Non-profit organisation the Chandler Institute of Governance (CIG) has published its inaugural good government index, measuring the effectiveness of governments in 104 countries globally.
The institute said this is the world’s most comprehensive index of governance quality and outcomes, and is aimed at governments to understand and benchmark their capabilities.
The index takes a non-ideological and non-partisan view of governance, and by focusing on state capabilities and performance, the index does not prioritise any form of government over another.
It is made up of 34 indicators, which are organised into seven pillars:
- Leadership and Foresight
- Robust Laws and Policies
- Strong Institutions
- Financial Stewardship
- Attractive Marketplace
- Global Influence and Reputation
- Helping People Rise
South Africa was ranked 70th on the list, behind other Sub-Saharan countries such as Mauritius (30th), Rwanda (53rd) and Botswana (57th) ranking above it.
The country scored highly for its robust laws and policies, where it is a match or even stronger than other countries globally.
This includes elements such as the quality of the judiciary, transparency and regulatory governance. However, the report shows that South Africa falls far behind in other areas – especially when it comes to uplifting its people.
The index also scored poorly because of its inability to create an attractive business environment. Some of the key areas where South Africa is falling behind the rest of the world include:
- Ability to attract investments;
- International trade;
- Personal safety;
- Income equality;
- Social mobility;
- The macroeconomic environment.
The majority of countries ranked in the top 20 are European, with Finland and Switzerland securing the top two spots. Singapore, the Netherlands and Denmark round up the top five.
The CIG said that Finland scored highly on all of the above metrics as its government has a long history of adapting to change.
“Investment in research and high quality education has allowed the country to shift from a resource-based to a knowledge-based and technology-driven economy,” it said.
It added that Finland is a trade-dependent nation and an active proponent of free trade. It also scored highly for free education , 98% of Finland’s education system is state-funded, and strong anti-discrimination laws.