Governance progress slowed across Africa for the first time in a decade, even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, with commitment to democracy and civil rights faltering, a major report said.
The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance, published every two years, gives each country’s government a score according to criteria including anti-corruption measures, protection of civil liberties and caring for the environment.
Reports have it that more than 60 percent of Africans live in countries that made progress in good governance over the period 2010 to 2019.
But progress has slowed in the last five years and this year, for the first time in the last 10 years, the combined score for all the countries fell year-on-year, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation added.
The foundation, set up in 2006 to focus on the need for good political leadership and public governance in Africa, cited growing curbs on people’s ability to exercise their democratic rights and take part in civil society.
Also this year, the incumbent presidents of Guinea and Ivory Coast succeeded in pushing through constitutional changes allowing them to stand for a third term, sparking deadly unrest while adding their names to a long list of leaders with similar playbooks.
Post-election clashes have claimed scores of lives in Ivory Coast and at least 21 in Guinea, where several opposition figures are in police custody over the violence.
Since 2015, countries’ scores for security and rule of law and participation have slowly worsened while scores for rights and inclusion have fallen more sharply, the report said.
Only one country, Ethiopia, has made progress across all areas measured over a decade, the report said — but the continent’s second most populous country is now embroiled in a military conflict pitting the federal government against the dissident northern region of Tigray.
Across Africa, progress in some areas such as economic opportunity has come alongside “worrying declines in participation, rights, inclusion, rule of law and security,” the report said.