Rank 32? Not us, Rwanda tells Index team A street in Kigali. Officials say data discrepancies in three of five categories weakened Rwandas scores. Photo/FILE By KEZIO-MUSOKE DAVID THE EAST AFRICAN Posted Monday, October 19 2009 at 00:00 The Rwanda government has dismissed the 2009 Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance released this month, terming it baseless. Referring to research carried out locally at different institutes including the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council and the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda officials said the Mo Ibrahim Index was not indicative of the facts on the ground. The 2009 Ibrahim Index measures the delivery of goods and services to citizens by governments. It was released in Cape Town, South Africa, early this month. The findings were based on the latest available data for each of the 84 indicators of governance from either 2007 or 2008. The governance indicators are grouped in four overall categories: Safety and security; participation and human rights; sustainable economic opportunity; and human development. Rwanda was categorised under the East African region. It was ranked 32 out of 53 African countries in Governance. According to the Index, Rwanda scored 48.5 out of 100. Within Eastern Africa which includes Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda Rwanda was ranked sixth. However, a statement by Prof Anastase Shyaka, executive secretary of Rwandas Governance Advisory Council, said the Mo Ibrahim Index Report should have used locally generated and authentic sources.Local opinion surveys on governance should be given more importance in the Index. The surveys would show peoples appreciation of governance... the statement said. Given its importance in, and its challenge to, governance in Africa, the corruption weight need to be revisited and better represented in the related category. Another option to address that issue would be to consider corruption (and transparency) as a category on its own, it added. This is the second time Rwandan officials have expressed scepticism about of the Mo Ibrahim Index findings. In January this year, government officials met Index experts who travelled from Harvard University for an in-depth discussion on last years index. The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Local Government in collaboration with Rwandas Governance Advisory Council. It concluded that data discrepancies in three of five categories weakened Rwandas scores. Research done jointly by Prof Shyaka, Yusuf Murango and Dr Mohammed Alibata of the National Institute of Statistics, indicates that the results of the Index do not reflect poor performance on the ground as suggested. According to the statement, the comparison reveals that in the categories affected by data discrepancies, some values match those from locally done research. Governance in Rwanda keeps improving and stakeholders continue to be mobilised for good governance. The security and safety indicator is likely to maintain its high level or even increase, especially after the recent adoption by parliament of the National Policy on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the statement says. The 2008 parliamentary elections have conferred 52.5 per cent of the seats to women, which makes Rwanda the only country in the world with more women than men holding parliamentary seats. This is likely to improve Rwandas score in the participation and human rights category, it added. A study commissioned by the Regional Centre on Small Arms shows 96 per cent and 94 per cent of Rwandas civil society and the general public already have a high level of trust and satisfaction in the countrys security organs. The officials also said Rwandas standards in categories such as human development and sustainable economic opportunity should increase. It cited the ongoing reforms and campaigns for girl-child education, improved health conditions, and the vibrant PRO-private sector reforms being carried out by the newly established Rwanda Development Board. The index shows that half of Africas 10 best performing countries are in Southern Africa. Eastern Africa is ranked third in two categories Participation and Human Rights and Human Development. It is ranked fourth in two other categories Safety and Rule of Law and Sustainable Economic Opportunity. While the regions 12 countries include Seychelles and Tanzania (which are ranked third and 12, respectively), they also include Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia (all in the bottom 10).