Botswana President Ian Khama is expected to visit US President Barack Obama next Thursday, when the two leaders are to discuss sound governance, economic development and natural resources conservation, the White House said Friday.
The White House called Botswana “a strong democratic partner” in sub-Saharan Africa.
Botswana has this year emerged as one of the leading stable democratic countries in Africa, ranking fourth in the index of African governance, as recently released by the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
The index ranks all 53 African countries according to performance in safety and security, rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development. Mauritius ranks number one in Africa, a position it has held since the index was introduced two years ago, with the Seychelles and Cape Verde islands taking second and third position, respectively.
Botswana’s neighbour, South Africa, is ranked at number 9, slipping four places from position 5 last year. South Africa’s fall is linked to its “lower scores in the areas of respect for civil and political rights and the rule of law”, said the report.
Zimbabwe, the black sheep of the Southern African region, is ranked at 52nd position, slightly above war-ravaged Somalia.
Meanwhile, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, founded by Sudanese-born businessman, Mo Ibrahim, in order to promote good governance and leadership in Africa, has announced that there will be no prize awarded this year to an African leader who has made strides in good governance.
In a statement, the Foundation said, “The Prize Committee welcomed the progress made on governance in some African countries while noting with concern recent setbacks in other countries. This year the Prize Committee has considered some credible candidates. However, after in-depth review the Prize Committee could not select a winner.”
Credible candidates for this year’s prize were former South African president, Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki helped forge a unity government in Zimbabwe between President Robert Mugabe and his arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai, although recent events in the unity-pact cast a dark cloud over his efforts.
The laureate of the prestigious prize walks away with a US$5 million cash prize and is paid US$200 000 for life. Previous winners of the award on good governance include South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and former Mozambican president, Joachim Chissano.
Last years’ winner was former Botswana president, Festus Mogae for his sterling contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS and stepping down after two terms in office, a rare feat in Africa marked by power-hungry leaders.