January 20, 2010 | News Releases on Index of Economic Freedom
"A majority of nations in the region are ranked either 'mostly unfree' with scores between 50 and 60 or 'repressed' with scores below 50," the editors write. "In Sub-Saharan Africa there are only distinctions among less free economies."
There are positive signs. Mauritius (12th globally) remains among the world's 20 freest economies. It scores above the global average in eight economic freedoms, and implemented major tax reforms in 2010. Botswana is the only other regional economy rated "mostly free."
At the other end of the spectrum, Eritrea recorded the region's biggest overall score reduction. It remains ahead of Zimbabwe, where "all components of economic freedom score below or far below world averages," the editors write.
Eighteen economies in the region are rated as "repressed." Sub-Saharan Africa's "overall level of economic freedom is weaker than that of any other region," the editors write. "Sub-Saharan Africa is ranked last in seven of the 10 components of economic freedom and performs especially poorly in terms of property rights and freedom from corruption."
To compile the Index, the authors measured 183 countries across 10 specific factors of economic freedom: The higher the score, the lower the level of government interference. All countries were graded on a scale of zero to 100. Four countries couldn't be measured because of a lack of reliable data.
The 10 freedoms are: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labor freedom. Ratings in each category were averaged to produce the overall Index score.
Worldwide, the average rating for economic freedom dropped slightly this year as many countries scrambled to deal with recession. However, it's important they take the correct steps.
"The 2010 Index provides strong evidence that economic freedom has far-reaching positive impacts on various aspects of human development," the editors write. "Economic freedom correlates with poverty reduction, a variety of desirable social indicators, democratic governance, and environmental sustainability."
Of the 179 countries ranked only seven were classified as "free" (a score of 80 or higher). Another 23 were rated "mostly free" (70-79.9). The bulk of countries--113 economies--were found to be either "moderately free" (60-60.9) or "mostly unfree" (50-50.9). The remaining 36 countries have "repressed" economies, with total freedom scores below 50.
The 2010 Index was edited by Ambassador Terry Miller, Director of Heritage's Center for International Trade and Economics, and Dr. Kim Holmes, Heritage's Vice President for foreign affairs. Copies of the 2010 Index (TK pp., US$ TK) can be ordered at heritage.org/index or by calling 1-800-975-8625. Additionally the full text, charts and graphs, is available via the Internet at www.heritage.org/index.
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