Monrovia — Liberia maintains its same score for the second year running on the World Bank's Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) report for Africa.
However, with a total score of 3.1, Liberia is still below the average of all low-income countries, which is at 3.2. Countries are rated on a scale of 1 (low) to 6 (high). The average CPIA score for Sub-Saharan Africa remains at 3.1.
CPIA is an annual evaluation of the progress of 38 sub-Saharan countries in improving the quality of governance. The report focuses on 16 development indicators categorized in four key clusters - economic management, structural policies, social inclusion and equity and public sector management and institution.
The CPIA is a very powerful tool to measure the quality of policies and institutions in a country in order to increase development effectiveness and investment, authors of the report said during the release on Wednesday.
The index also helps influence the number of concessional resources countries can get from the World Bank to fund development projects.
Fighting corruption is the surest way to increase the CPIA performance and if the performance increases, the country has more access to resources [from the bank], a co-author of the report stressed.
The report covers 2017, showing that Liberia performed poorly in social protection and labor with 2.5 points against a 3.0 average score. A 2.5 score for quality of public administration is also three points below an average 2.8 - another low performance for Liberia in the public sector management and institution cluster on the index.
Nevertheless, Liberia recorded impressive numbers in Monetary and exchange policy (3.5), fiscal and debt policies (3.5), the efficiency of revenue mobilization (3.5) and transparency, accountability and corruption in public sector (3.0) - three points above the average for IDA borrowing countries. IDA is the International Development Association, the arm of the World Bank that provides credits to the poorest nations.
Rwanda leads the index with 4.0 for the second year; Senegal with 3.8, followed by Cape Verde, Kenya and Tanzania with 3.7 respectively. Burkina Faso (3.6), Ghana (3.6), Uganda (3.6), Benin (3.5), and Cote d'Ivoire (3.4) complete the top 10 on the index.
The Gambia (3.0), Zimbabwe (2.8), Chad (2.7), Sudan (2.4), and South Sudan (1.5) are all below the average score, according to the report, which added that more than 20 of the countries that are IDA borrowers scored "relatively weak performance."
The authors of the report on Wednesday during the launch in Washington, USA said that the index informs the government about reducing the risks of debt unsustainability and it is important for governments to "pay more attention to the scores".
"There is a financial return attached to the performance on the CPIA ... in fact, the World Bank uses the index in a formula to allocate resources to the IDA concessional window, which means, if a country increases its score on the CPIA the country gets more money," says Albert Zeufack, the Bank's Chief Economist for Africa, also co-author of the report.
"So, government should pay extreme attention to this index, because it has direct implication on the volume of concessional resources that the country gets."
He added that the report informs government's policy planning, monitoring, and implementation, while referencing several West African nations that have used the report to improve their respective governance and economies.
Punam Chuchu-Pole, lead economist and lead author of the report, added that the global environment was favorable for sub-Saharan countries policy space to implement reforms and build momentum.
"The number of countries that saw decline is much fewer then what we saw in 2016 - nine countries saw decline as compare the 16 the previous year," she said.