Pace of African governance improvement ‘slowing down’, annual index finds

29 Sep 14
Governance in Africa continues to improve although recent gains have been less impressive than those in earlier years, according to the latest edition of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG).

By | 29 September 2014

Governance in Africa continues to improve although recent gains have been less impressive than those in earlier years, according to the latest edition of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG).

The index, which is published annually by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, scores 52 African nations on outcomes in four areas: safety & rule of law; participation & human rights; sustainable economic opportunity; and human development.

These are then combined to give an overall governance score.

According to the 2014 index, the top five performers were: Mauritius, with a score of 81.7; Cabo Verde (76.6); Botswana (76.2); South Africa (73.3); and Seychelles (73.2).

The five weakest performers were: Somalia (8.6); Central African Republic (24.8); Eritrea (29.8); Chad (32.3) and Guinea-Bissau (33.2).

One area where some recent progress has stalled was sustainable economic opportunity. While this area drew an improvement score of +3.4 between 2005 and 2009, between 2010 and 2014 it had deteriorated to -0.2.

The foundation said this was because of a reversal of trends in two of the four-sub categories that inform the Sustainable Economic Opportunity score: public management and business environment. Improvements in the two other sub-categories – infrastructure and rural sector – were also slow.

Commenting on this trend, Lord Cairns, board member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, observed: ‘Perhaps some of the low-hanging fruit of better economic management have been garnered. The challenge grows for the continent to become a fully competitive force in the global market at a time when commodity price trends are becoming less ful to many countries on the continent.’

Safety & Rule of Law was another area where Africa’s performance was weaker, registering negative trends in both of the last two five-year periods.

‘National Security is the only sub-category within Safety & Rule of Law to have shown progress over the past five years (+0.5), driven in large part by Cross-border Tensions, the most improved indicator in the 2014 IIAG,’ the foundation noted.

Commenting on the overall picture painted by the 2014 index, Hadeel Ibrahim, founding executive director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: ‘The 2014 IIAG underscores the need to focus on building equitable and efficient institutions, such as health systems, accountability mechanisms and statistical offices.

‘Without these, we will not be able to meet the challenges we face – from strengthening the rule of law to managing shocks such as the Ebola virus.’

 

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