Africans Suffer Setbacks in Safety and Rule of Law - Report

Africa's premier survey of the performance of its national governments says safety and the rule of law have on average declined across the continent.

This year's report of the "Ibrahim Index of African Governance" notes that while "a majority of Africa's citizens live in countries which have seen improvements in participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity or human development, all... [survey] components which make up safety and the rule of law have deteriorated."

The survey said that in the last three years, almost half of Africa's 54 countries have recorded their worst-ever score in the category "safety and rule of law".

"Thirty-three... countries--home to almost two-thirds of the continent's population--have experienced a decline since 2006, 15 of them quite substantially," the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, publishers of the survey said.

On average, however, the quality of governance has improved slightly across the continent. There has been progress in 37 countries, which are home to 70 percent of Africans.

"This overall positive trend has been led mainly by improvement in human development and participation and human rights. Sustainable economic opportunity also registered an improvement, but at a slower pace."

The best-governed countries in Africa remain Mauritius, Botswana and Cape Verde.

The countries in which governance standards have improved the most in the past decade are Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Rwanda. However, Zimbabwe still ranks in the bottom half of the rankings of all countries.

And while Ghana and South Africa are listed in the top 10 performers, they have shown the eighth and the tenth largest decline respectively.

This year marks the 10th edition of the index, a tool which both enables citizens to hold their governments to account and provides governments with accurate and objective data by which to measure progress and chart the way forward.

This year's report offers a decade of data which assesses the continent's 54 countries against 95 benchmarks. The index's sources include for the first time the continent's principal public opinion survey, Afrobarometer, described by the Ibrahim report as "the voice of the African citizens for whom governments must deliver."

Other highlights from the report:

  • Africa has made most progress in the governance category "human development" over the last decade, with with 43 countries showing an improvement;
  • But corruption is growing--the average score has declined by 8.7 index points, with 33 countries registering deterioration, over the past 10 years;
  • And freedom of expression is deteriorating, with two-thirds of countries, representing two-thirds of Africa's population, showing a decline;
  • Of the 95 benchmarks which comprise the survey, the most improved is "digital & IT infrastructure";
  • All 54 countries have registered a decline in child mortality;
  • The business environment in Niger, Rwanda, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo and Kenya have progressed by more than 10 index points.

Read the full report, A Decade of African Governance: 2006-2015

The Biggest Challenge to Africa's Future - Mo Ibrahim

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