THE LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX™ 2020

Creating the Pathways from Poverty to Prosperity

Sub-Saharan Africa: Third most improved region for prosperity since 2010

Sub-Saharan Africa is the third most improved region for prosperity since 2010, but it remains the weakest performing of all seven regions.

The changes in the region's prosperity over the last decade are outlined below.​

Improvements
  • Improvements in health have been near-universal across the region, with only the Seychelles (38th) deteriorating. The improvement in preventative interventions and care systems has been substantial, and is typified by Ethiopia (131st), where the proportion of pregnant women who receive antenatal care has increased from 28% to 74% since 2010.
  • All countries have expanded their telecommunications infrastructure, with all but four seeing a consequential improvement in the Market Access and Infrastructure pillar. Rwanda (100th) saw the greatest improvement in the pillar by streamlining customs clearance processes and improving access to electricity.
  • All but fifteen countries across the region saw an improvement in their investment environment over the past decade, with Guinea (121st) improving the most. Guinea has strengthened property rights by increasing protections of intellectual property and reducing property transfer registration fees.
Deteriorations
  • After the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa has seen the biggest regional decline in safety and security since 2010 as it continues to be afflicted by internecine conflicts. This decline can principally be attributed to increased terrorism: in Mali (157th), for example, there were 137 terror attacks causing 826 deaths in 2019, up from 6 attacks killing 30 in 2009.
  • Economic quality has also deteriorated in sub-Saharan Africa, with increasing government debt and highly volatile inflation rates driving the decline. This poses a great risk to post-COVID-19 recovery, especially in countries like Zambia (155th) where GDP per capita growth had been decreasing over the decade leading up to the pandemic.