a decade or so.

Rank in Africa Country Score (out of 10) World Rank (out of 167) GDP per Capita, US$ (PPP)* Education Index (2013)*
1 Mauritius 8.28 18 20,443 0.718
2 Botswana 7.87 28 16,938 0.619
3 Cape verde 7.81 32 6,691 0.483
4 South Africa 7.56 37 13,166 0.695
5 Ghana 6.86 53 4,391 0.553
6 Tunisia 6.72 57 11,652 0.621
7 Lesotho 6.59 64 3,085 0.504
8 Namibia 6.31 72 11,904 0.520
9 Zambia 6.28 73 3,918 0.591
10 Senegal 6.08 75 2,564 0.368
           
           
28 Ethiopia 3.83 123 1869* 0.317
        *Whereas the nominal projected GDP per capita for Ethiopia is around $739 for 2016, the one reported here in this chart is based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
           
  Sub-Saharan Africa   3,695  
  Middle Income   10,821  
  World Average   16,329  

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index
Source for GDP per Capita PPP -- https://knoema.com/sijweyg/gdp-per-capita-ranking-2016-data-and-charts
Education Index: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_Index


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