2010 Ibrahim Index of African Governance

African Governance Intsitute The 2010 Ibrahim Index, released yesterday, shows recent gains in many countries in human and economic development but declines in political rights, personal safety and the rule of law.

The Ibrahim Index, launched in four cities across the continent, is published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, an organisation committed to supporting good governance and great leadership in Africa. The Index assesses the delivery of public goods and services to citizens by governments and non-state actors across 88 indicators.

Upon issuing this year’s Index Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Foundation, said:

‘The 2010 Ibrahim Index gives us a mixed picture about recent progress on governance across the continent. While many African citizens are becoming healthier and have greater access to economic opportunities than five years ago, many of them are less physically secure and less politically enfranchised.’

The Ibrahim Index is Africa’s leading assessment of governance, established to inform and empower the continent’s citizens and to support governments, parliaments and civil society to assess progress.

The 2010 Ibrahim Index shows both areas of progress and setbacks in governance between 2004/05 and 2008/09 (the most recent period assessed):

  • Overall governance quality remains largely unchanged from previous years, with a continental average score of 49.
  • However, this average masks large variation in performance across countries. Angola, Liberia, and Togo have all seen significant improvements in governance performance scores.
  • Furthermore, there are large differences in trends across the various categories of the Index.
  • In both Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development there have been improvements in many African countries. Importantly, no country has declined significantly in these categories.
  • In Sustainable Economic Opportunity, 41 African states improved; ten of these were significant.
  • In Human Development, 44 of Africa’s 53 countries progressed driven by improvements in most countries in the Health and Welfare sub-category. Two of the improvements in Human Development were significant.
  • This progress is not mirrored in Safety and Rule of Law and Participation and Human Rights.
  • In Safety and Rule of Law, 35 African states have declined; five of these were significant declines.
  • In Participation and Human Rights, although the results were more mixed, almost two-thirds of African countries declined in the Participation and Rights sub-categories.
  • Analysis of the performance of countries in the Gender sub-category shows some progress.

Considering these results, Salim Ahmed Salim, Board Member of the Foundation and former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity, said:

‘We must ensure that the political side of governance in Africa is not neglected. We have seen from evidence and experience across the world that discrepancies between political governance and economic management are unsustainable in the long term. If Africa is going to continue to make progress we need to pay attention to the rights and safety of citizens.’

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance was created in recognition of the need for a robust, comprehensive and quantifiable tool for citizens and governments to track governance performance in Africa. The Ibrahim Index continues to be improved each year as part of the Foundation’s commitment to ensure it is a living and progressive tool.

The 2010 version includes an additional indicator assessing governments’ statistical capacity, providing insight into governments’ commitment to outcomes-driven policy-making and evaluation. New indicators have also been included to assess gender issues, provision of antiretroviral treatment and access to water and sanitation. However the paucity of data about Africa continues to be a challenge for the Foundation in the compilation of the Index. Official data for many key indicators of governance, for example, income poverty, maternal mortality, and physical infrastructure are patchy or out-of-date. Commissioning and finding indicators that allow these key areas, among others, to be included in the Index as well as strengthening the assessment of issues currently covered by the Index remain a core priority for the Foundation.

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