London — Mo Ibrahim Calls for Afro-Realism As the Lens Through Which to View Africa
The seventh Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), released today, confirms that overall governance continues to improve at the continental level. The countries that have experienced overall governance improvement since 2000 are today home to 94% of people living on the continent.
Since 2000, the strongest improvements at continental level are registered in the categories of Human Development, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and, to a lesser extent, Participation & Human Rights. Meanwhile the Safety & Rule of Law category has declined worryingly, showing year-on-year declines since 2010.
The IIAG shows a growing diversity in governance results on the continent.
There is a widening span in performance between the best and worst governed countries; increasingly noticeable differences between the performance across different categories; and conflicting trends within the categories.
Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said: "Neither Afro-pessimism nor Afro-optimism do justice to modern Africa. This is now the age of Afro-realism - an honest outlook on our continent. It's about a celebration of its achievements but also a pragmatic acknowledgement of the challenges that lie ahead."
Diverging results in the Safety & Rule of Law category
The Safety & Rule of Law category has shown diverging trends between its sub-categories.
While the National Security sub-category continues to show progress, with Cross-Border Tensions being the largest improving indicator, the Personal Safety sub-category has seen concerning declines, with four of the five indicators sitting in the ten most deteriorated indicator group. Personal Safety has also shown the largest sub-category level deterioration since 2000.
While the Accountability sub-category has improved slightly since 2000, especially in the Corruption & Bureaucracy indicator, the Rule of Law sub-category has declined.
"In this continent, where two thirds of the population is now under 25, these diverging trends within the Safety & Rule of Law category are concerning.
They may sound a warning signal, with the new century seeing fewer regional conflicts but increased domestic social unrest," said Hadeel Ibrahim, Founding Executive Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
Complexity underpins the IIAG scores
The 2013 IIAG reflects the growing complexity of the African landscape.
The challenge is how to secure sustainable progress.
More than ever, equitable allocation of resources must be a priority for policy and decision making. Commitment to, and balance in each of the four IIAG categories-Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development, is critical to secure improvement in the long-term.
The continental average of 51.6 for overall governance conceals the widening span in performance between the African countries, with the top performing country, Mauritius, scoring 82.9 while Somalia, the poorest performing country, registers the lowest country score at 8.0.
Between 2000 and 2012, the range of scores between the best and worst performers, at the overall governance level as well as at a category level, has widened. This is most evident in the Sustainable Economic Opportunity category.
Salim Ahmed Salim, Chairperson of the Ibrahim Prize Committee said: "The widening range of the governance results, especially within some sub-regions, stresses the growing need for more cohesion and solidarity.
This will be critical to African unity."
Five post-conflict countries - Liberia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Burundi - top the league of the table for most improved performers since 2000.
Two countries, Angola and Rwanda, have, remarkably, shown year-on-year improvement in overall governance, coming from their lowest point in 2000 and reaching their highest peak yet in 2012.
However, both of these countries have room for continued improvement, with Rwanda ranking 15th in overall governance, and Angola ranking 39th (out of 52 countries).
At country level
The top ten performers over the years have remained relatively stable, with eight countries managing to remain in this grouping since 2000 (Mauritius, Botswana, Cape Verde, South Africa, Seychelles, Namibia, Tunisia and Ghana).
Meanwhile, the bottom ten have displayed more fluctuation in and out of the grouping. Six countries (Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Central African Republic, DRC and Somalia) have constantly remained in the bottom ten in all years between 2000 and 2012.
Since 2000, seven countries have managed to pull themselves out of the bottom ten, four of which are post-conflict countries (Angola, Burundi, Liberia and Sierra Leone).
At sub-category level
Since 2000, 11 out of the 14 sub-categories have shown improvement: Accountability, National Security, Participation, Gender, Public Management, Business Environment, Infrastructure, Rural Sector, Welfare, Education, and Health. Meanwhile notable deterioration has been registered in the Rule of Law, Personal Safety, and Rights sub-categories.
At indicator level
Since 2000, of the 94 indicators included in the IIAG, the ten most improved are Antiretroviral Treatment Provision, Ratio of External Debt Service to Exports, Digital Connectivity, Core International Human Rights Conventions, Cross-Border Tensions, Legislation on Violence Against Women, Immunisation (Measles & DPT), Women in Parliament, Primary School Completion and Child Mortality.
The ten most deteriorated indicators are Human Rights, Freedom of Expression, Violent Crime, Social Unrest, Human Trafficking, Domestic Armed Conflict, Transfers of Power, Soundness of Banks, Safety of the Person and Workers' Rights.