THE LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX™ 2019

Creating the Pathways from Poverty to Prosperity

Sub-Saharan Africa: Highest ever level, but still the lowest-ranked region

Prosperity in sub-Saharan Africa is at its highest ever level, but it is still the lowest-ranked region, and its deficit with the global average has grown.

The changes in sub-Saharan Africa’s prosperity over the last decade are outlined below.​

Improvements
  • Gabon (107th) and Kenya (106th) are exemplars of the improvement seen across the region on market access and infrastructure, as a result of improved port services in Gabon and greater transport connectivity and improved border administration in Kenya.
  • All countries have seen their living conditions improve, with the exception of Madagascar (166th). Togo (137th) improved the most, due to a reduction in the percentage of the population who are under-nourished or who are experiencing wasting, and an increase in the percentage of the population who have a bank account, make digital transactions, or own a cell phone.
  • All countries have seen an improvement in health, apart from the Seychelles (119th) and Madagascar (139th). Countries such as Botswana (12th), and Zimbabwe (34th), have seen the number of healthy life years lost to communicable diseases decrease by over 20%, due in part to more antiretroviral therapy being provided for the HIV-affected population.
  • Social capital has improved in 34 countries, with Togo (164th) seeing the biggest improvement, due in part to residents having increased confidence in public institutions.
Deteriorations
  • The region has seen the biggest decline in safety and security over the last decade after MENA. South Sudan (167th) has seen the biggest decline, due to the conflict between government and opposition forces. About 400,000 people have been killed and more than four million displaced since December 2013.
  • Economic quality has deteriorated in sub-Saharan Africa. Angola (144th) has seen one of the biggest deteriorations, with an increased risk rating, and the government debt-to-GDP ratio trebling to 72%. Five year GDP growth is also negative, and inflation has nearly doubled to 24% in the country.