Africa: Kenya Ranked 11 in Africa Governance Score

South Sudanese surgeon, Evan Atar Adaha, 52, and winner of the Nansen Refugee Award, sits with a refugee from Sudan and her malnourished son in the nutrition stabilization centre of Maban Hospital in the town of Bunj, Maban County, South Sudan on May 8, 2018.
29 October 2018

Kenya has been ranked number 11 in overall governance in Africa, joining Morocco and Côte d'Ivoire in the list of countries that have shown the most improvement in the past decade.

Kenya moved from position 19 to 11, Morocco from 25 to 15 and Côte d'Ivoire from 41 to 22, according to the 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance report by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

The report, the foundation's 12th, looks at both country and indicator trends over a period by evaluating more recent progress in governance alongside long-term performance.


Its reports are deemed to have the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.

Kenya also did remarkably well in the sustainable economic opportunity score, coming 8th, with Mauritius, Rwanda and Morocco topping in the category, which measures the extent to which governments enable their citizens to pursue economic goals and give them an opportunity to prosper.


It was also ranked number eight, with 79 percent, in the human development category, which assesses whether governments provide poverty mitigation and alleviation, educational advancement, healthcare and medical and sanitary services.

In this category, Kenya was singled out as the only country out of the 10 African countries with the largest gross domestic products in 2017 that improved its business environment.


Kenya was also noted for the independence of the Judiciary, with an impressive 76 per cent, 61 per cent in property rights, 66.7 per cent for an orderly mechanism of transfer of power, a similar score for freedom of expression, and 71.7 per cent for the promotion of gender equality.

But while it was ranked 11th in overall governance, the country performed dismally in safety and the rule of law, coming 23rd. Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia, Cape Verde and The Seychelles were ranked as the continent's best five in these categories. The war-torn countries of Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia were ranked bottom five, with Somalia being the worst.


But although it climbed four points up, Kenya has been put in the "warning signs" category in terms of participation and human rights, which measures civil and political rights and freedoms by assessing citizen participation in the political and electoral processes, respect for basic rights, and the absence of gender discrimination through the sub-categories.

According to the report, in 2017, the continent reached its highest governance score (49.9 per cent) in the past 10 years (2008-2017) a one-point improvement from 2008.

"Once on a positive track in the rule of law, the majority of countries tend to follow it. Out of the 24 countries which improved their score over the decade, 19 accelerated these improvements in the last five years," says the report.


But while only 24 countries showed improvement in rule of law in the last decade, in total, 30 countries saw an improvement in the same between 2013 and 2017.

The report indicates that in the last five years, 19 have improved their governance performance in the last decade.

"This does leave, however, at least one in four Africans (27.2 percent) experiencing decline in governance as 18 countries register a deteriorated score over the last ten years," the report adds.

Countries that have improved their overall governance performance over the last decade are either losing momentum, with the rate of progress slowing, or have even begun to register a recent downturn.


The report also indicates that 18 countries - one out of three countries on the continent - displayed a worse governance score in 2017 than ten years ago.

"Some of these (Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Libya) are among the ten lowest scoring countries in terms of overall governance in 2017, with decline worsening over the last five years."

Within the last three years, 18 countries displayed their worst overall governance performance in a decade, and 28 achieved their best in the same period, highlighting the diverging trends on the continent.


Of the 14 sub-categories of governance that compose the IIAG, the report finds that only three have seen large African average decline over the decade.

They include; Personal Safety (-6.1), Business Environment (-4.9) and National Security (-4.4).

"Of concern, however, is that progress in key areas is faltering. Looking at the last five years of the decade, four new sub-categories have begun to decline: rights, public management, rural sector and education," the report says. "As a result, between 2013 and 2017, half of the IIAG's 14 sub-categories are declining."


Participation and human rights, the report found, has "undoubtedly improved" over the last ten years, driven by strong progress in participation and gender.

The report however, indicates that progress has been limited by shrinking civil society space.

Over the last decade, which has been one of economic growth for the continent, Africa's average progress in sustainable economic opportunity for its citizens has been nearly non-existent.

"The 2017 sustainable economic opportunity African average score (44.8) is barely higher than ten years ago in 2008 (only +0.1 points, an increase of only 0.2 percent) whilst Africa's GDP has grown by 39.7 percent over the same period."

"Almost half (43.2 percent) of Africa's citizens live in one of the 25 countries where Sustainable Economic Opportunity has declined in the last ten years."

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