Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The 2007 Index of Economic Freedom

The Heritage Foundation’s 2007 Index of Economic Freedom has just been released. The report ranks nations according to their relative freedom across 10 different categories (e.g. property rights, taxation, corruption).

How did Africa fare? Not so well, I’m afraid. Economic freedoms in Africa as measured by the Heritage Foundation actually declined a bit since last year. And Sub-Saharan Africa ranked last of all global regions in 7 of the Index’s 10 categories.

Some individual African countries did move up in the rankings. Mauritius, Namibia, and Nigeria all significantly increased their scores. But all did this in part by curtailing workers’ rights. I’m not at all convinced that this represents true economic improvement. "Labor freedom," the euphemism that the Heritage Foundation uses for lax labor laws, was not included as a variable in previous reports.

Any, for what it is worth, here are the top five most economically free nations according to the report:

1) Mauritius
2) Botswana
3) South Africa
4) Namibia
5) Uganda

And the five least free:

36) Chad
37) Guinea-Bissau
38) Angola
39) Republic of Congo
40) Zimbabwe

www.investinginafrica.net

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