Aid and Development

REPORT: African governance at its highest level but progress is stalling

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The latest Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance is out for 2017.

Arguably the most comprehensive continent-wide assessment of African governance, the Index ranks all 54 African countries on 100 indicators across four categories of governance: Safety Rule of Law, Participation Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

There are a couple of key takeaways:

  1. While overall governance in Africa has reached its highest ever point, progress has stalled in the last 5 years. The pace of progress has slowed in the past five years compared to the previous five, with a score of 50.8 out of 100 for governance in 2016, flatlining since 2010. This is largely due to declines in Safety Rule of Law, where National Security concerns continue to plague the region driven by government involvement in armed conflicts and cross-border tensions. As a comparison, in 2007 43 countries received the best possible score in Government Involvement in Armed Conflict; in 2016 that number fell to just 18 countries.
  2. Citizens’ satisfaction with education services has worsened in many countries. Over the past five years, the Education Provision indicator, which measures how satisfied citizens are with their government’s efforts to meet their education needs, has stalled, with nearly half of all African countries showing declines. Two warning signs appear in the areas of Education Quality and Educational Systems, which could jeopardise Africa’s progress over the next decade.

At ONE we’ve been advocating and campaigning in Africa to shine a light on corruption. The effects of corruption can be devastating for the world’s poorest: it takes away much-needed money that could be spent on more health clinics and better schools, it acts as a tax on business, and it can foster political instability. We’re working to help empower citizens and local civil society – such as those we’ve highlighted in our Follow the Money map – to be able to hold their governments accountable for delivering important public services across all sectors through increased transparency of governments and companies.

For instance, we’re working to ensure that the Nigerian government implements commitments it made last year to create a public register of beneficial ownership information, a critical step in combating the secrecy of anonymous shell companies, which all-too-often serve as the getaway cars for the criminal and corrupt. We’re also advocating for African governments to implement open contracting so that the public can see how their governments are awarding contracts for public services – notoriously one of the most opaque and corrupt areas within government. We’re also pressing African governments to publish their budgets so that citizens can track how governments are spending their money and hold them accountable. The Mo Ibrahim Index provides an important measuring tool for monitoring progress, and incentivises governments to improve their scores vis-a-vis their neighbours.

If you’re as excited by the data as we are and want to hold leaders to account for the delivery of results for citizens, you can explore it here on a country, region and continent basis.

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