The Ibrahim Index of African Government in 2020 (IIAG), launched by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation on Monday 16 November, points to a decline in performance in Africa for the first time since 2010.
The average Africa score of 2019 for overall government drops by -0.2 points below that of 2018, which records the first year-on-year weakening since 2010. This recent decline is caused by deteriorating performance in three of the four IIAG categories: participation, rights and inclusion, security and rule of law and human development.
The report notes that progress has slowed since 2015. Performance is said to have deteriorated during 2015-2019 in both human development and foundations for economic opportunities, while the deterioration continued in security and rule of law and participation, rights and inclusion, even exacerbated for the latter.
However, it points out that the overall performance of governance has progressed slightly over the decade and that 61.2% of Africa’s population in 2019 will live in a country where overall governance is better than in 2010.
The 2020 IIAG is the most comprehensive assessment of governance performance in 54 African countries.
It follows Africa’s trajectory across four main categories: Security and the rule of law; Participation, rights and inclusion; Foundations for economic opportunities; and human development. The new IIAG includes three key upgrades: an extensive scope of management, including new areas such as environment and equality; enhanced indicators, thanks to better data availability; and a new section fully dedicated to Africa’s Citizens’ Voices.
Over the past decade, the government’s dimensions have followed different paths.
The report further notes that the progress made over the past decade has been driven primarily by improvements in economic opportunities and human development. Foundations for Economic Opportunities (+4.1) and Human Development (+3.0) made good progress, led mainly by improvements in the subcategories Infrastructure and Health, complemented by advances in the sustainable environment.
However, it is threatened by an increasingly uncertain security situation and the erosion of rights as well as civil and democratic space. Over the past decade, both participation, rights and inclusion (-1.4) and security and rule of law (-0.7) have shown worrying declines.
Over the past decade, 20 countries, where 41.9% of Africa’s population lives, while advancing human development and foundations for economic opportunities, have simultaneously declined in both the security and the rule of law and participation. , rights and inclusion.
Only eight countries manage to improve in all four categories during the decade: Angola, Chad, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Seychelles, Sudan and Togo.
COVID-19 raises existing challenges and threatens economic progress
The 2020 IIAG provides a picture of the continent before it was hit by COVID-19. In terms of participation, rights and inclusion, progress slowed long before the pandemic, only exacerbating the existing negative trajectory. Conversely, economic opportunities have been placed at a positive rate of sustained progress, and the impact of COVID-19 now threatens this much-desired achievement.
The citizens of Africa are increasingly dissatisfied with the delivery of government in their countries
In 2019, a new analysis of the Citizens’ Voices division in the IIAG revealed that public perception of overall government has the lowest score during the decade, with the weakening over the past five years. A balanced approach to governance is the key to progress, as well as improvement in the rule of law, justice,
inclusion and equality
The strongest correlations between overall government performance are found with the subcategories Law of Law and Justice and Inclusion and Equality. The indicators showing the strongest relationships with a high overall management point span all four IIAG categories, emphasizing the importance of a balanced approach to management.
The growing imbalance between the various management dimensions outlined above is likely to threaten the overall management performance.
Mo Ibrahim, chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, says:
“This is a test time for Africa. Existing weaknesses and challenges in African government, as discovered in the 2020 IIAG, are exacerbated by COVID-19, which also threatens economic progress.
Citizens’ dissatisfaction and distrust with the delivery of management is increasing. African states have the opportunity to secure both their intention for democracy and their ability to drive a new growth model that is more resilient, fairer, more sustainable and more independent. “