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World News

African governance worsens for first time in a decade: survey

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON (Reuters) - Africa’s governance performance worsened in 2019 for the first time in nearly a decade due to a broad deterioration in the areas of human rights, security and rule of law, according to a survey published on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Sudanese-born telecommunications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim listens during a conference promoting good governance in Africa, in Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam November 15, 2009. African states must integrate immediately or some will not survive, Ibrahim, who funds the world's biggest prize in support of leadership on the continent said. REUTERS/Katrina Manson/File Photo

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) - the most comprehensive survey of its kind on the continent - rates 54 African nations against criteria including security, human rights, economic stability, just laws, free elections, corruption, infrastructure, poverty, health and education.

The 2019 African average score for overall governance declined by -0.2 points from 2018, registering the first year-on-year score deterioration since 2010, the report published by the foundation of Sudanese telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim said.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation compiles the data in the aim of promoting better governance and economic development in Africa.

The report said that progress achieved over the past decade was mainly driven by improvements in economic opportunities and human development.

“This is threatened, however, by an increasingly precarious security situation and concerning erosion in rights as well as civic and democratic space,” it said.

The survey registered what it considered worrying declines in the areas of participation, rights and inclusion, and security and rule of law.

Top performers according to country rankings included Mauritius, Cape Verde and Seychelles, with South Sudan, Eritrea and finally Equatorial Guinea rounding out the bottom of the classification.

Though the report provides a comprehensive picture of the period up to just before Africa was hit by COVID-19, its authors said it can also help analyse which pre-existing weaknesses may have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

While Africa has been spared infections on a scale seen in many other regions, the virus has nonetheless highlighted gaps in African healthcare systems, it said, as well as triggering a major economic crisis.

“Furthermore, it has contributed to a declining democratic environment, increasing food insecurity, as well as instability and violence, including gender-based,” it said.

Reporting by Joe Bavier in Johannesburg and Karin Strohecker in London, Editing by William Maclean

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