Sunday, January 28, 2007

Democracy in Africa and elsewhere

Apparently democracy is working fairly well in Benin, with three peaceful transfers of power in the last 15 years. They used to be known as "Africa's Cuba." WorldAudit.org ranks Benin as 48th on their democracy ranking chart; the highest-ranked African country is Ghana at #37. The U.S.A. is #15. Myanmar is dead last. It's good to see civil society is working in a few African countries, but a pity about Zimbabwe, Sudan, Eritrea, etc.

I'm not really sure how their methodology came up with an 84th-place ranking for North Korea, considering that they acknowledge them as coming in dead last (#150) for press freedom. It seems like it may have something to do with essentially having an "N/A" for political corruption; it may not really be measurable there.

It's worth looking at this table to see which countries are improving and which are getting worse. Watch out for Belarus, Haiti, and Zimbabwe, which dropped to the lowest "Political Rights" rating in 2005, the most recent year for which they have data. I wonder if Iraq's rating will go up for 2006, with the elections.

Update: Sudan has been bypassed for chairmanship of the African Union in favor of Ghana. Good.

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