The quality of governance in Cote d’ Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and Senegal improved remarkably in the last four years

“Governance is everything. Without governance we have nothing.” – Mo Ibrahim

Yesterday, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation launched The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), an annual assessment of the state of governance in African countries, this year – all 54 countries on the continent were assessed for the first time. Countries are assessed within four distinct categories – Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. They are scored on a scale of 0 to 100 – with the highest score showing the best performance – and ranked from 1 to 54.

The recent index that was gathered over the last four years shows a recorded weakening performance in 21 countries, indicating a stall in the progress of governance in Africa and a shifting landscape.  In the last four years, 2011 to 2015, the average overall governance score in the IIAG increased only by an addition of 0.2 points to 50.1. Of the four assessment categories, only Human Development (+1.2) and Participation & Human Rights (+0.7) had an improvement. Sustainable Economic Opportunity (-0.7) and Safety & Rule of Law (-0.3) deteriorated.

Zimbabwe, Cote d’ Ivoire, Togo, Kenya, and Senegal recorded remarkable improvement in the last four years. The most impressive improvement is Cote d’ Ivoire, the Francophone country recorded an 8.3 increase, though it’s in the 35th position. Somalia recorded a disappointing 8.5 out of 100, placing it at the bottom of the list, even with a 1.2 improvement, and Mauritius is atop the index scoring 79.9/100, though it recorded a regression (-0.7).

More war torn countries occupy the bottom of the index. With scores of 19.9 and 24.9 out of 100, South Sudan and Central Africa Republic (CAR) also have an overall record of poor governance, coming just before Somalia at the bottom of the list. This makes the newcomer (South Sudan) the second worst governed country in Africa, with very low scores in all categories of performance. This could be attributed to the crisis that has plagued the country since its independence in 2011. The CAR is no better in terms of war and crisis, given the history of military coups and violence.

While the index’s identification of trends enables broad generalizations to be drawn, it shows varying performances and a widening range between the five regions in Africa, with more than a 70 point gap between Mauritius, and Somalia. Southern Africa remains the best performing region, with an average score of 58.9, Western and Northern Africa follows with 52.4 and 51.2 respectively. Then East and Central Africa ranks lowest with a score of 44.3 and 40.9 respectively.

According Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, though African societies are healthier and more democratic than they were 15 years ago, “the 2015 IIAG shows that recent progress in other key areas on the continent has either stalled or reversed, and that some key countries seem to be faltering. This is a warning sign for all of us. Only shared and sustained improvements across all areas of governance will deliver the future that Africans deserve and demand.”

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