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Absence of rule of law stifles progress in African governance, says Mo Ibrahim

By dayan (M)October 04, 2016, 03:26:07 AM
Almost two-thirds of African citizens live in a country in which safety and rule of law deteriorated in the last ten years

LONDON, Monday 3 October 3,  2016 – The 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), launched yesterday by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, reveals that improvement in overall governance in Africa over the past ten years has been held back by a widespread deterioration in the category of Safety & Rule of Law.

The tenth edition of the IIAG, the most comprehensive analysis of African governance undertaken to date, brings together a decade of data to assess each of Africa’s 54 countries against 95 indicators drawn from 34 independent sources.

Fresh perspective

This year, for the first time, the IIAG includes Public Attitude Survey data from Afrobarometer. This captures Africans’ own perceptions of governance, which provide fresh perspective on the results registered by other data such expert assessment and official data.


Mo-Ibrahim

Over the last decade, overall governance has improved by one score point at the continental average level, with 37 countries – home to 70% of African citizens – registering progress. This overall positive trend has been led mainly by improvement in Human Development and Participation & Human Rights. Sustainable Economic Opportunity also registered an improvement, but at a slower pace.

However, these positive trends stand in contrast to a pronounced and concerning drop in Safety & Rule of Law, for which 33 out of the 54 African countries – home to almost two-thirds of the continent’s population – have experienced a decline since 2006, 15 of them quite substantially.

This worrying trend has worsened recently, with almost half of the countries on the continent recording their worst score ever in this category within the last three years. This is driven by large deteriorations in the sub-categories of Personal Safety and National Security. Notably, Accountability is now the lowest scoring sub-category of the whole Index. Without exception, all countries that have deteriorated at the Overall Governance level have also deteriorated in Safety & Rule of Law.

The improvement in the Participation & Human Rights category, found in 37 countries across the continent, has been driven by progress in Gender and in Participation. However, a marginal deterioration appears in the sub-category Rights, with some worrying trends in indicators relating to the civil society space.

Sustainable Economic Opportunity is the IIAG’s lowest scoring and slowest improving category. However, 38 countries – together accounting for 73% of continental GDP – have recorded an improvement over the last decade. The largest progress has been achieved in the sub-category Infrastructure, driven by a massive improvement in the indicator Digital & IT Infrastructure, the most improved of all 95 indicators. However, the average score for Infrastructure still remains low, with the indicator Electricity Infrastructure registering a particularly worrying decline in 19 countries, home to 40% of Africa’s population. Progress has also been achieved in Rural Sector sub-category.

Poverty  reduction

Human Development is the best performing category over the last decade, with 43 countries – home to 87% of African citizens – registering progress. All dimensions – Education, Health and Welfare – have improved, although progress in the sub-category Welfare has been affected by declines in Social Exclusion and Poverty Reduction Priorities indicators.

Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, says: “The improvement in overall governance in Africa over the last decade reflects a positive trend in a majority of countries and for over two-thirds of the continent’s citizens. No success, no progress can be sustained without constant commitment and effort. As our Index reveals, the decline in safety and rule of law is the biggest issue facing the continent today. Sound governance and wise leadership are fundamental to tackling this challenge, sustaining recent progress and ensuring that Africa’s future is bright.”

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