Kenya emerges among prosperous countries in Africa

Jacinta Wangare fills up tins with cereals for sale at Soko Mjinga market in Nyeri on March 5, 2012. The Legatum Institute’s 2016 Africa Prosperity Report says Kenya and Rwanda are the most prosperous East African countries in Africa. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The report places Kenya in 11th place, with its highest ranking for personal freedom, entrepreneurship and opportunity.
  • Rwanda received high marks for its economy and governance and is the most improved country in Africa over the past 10 years.
  • Tanzania received a less favourable rating and is ranked the least improved country since 2009.

Kenya and Rwanda are the only East African countries to make the top dozen most prosperous states in Africa, according to a new report.

The Legatum Institute’s 2016 Africa Prosperity Report reveals how economic growth across Africa is not necessarily being translated into higher levels of prosperity in individual countries.

Researchers at the international think tank, which is based in London, sought to determine what level of prosperity African countries can and should be expected to deliver, given their level of wealth.

The report released on Wednesday places Kenya in 11th place, with its highest ranking for personal freedom, entrepreneurship and opportunity and only its low status for safety and security.

Rwanda, in eighth place, received high marks for its economy and governance and is the most improved country in Africa over the past 10 years, according to the report.

It notes that while Rwanda may have less than a third of Angola’s wealth, it has been far more successful at creating a prosperous nation.

SIGNIFICANT REFORMS

Even though its GDP per capita is $1,661, it came at the top of the ranking due to the significant reforms it has made recently to strengthen the rule of law and reduce corruption.

Tanzania received a less favourable rating and is ranked the least improved country since 2009.

The report makes its ranking by assessing a country’s level of wealth (GDP per capita) modelled against its overall ranking in the think tank’s own Prosperity Index, using eight economic and social factors including entrepreneurship & opportunity, governance, education, health, safety & security, personal freedom and social capital.

The results — set out in a league table — show, for the first time, the Prosperity Gap in each African country.

“Countries that are over-achieving often have relative low levels of wealth yet have created a Prosperity Surplus by offering their citizens wider socio-economic benefits such as civil liberties, a strong judiciary and a diverse economy,” says the report.

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