Article written

  • on 30.09.2014
  • at 11:00 AM
  • by Kevin Hind

Cause for concern as Africa’s governance role models slip up 0

Another year, another Ibrahim Index of African Governance. The continent’s governance barometer was released on Monday, and its results make for some disturbing reading. If Africa Rising is your thing, look away now.

There was an unusually concerned tone emanating from the headquarters of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in London on Monday, as it released the latest iteration of its flagship Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Yes, the foundation said, governance is improving – but not by much, and not consistently.

The Ibrahim Index is a mammoth statistical undertaking that collects tens of thousands of data points from 52 different African countries (excluding only Sudan and South Sudan, as their recent split means there is no available data). The researchers at the Foundation plug these numbers into their spreadsheets and algorithms to produce handy rankings that show which African countries fare best and worst in various categories, and which countries are the overall best- and worst-governed on the continent.

For Afro-optimists, the results make for dispiriting reading.

Overall, governance in Africa has improved marginally over the last decade. So marginally, in fact, that while the trend might look good on press releases it is statistically meaningless, as Mo Ibrahim himself well knows. “Africa is progressing but the story is complex and doesn’t fit the stereotypes. Even if the overall picture looks good, we must all remain vigilant and not get complacent,” he said, hedging his bets.

This is not altogether unexpected. Indices such as these must reflect positive and negative developments equally, and there have been plenty of both in Africa over the last ten years. Despite the popularity and undoubted appeal of the Africa Rising narrative, it seems that the good news is yet to outweigh the bad.

continue reading on Daily Maverick

By Simon Allison Daily Maverick

Photo credit: Picture Alliance

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