The Rule of Law in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Comparison of the Best and Worst Countries

According to the World Justice Project, the rule of law is a long-lasting system of laws, institutions, norms, and community commitment that provides accountability, open government, just law, and accessible and impartial justice.

While the rule of law has continued to deteriorate in the majority of countries, it varies greatly across Sub-Saharan Africa. Some countries have made considerable strides toward promoting the rule of law, while others are still struggling.

Rwanda ranked first in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 2018 Rule of Law Index, followed by Namibia and Mauritius. On the other end of the scale, Mauritania, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the region’s lowest marks.

The World Justice Project (WJP) evaluated countries based on eight important factors: government power limits, lack of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice.

According to the paper, the index is a composite measure with significant variation among countries on each of the eight factors. Rwanda, for example, ranks first overall but 62nd in terms of fundamental rights.

The top ten and bottom ten Sub-Saharan African countries on the 2023 WJP Rule of Law Index are as follows:

Top 10

  1. Rwanda
  2. Namibia
  3. Mauritius
  4. Botswana
  5. South Africa
  6. Senegal
  7. Ghana
  8. Malawi
  9. The Gambia
  10. Benin

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