Africans (can) do it better

This morning, I woke up to headlines reading ‘Nederland m/v doet het slechter dan Burundi, hoe kan dat?‘ (The Netherlands m/f are doing worse than Burundi, how is this possible?) The article indignantly describes how the Netherlands has dropped three places on the Global Gender Gap Report 2016, now ranking lower than countries like Burundi and Namibia.
Besides my usual annoyance with the amateur and subjective language the (Dutch) media is using these days, as well as the usage of random online ‘sources’ (Twitter, Facebook), this article was written with a hint of prejudice and neocolonial arrogance. As if African countries can’t do better than the Dutch. Eish!
Not to say that there are no pressing issues and needs in each of the countries on the continent, but we need to stop portraying ‘Africa’ stereotypically and one-sidedly.
And not to say that the Netherlands aren’t doing well; we are often within the top ten when it comes to most civil, political and social-economic issues. But, we’re not the best in everything and can learn from other countries including African ones.

So, here are a few rankings showing (certain) African countries doing better than the Netherlands.

The Good Country Index ranks countries according to their contributions to various issues, such as Science & Technology, Culture, World Order, Planet & Climate, Prosperity & Equality and Health & Wellbeing. While the Netherlands ranks 3rd overall, it ranks 42nd in its Contributions to International Peace & Security. This positions the Netherlands lower than African countries like South Africa, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Niger, Tunisia, Togo, Ghana, Benin, Madagascar, Mauritius, Cameroon, Nigeria, Burundi and Morocco.

The Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report ranks countries on their ability to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy. The Netherlands is ranked 37th, lower than the Republic of Congo.

Related to my field of work, the KidsRights Index ranks how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve children’s rights. Overall, the Netherlands are in 13th place, under Tunisia. On the right to education, the Netherlands ranks 29th, under Mauritius. When it comes to the child rights enabling environment, based on non-discrimination, best interest of the child, respect for the views of the child/child participation, enabling legislation, best available budget, collection and analysis of disaggregate date and state-civil society cooperation for child rights, the Netherlands is on the bottom of the list, sharing a 59-66th place with Sweden, Austria, Chile, Kazakhstan, Oman, Jamaica and South Africa. Which African countries can we learn from in this respect? Tunisia, Mauritania, Benin, Djibouti, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Egypt, Kenya, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Mali, Mauritius, Cameroon, Angola and Chad.


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