JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- The Sudanese billionaire behind a lucrative prize to promote leadership in Africa on Monday condemned the killing of pro-democracy protesters in Guinea.
Mo Ibrahim was speaking at the launch of his foundation's 2009 Index of African Governance, which tracks development on the continent.
He said the shooting of 157 people by troops in "cold blood" at a rally in Guinea last week was unacceptable.
Ibrahim also called for African leaders to "stand firm" against those who seize power and then try to legitimize their rule by holding elections.
Capt. Moussa "Dadis" Camara seized control of Guinea in December 2008. Elections are to be held in the West African country in January 2010. Camara initially said he would not run but recently indicated that he may have changed his mind.
Ibrahim also referred to Madagascar, where a military-backed politician toppled an elected president in March and is also promising elections.
Guinea is placed 44th out of 53 countries in the index while Madagascar ranks 13th. The index does not reflect the effect of this year's coups in both countries.
For the first time, the index now covers all 53 African countries. It was launched in 2007 and the ranking is based on a number of indicators including security, crime, corruption, health and education.
The 2009 index is based on latest available data, which is mainly from last year and has a margin of error of 6 points.
Ibrahim acknowledged that data collection in Africa was inadequate and that statistical offices need to be strengthened. He also said the 2009 index does not reflect the effect of the global financial crisis.
Southern Africa ranked as the continent's best-performing region thanks to stable democracies such as South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique. Five of Africa's 10 best performing countries are southern African nations. North Africa is second, West Africa is ranked third followed by East Africa while Central Africa is the worst performing.
"The rest of Africa - where coups are taking place - should look at southern Africa and see how these guys are getting their act together," Ibrahim said in a telephone news conference from Cape Town, where the index was launched.
He attributed southern Africa's success to strong democratic institutions, and that the protection of human rights and the rule of law prevails in these countries.
Mauritius remains the best-run country according to the index. Somalia, which has not had an effective central government since 1991, retains its bottom ranking.
Chief researcher Hania Farhan praised the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius for "enlightened policy, free and fair elections and a very adaptive government."
Farhan said Liberia continues to see the greatest improvement while Zimbabwe and Eritrea show the strongest decline.
Benefits of Zimbabwe's unity government formed in February, may only be seen next year, she said.
South Africa, the country's economic powerhouse, was ranked 5th. The country, which will host Africa's first football (soccer) World Cup next year, scored high for safety and rule of law but was in the bottom 10 when it came to personal security. Crime is pervasive in South Africa, which has one of the highest murder and rape rates in the world.
Farhan was cautiously optimistically about the outlook for Africa, saying the data showed an overall slow "trend of improvement." But, performances by the top 10 countries were "substantially and significantly" better than the other countries were data was less reliable.
Ibrahim also awards an annual $5 million prize to an outstanding African leader, which will be announced on Oct. 19.
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