Fifth Annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance Shows That Balance, Equity and Inclusiveness are Key to Governance Quality

Mo Ibrahim Foundation The 2011 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, released on the fifth anniversary of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, illustrates that countries that pursue a balanced approach to all dimensions of governance achieve the most success.

Over the last five years, the most striking improvements have been achieved by Liberia and Sierra Leone, two countries emerging from lengthy civil wars. Both have improved evenly across the four governance categories of the Index: Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

During the same period, the countries that have consistently ranked in the top five for overall governance performance (Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, Seychelles and South Africa) have, up to now, also performed highly in all four categories.

But the general trend in Africa is one of imbalance. Many countries have improved in both Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development, but this progress has not been mirrored in Safety & Rule of Law and Participation & Human Rights.

Madagascar, which has recently experienced civil unrest, has shown the most striking decline. This has largely been driven by deteriorations in Safety & Rule of Law and Participation & Human Rights.

Commenting on these results, Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Foundation, said:

“We have seen this year that Africa’s young majority are no longer willing to stand for the selective approach to governance adopted by many of our continent’s governments. Our young people are demanding a holistic, equitable and inclusive approach to the management of their countries. The Index findings echo these demands – achievements in economic management and human development, however striking, will not be realised if a democratic deficit persists. Africa’s success stories are delivering the whole range of the public goods and services that citizens have a right to expect and are forging a path that we hope more will follow.”

Key Index findings across the past five years (2006 to 2010) show that:

Large differences in performances between countries and across categories are masked by the unchanged continental average of 50 for overall governance quality. Liberia improved across all four categories and 13 out of 14 sub-categories. Togo and Angola have also seen meaningful improvements.

  • Togo’s score has increased in all four categories, in particular Participation & Human Rights, which was Togo’s weakest score in 2006.
  • Angola has improved in three categories, in particular Participation & Human Rights and Human Development, which were Angola’s weakest scores in 2006.

Egypt, Libya and Tunisia demonstrate starkly the imbalance between weak performance in Safety & Rule of Law and Participation & Human Rights and strong performance in Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. This imbalance between the countries’ performance in Human Development and Participation and Human Rights might well have been a trigger for instability.

  • While all three countries are ranked in the top ten in Human Development, with Egypt and Tunisia also ranked in the top ten for Sustainable Economic Opportunity, all three countries are ranked in the bottom half of the Index for Participation & Human Rights, with scores that are below the continental average.

Category trends:

  • Sustainable Economic Opportunity: 38 countries improved, three significantly. No country has declined significantly.
  • Human Development: 48 countries improved.
  • In the Health sub-category in particular all but two countries improved and neither of the two declines is significant.
  • Safety & Rule of Law: 36 countries declined, one significantly.
  • Participation & Human Rights: 39 countries declined, one significantly.
  • The greatest declines in Safety & Rule of Law and Participation & Human Rights are substantially larger than the concurrent improvements in Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

Top five in the 2011 Ibrahim Index (score):  1st Mauritius (82), 2nd Cape Verde (79), 3rd Botswana (76), 4th Seychelles (73), 5th South Africa (71).

Bottom five in the 2011 Ibrahim Index (score): 49th Central African Republic (33), 50th Congo Democratic Rep. (32), 51st Zimbabwe (31), 52nd Chad (31), 53rd Somalia (8).

About the 2011 Ibrahim Index

Established in 2007, the Ibrahim Index is the most comprehensive collection of quantitative data that provides an annual assessment of governance performance in every African country. It measures the delivery of public goods and services across 86 indicators.

The lack of comprehensive and robust data on Africa means that assessment of key areas of governance, particularly income poverty, continue to be excluded from the Ibrahim Index. The Foundation is strongly committed to the issue of strengthening African statistical capacity.

The Ibrahim Index is published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, an organisation that supports good governance and great leadership in Africa. The Index is meant to inform and empower governments, parliaments, civil society and citizens to assess governance.

The governance indicators measured by the Index are grouped into four overall categories (made up of constituent sub-categories):

Safety & Rule of Law (Rule of Law, Accountability, Personal Safety, National Security) Participation & Human Rights (Participation, Rights, Gender) Sustainable Economic Opportunity (Public Management, Business Environment, Infrastructure, Rural Sector) Human Development (Welfare, Education, Health)

The 2011 Ibrahim Index includes new indicators assessing physical and telecommunications infrastructure; gender; health; welfare service provision; and economic management.

The Ibrahim Index is improved each year to ensure it is a living tool. Previous years’ data are recalculated in line with improvements made to the Index’s structure and to reflect newly available data.

The data set used to calculate the 2011 Ibrahim Index contains data from 2000 to 2010.

As with any governance index, margins of error exist in the Ibrahim Index. The Foundation is transparent in publishing standard errors and confidence intervals for every country alongside the overall and category scores to reflect uncertainty, the main sources of which are missing data and measurement errors. Margins of error are available on the Foundation’s website.

A decline or improvement is described as “significant “through the use of standard statistical methodology at a 90% confidence level and as “meaningful” at a 75% confidence level. However, some analysts may find it instructive to examine movements below this threshold.

The countries described as showing significant score increases or declines are:

Improvements in overall governance quality: Liberia, Sierra Leone Declines in overall governance quality: Madagascar Improvements in Sustainable Economic Opportunity: Central African Republic, Egypt, Sierra Leone Declines in Safety & Rule of Law: Madagascar Declines in Participation & Human Rights: Madagascar

Comparisons between sub-categories should only be made on the basis of rank. These comparisons are relative (not absolute) for each country.

Data used in the 2011 Ibrahim Index are from 2000 to 2010, prior to South Sudan’s secession from Sudan.

Further information

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