A latest report by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation on African governance shows, for the first time in a decade, a decline in overall progress. This is driven by a decline in security and the rule of law in some countries.
The Ibrahim Index for African Government in 2020 (IIAG) named Mauritius, Cape Verde, Seychelles, Tunisia and Botswana as the top points countries in 2019. Angola and Somalia remain at the bottom, but in a steady way of improvement.
The report, released by the London-based foundation on November 16, said Mauritius would maintain its top position in 2019 for the tenth consecutive year, while Somalia remained grounded due to security challenges in parts of the country that al-Shabaab militant set.
Despite these challenges, Somalia has improved its governance since 2010, due in part to improved infrastructure and increased gender equality, according to the report.
“Sixty percent of Africans live in countries where governance is better in 2019 than in 2010,” according to Nathalie Delapalme, executive director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF).
“Since 2015, however, this progress has slowed down, which is a bit worrying,” Delapalme said in an interview with DW.
Human development up, rule of law down
The IIAG is an instrument that measures and monitors the performance of management in 54 African countries annually.
The framework consists of four categories: security and the rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunities and human development. In 2019, human development was the highest point of the four categories of government.
The foundation defines governance as the provision of political, social and economic public goods and services that every citizen has the right to expect from their state. Over the past decade, management dimensions have followed different paths. That is, although there has been an increase in infrastructure, economic opportunities and human development, there is a decline in the rule of law and security.
Cause for concern
However, some high-ranking countries, such as Mauritius, Botswana or South Africa, are currently still in 1st, 5th and 6th place respectively, since 2015.
In contrast, some lower positions such as Gambia (16th), Ivory Coast (18th) and Zimbabwe (33rd) are among the five biggest improvements during the decade. Somalia, which ranks 54th, is the 7th most improved country in the last ten years.
In addition to a balanced approach to government progress, the rule of law, justice, inclusion and equality appear to be the most important denominators among the best performing countries.
“Somalia, which is at the bottom of the index, has shown signs of improvement over the past decade, and Angola is one of the top five trend countries,” Delapalme said.
The majority of Africans are dissatisfied with their government
In more than half of the countries surveyed, citizens are less satisfied with the performance of their country than ten years ago. For most countries, the weakening in the public perception of overall governance has even worsened since 2015. As digital rights have also been infringed and the disconnection of internet in Africa is increasing, there has been a decline in the sharing of information.
“The analysis of our findings was that there was total dissatisfaction among the citizens of Africa regarding the delivery of government in their countries, and that the level of satisfaction is worse than ten years,” said Camilla Rocco, head of research at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said. .
“Citizens are the recipients of public leadership and government, and judging the performance of government must be rooted in the results for citizens and cannot rely on official and expert assessment data alone,” Rocco told DW.
The foundation has acknowledged that governments across Africa face unusual challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected their performance. However, the report shows that the continent has already experienced a decline in security issues long before COVID-19, and the pandemic has exacerbated an already alarming situation regarding election interference, shrinking space for civil society, increased repression and political unrest. . COVID-19 also puts countries’ health gaps in the spotlight across the continent.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic is obviously exacerbating and threatening those who have made progress, especially in the economic sector,” Delapalme noted. While the first index reports focused mainly on traditional public services, such as security or education, the 2020 report now includes new areas such as affordable health care and inequalities. Furthermore, it highlights issues of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
Ibrahim Index – A Fair Review?
In recent years, African governments have accused the Mo Ibrahim Foundation of publishing only negative reports about their condition. However, the foundation says the findings are based on information gathered by various research groups. “This is not an evaluation that the foundation does in full. We’re just offering a dashboard that consolidates data that comes from 38 different sources,” Delapalme said. ‘This is therefore a collective assessment. All countries share the indicators we use. I think this is a fair and impartial assessment. ‘
The report places the Ivory Coast among the best improvers of the past decade, despite electoral violence in recent years and political divisions among politicians. However, Delapalme says: “Ivory Coast has made good progress over the past decade in terms of human development and economic opportunities.” She added that the 2020 index reflects the year 2019, and therefore does not take into account what happened this year.