Nigeria slipped to 109th position out of 167 countries in the latest Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Democracy Index report due to irregularities in elections, increasing atrocities against religious beliefs as well as other dissenting voices, according to the EIU.
It has ranked 109 with a score of 4.44 out of 10, Nigeria was categorized as a hybrid regime.
While Nigeria was ranked 20 in Africa, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana and South Africa occupies, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions respectively.
“Hybrid” and “authoritarian” regimes are concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa (36 out of 44 countries).
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores on 60 indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: full democracy; flawed democracy; hybrid regime; and authoritarian regime.
Reflecting the scant democratic progress made in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in recent years, the region’s average score in the Democracy Index has remained relatively flat since 2011, but dipped again in 2017, to 4.35 (from 4.37 in 2016 and 4.38 in 2015).
Political participation and political culture have improved over the past five years (albeit with a few notable exceptions), but this has been offset by deteriorating scores for civil liberties and the functioning of government.
Moreover, while elections have become commonplace across much of the region, the regional score for electoral processes has remained persistently low, reflecting a lack of genuine pluralism in most countries. The relatively unchanged average headline score for the region masks a mixed picture, in which a few significant score increases in 2017 helped to offset a wider trend of deterioration across much of the continent.
Only 11 countries out of the 44 recorded any improvement in their overall score, eight were unchanged, and so the majority, 25, suffered a deterioration in their democratic credentials. There was one-star performer, The Gambia, which was upgraded from being among the world’s most authoritarian regimes to being a “hybrid democracy”. The country’s score also rose by more than any other country in the entire 2017 index, and by a considerable margin. Ethiopia is one of the worst places in the world for media freedom.
Media freedom in South Africa—long considered one of the most open in Sub-Saharan Africa – deteriorated under the president, Jacob Zuma, and remains under pressure today. Freedom of expression is guaranteed in the constitution, but in practice, it is circumscribed by legislation and by the actions of powerful interest groups.
Norway ranked first in the Democracy Index with 9.87 points in 2017. The last 167 place was occupied by North Korea with 1.08 points. Slovakia (44th place), Poland (53rd), Hungary (56th), Romania (64th) and Georgia (79th) were ahead of Ukraine.
In terms of its overall average score, Asia experienced the biggest decline of any of the seven regions covered by The Economist in 2017, when its average score fell to 5.63.
Meanwhile, world average for 2017 was 5.48 falling from 5.52 in 2016, the report says.
The EIU is the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company of The Economist newspaper.
Media freedom around the world has fallen to its lowest level since The Economist began producing the Democracy Index in 2006, and restrictions on freedom of speech have become commonplace even in developed democracies.
Only 30 countries in the world containing 11% of the world population remains fully free in the category ‘Media freedom around the world, 2017’ whilst 47 countries containing 35.9% of the world population was termed as ‘unfree’.
Russia (135th place), Belarus (138th) and Kazakhstan (141st) are designated as “authoritarian regimes.” The report also includes the media freedom ranking for 2017.
Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and the United States have the highest score (10) and their media freedom status is “fully free.”
Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, North Korea, Syria, Turkey, and Uzbekistan have the lowest score (0).