Africa in Rankings

Too often the Western world views Africa as a single entity; too few specialists can truly tell the difference between one African nation and the next. Meanwhile, numbers often tend to speak louder than words. BRICS Business Magazine has analyzed some key rankings, identifying the leaders and outsiders among African countries based on a whole variety of parameters – from happiness to GDP.

Happy Planet Index 2012

New Economics Foundation Centre for Well-being

Algeria has managed to become the happiest African country, despite failing to achieve the highest ratings across all of the indicators used to calculate the Happy Planet Index (HPI). Libya demonstrated the highest life expectancy (74.8 years) while Mauritius had the highest level of experienced well-being.

Doing Business 2012

The World Bank

According to the World Bank, Mauritius is the best place for doing business in Africa, while the Central African Republic offers the least conducive environment in this respect. Mauritius offers the best conditions in terms of access to electricity and international trade, as well as tax regime. South Africa was ranked the best in terms of investor protection, getting credit, and construction permits. Rwanda is the easiest country in which to start a business, while Sudan offers the most enabling environment for registering property. Tanzania would be the best place to sign a contract, and Botswana offers the easiest solutions when it comes to bankruptcy issues.

“Out of the many investment-worthy market sectors, investments into infrastructure would be the most sought-after segment: Africa definitely needs roads and electricity,” says Nitin Mehta, Managing Director of CFA Institute for Europe, Middle East and Africa. According to him, potential investments into Africa’s infrastructure could top $100 billion per year.

2012 Environmental Performance Index

Yale University

Here, Gabon showed the best result on the continent, but was ranked 40th in the world. South Africa ended up at the bottom of the list ahead of only three former Soviet republics and Iraq. However, Michael Lalor, Lead Partner at Ernst & Young’s Africa Business Center, believes that we should not jump to conclusions and compare developed and the developing countries: “At the end of the day African economies are in the middle of a development stage. They are still in the throes of early growth, industrialisation and urbanisation, therefore, it makes no sense to compare them with Scandinavian countries, for instance. And if we compare their scores with those of the BRICS economies we will see that China, for example, is only several points ahead of South Africa (12 points, editor’s note).”

Corruption PERCEPTIONS Index 2012

Transparency International

“A number of African countries jumped ahead of the BRICS in the Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International”, says Michael Lalor. “Nigeria, for example, has the same ranking as Russia, while 34 other African countries scored better than Russia. The most ironic thing about the least corrupt countries in Africa is that as a rule, they tend to be small niche markets. However, some of them offer ‘soft entry’ opportunities and serve as financial hubs for doing business on the entire continent. Perhaps, Mauritius would be the most illustrative case in point.”

Top 100 Nation Brands 2012

Brand Finance

Few African countries managed to make it into the world’s one hundred best brands. As could be expected, South Africa proved to be the most valued brand, probably due to the fact that the country continues to capitalize on brand dividends in the wake of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Three of the five nations topping the African list are traditionally considered to be the most developed countries in North Africa. However, Botswana ended up as one of the leading nations in terms of growth – its brand value has gone up 61.4%.

GDP – per capita (Purchasing Power Parity)

The CIA World Factbook

“The economic growth that we see in Africa today is particularly visible in Ghana and Nigeria”, explains Nitin Mehta. “These countries are very rich in oil, gold and cocoa, which enables them to maintain stable currencies and continue to grow.”

“South Africa – the country that tops the list – is truly a great and diversified economy”, adds Michael Lalor. “It is one of the 30 largest economies in the world with services accounting for nearly 66% of their GDP”, he explains. “However, the country is yet to sort out both its domestic and external constraints. The former include insufficient involvement of the poor and mostly marginalised (and the largest) part of the population in economic processes, while external constraints are predicated on the country’s close integration with the global economy with the latter’s overall state affecting South Africa.”

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