Health gaps slow prosperity
According to the Legatum Prosperity Index, Namibia ranks in the top four of countries with the highest prosperity in Africa. South Africa is ranked first with the Central African Republic ranked the lowest.
For strong performers such as South Africa, Namibia, and Ghana, further gains could now be made from closing their negative health gaps. The low hanging fruit, particularly for Namibia is tackling high disease rates like TB and improving poor rates of sanitation.
The countries are grouped in three categories, the high ranking countries from 1st to 10th, middle ranking countries form 11th to 28th, the low ranking countries form 29th to 38th.
Alexandra Mousavizadeh, a Danish economist and Director of the Prosperity Index notes how the index tells us that the story of human progress goes beyond economics.
Namibia is one of the key states in the second group of middle-income countries that over deliver together with Ghana, Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania. These are counties that show good regulations that help private sector development.
Group one countries are characterised by an established rule of law, high Research & Development spending and strong government efficacy coupled with civil liberties, freedom of choice and economic diversity.
The most improved country since 2009, Rwanda, went up 10 ranks and Tanzania fell 5 ranks as the least improved country since 2009.
Between 2009 and 2015 the most noticeable positive change on the overall African economy was entrepreneurship and opportunity while health showed a 1.30 positive change while safety and security was the only indicator with a negative change on the Prosperity Index’s sub-index scores for Africa.
This years report considers the legacy of prosperity delivery in Africa given a decade of strong growth, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has made significant progress in health and opportunity.
Group 1 consists of low-income and over-delivering countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and Mozambique with good regulation that help private sector development. Group 3 consists of low-income under-delivery countries with a high number of refugees, weak civil liberties and free choice. Group 4 classifies Nigeria, Congo and Angola as middle-income countries that under-deliver as they have very unequal economic development.
“It tells us that for nations to flourish they must provide opportunity and freedom to their citizens,” said Mousavizadeh. In order to provide for a comprehensive view of what is happening in Africa beyond traditional economic indicators, the index casts a new perspective on enduring policy challenges as showcased by the index, Mousavizadeh added.
The developing countries of Asia and Europe are outpacing Africa in translating wealth into prosperity as low growth rates for countries such as Nigeria that share similar levels of sanitation as Afghanistan despite having three times its wealth. Low growth not being enough of an excuse.
The index show that the fundamental differences between groups are vertical. Suggesting that getting richer is neither necessary nor sufficient for the improvement of prosperity delivery, and that regardless of wealth, the barriers to greater prosperity are largely shared.
“In essences, greater prosperity can be achieved in principle for many countries without the need for economic growth,’’ the report read.