Governance Critical For Improving African Citizen's Quality Of Life
9 May 2016, Johannesburg, South Africa – Data shows that progress on African governance has reached a plateau, although the continent has made significant progress in its improvement of governance issues over the past 15 years.
This was one of the findings highlighted by Dr. Abdoulie Janneh from the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) at the fourth Pan-African Parliament’s second sitting.
The 2015 index assessed country governance within four categories: safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development. It comprised 14 sub-categories, consisting of 93 indicators using data from 33 independent data sources.
The most recent study shows that governance in the fields of law, personal safety and economic opportunity have decreased while participation in human rights and human development has improved.
A positive result, specifically in the context of better living conditions for Africa’s people, is the improvement in welfare, education and health within the overall human development category.
Comparing the data at regional level, four of Africa’s five regions have shown an improvement in governance, with the exception of the Central African region. The overall top five improvers for the 2015 study was Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Kenya and Togo. Unfortunately, 50% of the top ten performing countries have shown concerning governance progress, including Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, Seychelles and Ghana.
South Africa and Namibia, ranked fourth and fifth, respectively has improved its governance performance, similar to Tunisia, Senegal and Lesotho (ranked eighth, ninth and tenth) on the index.
The custodian of the IIAG, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, asserts that governance and leadership lie at the heart of improvement in the quality of life of Africans. The index therefore places governance at the centre of development conversations.
Still on the theme of governance, Ms Osai Ojigho, Coordinator of the State of the Union Coalition (SOTU) within the African Union (AU), lamented the slow progress of ratification of charters, conventions and protocols within the AU’s member states.
To date the continent has adopted 59 treaties that could improve the lives of African citizens. The only instrument that has been ratified by all 54 AU member states is that of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, in 2000. The second highest ratified instrument is the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights of 1981, and the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community of 1991.
Low ratification remains a challenge, especially in countries like South Sudan, Sao Tome & Principle, Somalia and Eritrea.
Unratified instruments have implications for the AU as it keeps standards inconsistent across the continent and hamper implementation of the AU Agenda 2063 and the integration of regions.
Ms Ojigho said at the current rate of ratification it will take 45 years for all 54 countries to ratify the 49 AU instruments.
While ratification is important, Ms Ojigho emphasised that it is not the ultimate driver of change at the national level. “Implementation and domestication is the core of translating instruments into tangible results,” she said.
SOTU is a coalition of civil society organizations working together to hold African Governments accountable for the ratification and implementation of African Union decisions.