Governance rankings: ignore the patronising elites.

Author:Mohamed, Ahmed
Position:THIS MONTH'S PRIZE LETTER - Letter to the editor

As someone whose country did not do particularly well in the African Governance Rankings, and this is an attempt at understatement since mine, Somalia, came number one albeit at the wrong end, I give 10/10 to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation on its Index (African Governance Rankings--How does Your Country Fare? African Business November 2007 issue).

However I have concerns about a number of issues, including the use of an Ivy League University like Harvard, an institution of the Western Establishment, to design and oversee the deliberations of this very African undertaking.

I must also add that I agree with those critics who say the Foundation's $5m prize is too much for a leader who should really be doing the right thing he or she is being rewarded for anyway. The vision is right but the detail could perhaps be adjusted. Why not give $1m and use the rest of the money for something more worthwhile?

For example, many of us Africans believe the rest of the money could be better spent by establishing a research university of excellence where Africa's most talented scientists could look into diseases like Malaria, TB and Bilharzia, which no longer affect the rich people of the West and therefore do not attract the interest of their scientists, investors and researchers.

But utilitarian research and development need not be the only concern of such an institution: It could also be a world class research facility peering into space and beyond and unashamedly ambitious about...

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