Keeping the score on African government: the Ibrahim Index reveals that problems with safety and rule of law have retarded improvement in African governance over the last 10 years.

Author:Saigal, Kanika
Position:FEATURE: GOVERNANCE - Statistical data

Good governance is the key to successful development in Africa. Not withstanding turbulence along the way, Africa has made some excellent strides in implementing good, strong policy that has lead to robust economic growth over the last decade. According to data from the World Economic Forum, the continent achieved average real annual GDP growth of 5.4% between 2000 and 2010, adding $78bn to GDP each year.

But the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (II AG)--an annual statistical assessment of the quality of governance in every African country--has found that progress in governance has been slow. In the 10 years since the index began, overall governance in Africa has had an average score of 50 out of 100, just one point higher than recorded when the index first came out back in 2006.

"The pace of change is disappointing but change takes time, generations even," says Mo Ibrahim, head of the eponymous foundation that runs and publishes the HAG. "But what is important to note is that we are still moving forward, and not falling back in terms of good governance. And by looking closely at the index we can assess the factors that are pulling us back."

As Donald Kaberuka, a member of the board of the foundation and Africa Development Bank president between 2005 and 2015 says: "The trend is moving in the right direction and we have seen huge improvements in some areas relating to good governance.

"Over the last 10 years we have seen great strides in gender equality, education and health care. But we still have our issues which the index can help us identify."

Based on four main categories--safety and the rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunities and human development--the index compiles data from a wide number of African and international sources to create a ranking out of a hundred for each country in terms of overall governance. In addition, results for all countries can then be combined to illustrate continental scores and trends.

One of the main factors limiting progress in terms of good governance in Africa are issues relating to safety and the rule of law--the only category of the main four to have fallen over the last 10 years. The score for safety and rule of law fell by 2.8 points over the last 10 years to hit a continental average of 52.1. As the index shows, all countries that have suffered from a deterioration of overall governance, including the likes of Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana and Libya...

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