LONDON Oct 3 Governance across Africa has
improved very little over the past decade as deteriorating
safety and rule of law have held back progress made in other
areas such as human rights or economic opportunities, a survey
said on Monday.
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) - the most
comprehensive survey of its kind on the continent - rates 54
African nations against criteria such as security, human rights,
economic stability, just laws, free elections, corruption,
infrastructure, poverty, health and education.
Mauritius held onto its top spot, followed by Botswana, Cape
Verde, the Seychelles and Namibia while South Africa - the
continent's most industrialised country - was in sixth place.
While overall the index has improved by just one point over
the 10 year period starting in 2006, three out of the top 10
countries have seen their score fall in this period, and major
economies like South Africa and Ghana registered some of the
largest deteriorations on the continent.
The survey found that almost half of Africa's 54 countries
recorded their worst score in the past three years in the Safety
& Rule of Law category, which measures personal safety, national
security as well as accountability and the judicial system.
"Today, current opinion focuses on the potential aftershock
of deflating commodity prices and third term challengers to
democracy.... What is striking is that these are not the areas
which demand the most attention," Sudanese telecoms businessman
Mo Ibrahim wrote in the annual report which is compiled by his
foundation and aimed at promoting better governance and economic
development in Africa.
"All four components which make up Safety & Rule of Law have
deteriorated.... This is holding back the continent's progress
and remains the biggest challenge to its future."
Among the top 10 overall rated countries, six had
deteriorated over the past decade in that category with South
Africa registering the largest decline in what researchers
called a "concerning negative trend".
South Africa - the continent's most industrialised country -
had been teetering on the edge of recession, suffering from
chronic power shortages and stubbornly high unemployment with
voters increasingly frustrated with the country's economic
management under President Jacob Zuma and his ruling ANC party.
The last spot on the overall index was held by Somalia,
which makes up the bottom five together with South Sudan, Sudan,
the Central African Republic and Libya, which showed some of the
most dramatic falls since descending into anarchy following the
removal of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The category of Sustainable Economic Opportunity - looking
aspects such as public management, business environment and
infrastructure - had shown a slight improvement of 1.8 points.
The rise was driven by a jump in digital and IT
infrastructure, the most improved indicator in the past decade
across the whole index, while roads and transport also improved.
Yet other parts of the infrastructure, such as electricity,
has worsened since 2006, with South Africa showing the largest
drop of all countries, losing more than 30 points.
Chronic power shortages are one of the biggest obstacles to
growth in countries across Africa, with a dearth of electricity
or regular blackouts strangling industries.
"Forty percent of African citizens live in a country which
has seen a deterioration and over half of Africa's economy has
been affected by this issue over the past decade," the report
Looking at trajectories over the past decade, the report
found that 32 countries - home to around half of Africa's
population - had seen their final score in 2015 falling below
previous peak levels.
"There is still a long way to go. We need to be cautious and
watch out for things that need to be addressed in order to make
progress sustainable," said Nathalie Delapalme, executive
director of research and policy at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)