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African governance: an alarming democratic setback

Mo Ibrahim, an Anglo-Sudanese billionaire who made his fortune in telecommunications, does not mince his words: African governance has stagnated since 2019, the coups d’etat are back and the decline of democracy is spreading. »

Created in 2006, its foundation has set itself the task of promoting good governance on the African continent: the 54 countries are thus classified according to their ability to provide all the public, political, social and economic goods and services that every citizen has the right to expect from his government.

A classification based on extensive data

Through a series of four categories of criteria, human development, economy, security, human and social rights, the Ibrahim Index on African Governance (IIAG) establishes, every two years, a ranking of the good and bad students. In 2021, as in 2019, the first in the ranking are Mauritius, the Seychelles, Tunisia, Cape Verde and Botswana.

From health services to employment, through the level of violence against civilians or freedom of expression, the mapping is precise and the methodology is always the same: whatever the country, it takes into account many sources. such as those of UN agencies, the African Development Bank, Reporters Without Borders or Afrobarometer opinion polls.

Security and the rule of law: stalled progress

What should be remembered is overall governance at a standstill (+ 0.1 point between 2019 and 2021) while the index showed significant improvements over the decade 2009-2019 (+ 1 point). The slippage is particularly strong with regard to security and the rule of law: 90% of the continent’s population has experienced a democratic decline over the past ten years. Coups d’état, armed conflicts, authoritarian regimes, with at the back of the barometer: South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea and the Central African Republic.

These worrying trends are not recent, but they have been weakened by the Covid-19 pandemic. Another aggravating factor is climate change: among the 10 countries most exposed to climatic disasters in recent years, we find a majority of African countries, Somalia, Niger, Kenya, Djibouti, Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe. .

The war between Russia and Ukraine has also shaken the continent: some countries, such as Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia or the Democratic Republic of Congo, dependent on imported crops, have suffered the shock of rising prices and major disruptions in their supply chain.

Encouraging developments in economic and human development

43 countries have seen their economic situation improve between 2012 and 2021, the strongest progressions concern Ghana, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Angola.

Employment remains an important issue: twenty African countries maintain an unemployment rate above 10%. At the bottom of the scale, South Africa with one in three unemployed workers. Another challenge is that of access to energy: 600 million people, or 43% of the African population, still do not have access to electricity.

However, some trends bring hope. Almost all countries have made progress in terms of maternal and child health, in the control of sexually transmitted diseases or in access to water and sanitation, essential to hope for the eradication of epidemics such as cholera. . Significant progress has also been made in terms of gender equality and then, among the three strongest progress indicators over the decade, the rights acquired in the fight against violence against women.


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