The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (2007-2016) released on Monday, has shown significant drops of 2.6 and 4.1 score points in the categories of Rule of Law and Human Rights respectively over the last 10 years. The Freedom of Expression Index has also dropped 1.6 score points. Despite major decline in some categories Botswana continues to rate well, thanks to the incredible performance in Health ticking 16 score points upward. However, such a remarkable increase did not set off the overall drop over the last 10 years, in particular an overall drop of 0.5 score point for 2015. Safety & Rule of Law is the only category of the Index to register a negative trend over the decade, falling by -2.8 score points in the past ten years. In 2015 almost two-thirds of African citizens lived in a country where Safety & Rule of Law has deteriorated over the last ten years. Two-thirds of the countries on the continent, representing 67% of the African population, have shown deterioration in Freedom of Expression over the past ten years. Accountability is the lowest scoring (35.1) of the 14 sub-categories in 2015. The continental average score for the Corruption & Bureaucracy indicator has declined by -8.7 points over the last decade, with 33 countries registering deterioration, 24 of them falling to their worst ever score in 2015.
Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF), observes in the foreword of the report that; "the Index clearly reveals that deteriorating trends in Safety & Rule of Law have held back the continent’s progress in Overall Governance over the last decade. Whilst a majority of Africa’s citizens live in countries which have seen improvements in Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity or Human Development, all four components which make up Safety & Rule of Law have deteriorated. Almost half of Africa’s 54 countries have recorded their worst score in this category in the last three years. This is holding back the continent’s progress and remains the biggest challenge to its future". A large majority (78%) of African citizens live in a country that has improved in Participation & Human Rights over the past decade. Progress over the decade in Participation and Human Rights (+2.4 points) has been driven by Gender (+4.3) and Participation (+3.0), while Rights (-0.2) registered a slight decline. Six of the ten highest scoring countries in Rights have registered deterioration in the past ten years.
At the Overall Governance level, the three highest scoring countries in 2015 are Mauritius, Botswana and Cabo Verde, and the three most improved over the decade are Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Zimbabwe. Over the past decade, the continental average score in Overall Governance has improved by one point. Since 2006, 37 countries, hosting 70% of African citizens, have improved in Overall Governance. The greatest improver at the Overall Governance level over the decade is Côte d’Ivoire (+13.1), followed by Togo (+9.7), Zimbabwe (+9.7), Liberia (+8.7) and Rwanda (+8.4). Even if Ghana and South Africa feature in the top ten performing countries in Overall Governance in 2015, they are also the eighth and tenth most deteriorated over the decade. Published since 2007, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) was created to provide a quantifiable tool to measure and monitor governance performance in African countries, to assess its progress over time and to support the development of effective and responsive policy solutions. These aims remain the same and the IIAG now represents the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance. In order to provide a broad, documented and impartial picture of governance performance in every African country, the IIAG compiles a large amount of data issued by diverse sources.
The entire Index time series is updated on an annual basis to ensure that each new IIAG provides the most accurate data available. This process ensures that the Index is the most robust and up-to-date dashboard of the state of governance in every African country. As assessed by the IIAG, governance is defined as the provision of the political, social and economic public goods and services that every citizen has the right to expect from their state, and that a state has the responsibility to deliver to its citizens. The IIAG focuses on measuring outputs and outcomes of policy, rather than declarations of intent, de jure statutes and levels of expenditure. This is reflected in the IIAG tree diagram below, which outlines the structure and issues covered by the Index.
A Decade of African Governance: Overall Governance
Over the past decade, a very slight improvement in Overall Governance performance has been registered at the continental level. The African average score of 50.0 in 2015, up one point from the score registered a decade earlier, reflects the trend of improvement seen across the majority of countries over the past ten years. In total, 37 countries out of 54 have shown improvement in Overall Governance since 2006, representing 70% of African citizens. Of the 37 countries to have registered improvement in Overall Governance since 2006, nine have progressed by more than +5.0 points: Côte d’Ivoire (+13.1), Togo (+9.7), Zimbabwe (+9.7), Liberia (+8.7), Rwanda (+8.4), Ethiopia (+7.0), Niger (+5.9), Morocco (+5.7) and Kenya (+5.1). Of these nine, five already feature in the top half of the Overall Governance rankings in 2015. Of them, Rwanda is the only country to feature both among the ten highest scoring and the ten most improved countries over the past ten years. Few countries however (13 out of the 37 improvers) have registered progress in each of the four dimensions of governance – Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. Among those 13, seven also feature among the ten most improved countries over the decade, which underlines the value of balanced progress across all dimensions of governance. Togo is the only country to improve across all underlying 14 sub-categories.
Meanwhile, 16 countries register a negative trend in Overall Governance since 2006, with three falling by more than -5.0 points: Libya (-18.0), Madagascar (-7.6) and Eritrea (-5.6). All of them have declined in Safety & Rule of Law in the past ten years, and more than half show decline in either Participation & Human Rights or Sustainable Economic Opportunity. These diverging trends over the decade have led to changes within the top ten and bottom ten groups between 2006 and 2015. In the top ranking group, Lesotho (15th) and São Tomé & Príncipe (11th) have fallen out of the top ten, to be replaced by Rwanda (9th) and Senegal (10th). Mauritius remains the highest scoring country on the continent in 2015 at the Overall Governance level, and has consistently been the top ranked country over the past ten years. However, some concerning trends appear within that group that point to the potential fragility of these high ranking positions. Indeed, over the last decade, Ghana (with -2.1 score points) and South Africa (with -1.9 score points) have registered the eighth and tenth largest deteriorations on the continent. Botswana has also shown a marginal deterioration of -0.5 points. Of the top ten performing countries, only three countries – Namibia, Rwanda and Senegal – manage to improve across all categories of the IIAG. The seven other countries have deteriorated in at least one of the four categories, with all of them showing decline in Safety & Rule of Law.
At the other end of the rankings, the composition of the ten lowest scoring countries in Overall Governance has also changed over the decade. Deterioration in Libya since 2006 has seen it fall from the middle of the rankings at 29th to 51st in 2015. Diverging trends are also seen in this group, with five demonstrating improved performance and four registering deterioration. Particularly worrying trends are seen in Central African Republic, Eritrea and Libya, which all feature in the ten most deteriorated countries on the continent at the Overall Governance level in the past ten years, with Central African Republic and Eritrea declining across all four categories. In 2015, only four countries feature in the highest band in Overall Governance, representing the best performance on the continent, with a score equal to or above 71.0 points: Botswana, Cabo Verde, Mauritius and Seychelles. This represents only 0.4% of the African population. Somalia and South Sudan are the two countries classified in the lowest band at the Overall Governance level (scoring below 23.0 points), covering 2% of the continent’s population. In 2015, the vast majority of African citizens (83%) live in countries that are categorised as having “Medium” or “Medium-High” performance in Overall Governance (from 41.0 to 70.9 points).
Over the past ten years, almost one third (16) of countries have shifted bands, most of them upwards (see opposite). Only ten countries out of 54 have moved up a band, indicating progress in Overall Governance; five from “Medium-Low” in 2006 to “Medium” in 2015 (Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Togo and Zimbabwe); four from “Medium” to “Medium-High” (Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda and Uganda); and one –Seychelles – from “Medium-High” to “High”. These countries cover 15% of Africa’s population and 18% of Africa’s GDP. Six countries have shown deterioration in Overall Governance that has led to a downward movement in band: Algeria, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and South Africa. Of these, South Africa has fallen from the “High” into the “Medium-High” band of countries; Algeria, Mali, Madagascar and Mozambique from “Medium-High” to “Medium”; and Libya from “Medium” into the “Medium-Low” band. These countries cover 14% of Africa’s population and 15% of Africa’s GDP.
A Decade of African Governance: Safety & Rule of Law
Out of the four main categories of the IIAG, Safety & Rule of Law is the only one to demonstrate a negative trend over the past decade, with the continental average score showing a deterioration of -2.8 points since 2006. Even if it remains the second highest scoring category in the IIAG (with a score of 52.1), the decline seen in the majority of African countries in this governance dimension is concerning. The deteriorating continental performance in Safety & Rule of Law could be holding back governance progress in general; without exception, all countries that have deteriorated in Overall Governance have also deteriorated in this category. This decline over the past ten years has been driven by falling results across all four constituent sub-categories of Safety & Rule of Law, the only category to show this trend. Personal Safety and National Security are the first and second most deteriorated sub-categories of the whole IIAG (out of 14), registering a fall of -5.7 and -4.1 score points respectively. Meanwhile, Accountability (-1.0) is the lowest scoring sub-category of the whole IIAG and Rule of Law has also registered deterioration (-0.3), albeit to a lesser degree. Six of the ten indicators that have shown the largest deteriorations over the past decade out of the whole Index sit in this category: Government Involvement in Armed Conflict (-18.2), Safety of the Person (-15.9), Violence by Non-state Actors (-12.6), Human Trafficking (-10.6), Corruption & Bureaucracy (-8.7) and Social Unrest (-7.3).
In 2015 a majority of African citizens (64%) live in countries where Safety & Rule of Law has deteriorated in the last ten years. Thirty-three countries have shown a decline in this category, while only 19 have registered improvement. Fifteen countries have deteriorated by more than -5.0 points, six by more than -10.0 points: Libya (-34.1), Central African Republic (-16.2), Burundi (-13.6), Gambia (-12.0), Mozambique (-11.2) and Somalia (-10.4). In ten countries, deterioration over the decade has occurred across all four sub-categories: Burundi, Central African Republic, Gambia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Somalia and Tanzania. The three most deteriorated countries in Safety & Rule of Law – Libya, Central African Republic and Burundi – are also ranked in the bottom ten scoring countries on the continent in this category. Concerning negative trends also appear in high scoring countries.
Of the top ten scoring countries in Safety & Rule of Law in 2015, (Botswana, Mauritius, Cabo Verde, Namibia, Seychelles, Ghana, Lesotho, South Africa, Zambia and Senegal), over half (six) show deterioration since 2006. South Africa registers the largest decline (-5.9), followed by Ghana (-2.6), Cabo Verde (-2.3), Botswana (-1.1), Seychelles (-0.4) and Mauritius (-0.3). Of the 19 countries to have shown improvement in Safety & Rule of Law over the past decade, seven – Côte d’Ivoire (+17.3), Liberia (+14.8), Sierra Leone (+9.6), Ethiopia (+8.5), Togo (+7.3), Zimbabwe (+6.2) and Comoros (+5.4) – have moved by more than +5.0 points, with all of them, bar Zimbabwe, managing to reach a score higher than 55.0 points in 2015. Côte d’Ivoire (+17.3) is the most improved country; its positive performance in this category has seen it climb out of the bottom ten scoring countries in 2006 to rank 21st (out of 54) on the continent in 2015. The country’s improvement at category level has been driven by improvement across all four constituent sub-categories of Safety & Rule of Law; only four other countries – Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo – show this trend.
At the opening of the Botswana Legal Year on February 2, 2016, the chairman of the Law Society of Botswana Lawrence Lecha decried government’s continual disregard of the Rule of Law. “We note with some measure of dismay that the Government last year deported two former Ugandan Refugees to some unknown destination, most likely back to Uganda. What concerns the Society is that there seems to have been a deliberate attempt to deny the former refugees access to legal representation and therefore ultimately the courts. Even more distressing is that even when an Order of the High Court was granted, the State frustrated the legal practitioner’s attempts to access his clients and indeed ultimately deported them in violation of an express order of Court. What is intriguing, to say the least, is that the Government of Botswana issued a strong statement condemning the Government or officials of the Government of South Africa when President Al Bashir of Sudan was allowed to leave South Africa in contravention of a High Court Order.
“Yet again on the question of asylum the Government made some alarmist remarks about some ten Eritrean asylum seekers. This was done publicly in various media when in fact the same Government was in law expected to carry out a process to ensure that the requests for asylum were impartially considered. Legal Practitioners have not been spared. In the matter of the Eritreans, Government took to the media and other covert operations to disparage one of our finest legal minds and respected protectors of the Constitution and Human Rights. His Professional Assistant, who has lived in Botswana for more than sixteen years, was suddenly a “security threat” and denied renewal of his work and residence permits. Whilst our members may admittedly be afraid, they will not be deterred. The Law Society of Botswana believes that whilst Botswana enjoys repeated commendations on its Rule of Law credentials, we should not be complacent. Botswana and indeed Batswana should in fact introspect to determine if indeed we are what they say we are,” Lecha said.