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Africa: Adherence to Rule of Law in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa Measured

(Oct. 20, 2010) On October 14, 2010, the World Justice Project released its 2010 World Rule of Law Index report, a quantitative assessment of adherence to the rule of law in 35 jurisdictions around the world. The assessment is based on interviews conducted with 41,000 lay persons and 900 experts (Rule of Law Index, THE WORLD JUSTICE PROJECT, (last visited Oct. 19, 2010).)

Five sub-Saharan African Countries (Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and South Africa) were assessed on the basis of nine factors and compared against 30 jurisdictions from all continents, against each other, and against countries with similar income brackets. The nine factors that were used as the basis for the assessment were:

· Limits on government powers;

· Absence of corruption;

· Clarity, accessibility, and stability of laws;

· Presence of order and security;

· Fundamental rights;

· Openness of government;

· Regulatory enforcement;

· Access to civil justice; and

· Effectiveness of criminal justice system (id.).

South Africa won the regional ranking in five of the nine factors: absence of corruption; clarity, accessibility and stability of laws; openness of government; regulatory enforcement; and access to civil justice (id.). Ghana was ranked first in the remaining four factors: limits on government powers; order and security; fundamental rights; and effectiveness of criminal justice system (id.).

Compared to the other 30 jurisdictions assessed, however, the African jurisdictions did not fare well. South Africa was the only Sub Saharan African jurisdiction to make it to the top ten and only did so in one of the nine categories: openness of government (id.). Kenya and Liberia took the lowest ranking in two categories each: Kenya was ranked at the bottom in the categories of limited government powers and clarity, accessibility and stability of laws, while Liberia was ranked at the bottom in the categories of order and security as well as regulatory enforcement (id.).