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World Bank Indicators Measure Good Governance


The World Bank says good governance can bring significant improvements in the standards of living in developing countries. However, it says while some countries have improved in recent years, “too often there’s been inaction.”

To keep track of advances or declines, the Bank has released its new governance indicators for more than 200 countries. Daniel Kaufman is the director of global governance at the World Bank Institute. He spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the importance of political and social stability.

He says, “At stake is the fundamental issue of socio-economic development and poverty alleviation first and foremost. One of the findings that we have and others have very similar findings is what we called the ‘development dividend’ of good governance, which on average we have found it to be 300 percent. A country that has today $2,000 per capita income per year can attain $6,000 per capita income per year in the long term if it improves its rule of law, control corruption and government effectiveness.”

Asked whether the improvement is due primarily to international investment, Mr. Kaufman replies, “That would be one of the factors, but not the only one and not always the main one. It also works through much more domestic investment to better allocation of domestic investment through much better use of the public resources at the disposal of the state and a much better use of people’s human capital, which is a crucial issue. The misallocation of the education that people do have and the human capital that they have when a place is misgoverned.”

There are six components of good governance according to the World Bank: voice and accountability, political instability and violence, government effectiveness, regulatory burden, rule of law and control of corruption.

Some sub-Saharan African countries are fairing well, others have shown declines. Mr. Kaufman cities problems in Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast, but says there have been improvements in Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda.