World

Africa governance gains hampered by fears over security and jobs: study

AFP-JIJI

Security fears and a lack of jobs in African nations have hampered gains in governance across the diverse continent over the last decade, a study said Monday, warning that some promising nations had “lost momentum.”

The annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which is watched closely by the continent’s governments, also pointed to a deteriorating business climate and poor job creation.

The report is issued by a London foundation established by Mo Ibrahim, a businessman from Sudan, in 2006 — the same year he sold mobile phone company Celtel, which he’d founded in 1998. It ranks countries according to their development in an array of categories between 2008 and 2017.

With a mission to promote good governance in Africa, the foundation also periodically awards a $5 million (4.4 million euro) prize to an African head of state who has left office and demonstrated good governance.

As a whole, this year’s report showed Africa’s progress being led by a handful of nations that pulled up the average, “while in many others momentum continues to falter.”

The progress was reported as best where there has been peace, government transparency and respect for the rule of law.

It showed the biggest strides being made in Kenya, which moved up eight spots from 19th to 11th place; Morocco, from 25th to 15th; and especially Cote d’Ivoire, which jumped from 41st to 22nd among 54 ranked countries.

The world’s largest cocoa producer, Cote d’Ivoire has emerged from a period of civil and political unrest in 2010-11 — in which 3,000 people died — to recorded annual economic growth rates of nearly 10 percent.

Morocco has been recognized as north Africa’s most competitive economy by the World Economic Forum, while Kenya is continuing to recover from the chaos that followed a disputed 2007 presidential poll.

The top-five countries, ranked by their cumulative points across all indexes, were Mauritius (79.5 points), Seychelles (73.2), Cote d’Ivoire (71.1), Namibia (68.6) and Botswana (68.5).

Somalia (13.6), which has been wracked by clan warfare for most of the past 30 years, ranked last.

It was followed by strife-torn South Sudan (19.3) and Libya (28.3), which with the 2011 fall of the monolithic regime of Moamer Kadhafi experienced the biggest decline (-15.6).

“A majority of the improved countries over the decade have lost momentum,” the report said.

The actual governance score for the continent only went up from 48.9 points on a 100 point scale in 2008 to 49.9 points last year.

Among all nations, the biggest decline came in personal safety (-6.1). National security, a separate category, lost 4.4 points.

Health levels rose by 7.6 points but education lost ground since 2012 after initial improvements.

This was especially concerning, said the report, because Africa’s population was expected to rise by 27.9 percent over the next decade.

The business environment as a whole deteriorated in the past decade, losing 4.9 points. Satisfaction with governments’ ability to create jobs fell by 3.1 points.

“Many African citizens are unhappy with the job creation performance of African governments,” it said.

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