All citizens of all countries desire to be governed well. That is what citizens want from the nation-states in which they live. Thus, nation-states in the modern world are responsible for the delivery of essential political goods to their inhabitants. That is their purpose, and has been their central legitimate justification since at least the seventeent century. The essential political goods can be summarized and gathered under five categories: Safety and Security; Rule of Law, Transparency, and Corruption; Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; and Human Development. Together, these five categories of political goods epitomize the performance of any government, at any level. No one, whether looking to her village, municipality, province, state, or nation, willingly wants to be victimized by crime or to live in a society without laws, freedom, the chance to prosper, or access to decent schools, well-run hospitals, and well-maintained roads. This 2008 Index measures the degree to which each of these political goods is provided within the forty-eight African countries south of the Sahara. By comprehensively measuring the performance of government in this manner, that is, by measuring governance, the Index is able to offer a report card on the accomplishments of each government for the years being investigated -- 2000 and 2002 (for baseline indications) and 2005 and 2006 (the last years with reasonably complete available data for nearly all sub-Saharan African nation-states). The Index is updated annually. Additionally, the sources of information for the indicators used in our Index are also updated constantly, both through our own efforts and through the efforts of other projects. Thus, in each year, we employ the best available data. Unlike many other projects, we also update the Index backward in each year, using all of this new information so that comparisons over time can be made. This allows the Index to be used to demonstrate how each of the forty-eight countries has shown progress or has slipped backward.
Rotberg, Robert I., and Rachel Gisselquist. Strengthening African Governance: The Ibrahim Index of African Governance: Results and Rankings. World Peace Foundation, 2008.