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Ibrahim Index: Africa's Good Governance ‘Stalling’

  • Henry Ridgwell

Progress in good governance across Africa is stalling, according to the latest figures compiled by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. At the same time, a few countries are showing notable improvement.

The Ibrahim Index says it holds the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance. Analysts measure each country annually on key aspects, such as its business environment, accountability of public figures, and legislation on violence against women.

At the launch of the latest annual report, founder Mo Ibrahim said the overall trend in the past four years raises concerns.

“We notice that this upward direction somehow plateaued. It has not gone back. It is still going up at a very slow pace. So the first thing we say here, ‘Is African governance improvement stalling?’” he asked.

21 nations see drop

Twenty-one countries have seen their overall governance scores fall since 2011.

But the trend masks significant progress in some areas. Health and education have improved across the continent. Ibrahim said Ivory Coast, which is to hold elections later this month, showed the biggest overall improvement.

“Cote d’Ivoire has done well in every aspect of governance. But again you have to remember Cote d’Ivoire is coming out of conflict," said Ibrahim. "But then you have some countries which are not coming out of conflict, like Rwanda, Morocco, Togo, Kenya, these countries really have governments which are really focusing on development and are delivering.”

Ongoing conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan and Central African Republic meant they landed at the bottom of the list.

The measures of economic governance show some of the biggest declines. Analysts say several African states have suffered because of falling commodity prices in recent years.

Diversified economies

Conversely, successful countries have diversified economies, said former president of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka, speaking at the launch event in London.

“The commonalities are they are not dependent on commodities. So there has been something else happening, which is increasing investments; number two, increased domestic consumption; and number three, underrated, growth in regional trade,” said Kaberuka.

The Ibrahim Foundation says the aim of the index is to remove the mystery around governance, and to empower the ordinary African citizen to hold those in power to account.

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