Progress in African governance over the last decade is significant but held back by deterioration in Safety and Rule of Law
The 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), the 10th release by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, reveals overall improvement in governance over the past ten years, with some deterioration in one category: Safety and Rule of Law. 37 countries, which are home to 70% of African citizens, registered progress across Human Development, Participation and Human Rights and Sustainable Economic Opportunity.
The tenth edition of the IIAG, the most comprehensive analysis of African governance undertaken to date, brings together a decade of data to assess each of Africaâ€™s 54 countries against 95 indicators drawn from 34 independent sources. This year, for the first time, the IIAG includes Public Attitude Survey data from Afrobarometer. This captures Africans's own perceptions of governance, which provide fresh perspective on the results registered by other data such expert assessment and official data. In fact, according to Mo Ibrahim Foundation Founder and Chair Mo Ibrahim, the disparity shows that citizens are raising their expectations, a feeling echoed by former UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.
Over the last decade, overall governance has improved by one score point at the continental average level, with 37 countries - home to 70% of African citizens - registering progress. This overall positive trend has been led mainly by improvement in Human Development and Participation & Human Rights. Sustainable Economic Opportunity also registered an improvement, but at a slower pace. However, these positive trends stand in contrast to a pronounced and concerning drop in Safety & Rule of Law, for which 33 out of the 54 African countries - home to almost two-thirds of the continent's population - have experienced a decline since 2006, 15 of them quite substantially.
This worrying trend has worsened recently, with almost half of the countries on the continent recording their worst score ever in this category within the last three years. This is driven by large deterioration in the subcategories of Personal Safety and National Security. Notably, Accountability is now the lowest scoring subcategory of the whole Index. Without exception, all countries that have deteriorated at the Overall Governance level have also deteriorated in Safety & Rule of Law.
38 countries - together accounting for 73% of continental GDP - have recorded an improvement over the last decade. The largest progress has been achieved in the sub-category Infrastructure, driven by a massive improvement in the indicator Digital & IT Infrastructure, the most improved of all 95 indicators. However, the average score for Infrastructure still remains low, with the indicator Electricity Infrastructure registering a particularly worrying decline in 19 countries, home to 40% of Africa's population.
(c) 2016 Thomson Reuters