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Without good governance, African countries can fall deeper into poverty and experience setbacks in societal and economic growth. The UN’s Global Goal 1 calls for an end to extreme poverty, and this can only be achieved if African countries progress in good governance by exercising democratic rights and working together with citizens to uplift their nations. Join the movement and take action here

African countries are falling behind on good governance due to inconsistent commitment to democracy and an undermining of civil rights ― this is according to a report released on Monday. 

The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance is a report that’s published every two years and analyses the advancement in administration management of African countries. The report looks at each nation’s anti-corruption measures, protection of civil liberties, and their commitment to caring for the environment to give the country’s government a score that indicates whether they have progressed or not.  

According to the report, progress in good governance across the continent has been slowing down in the last five years, and this year, for the first time in the last 10 years, the report indicated that the combined score for all the countries declined on a year-on-year basis. 

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which focuses on the need for good political leadership and public governance in Africa, attributed the failure in Africa’s governance progression to growing restraints on people's ability to exercise their democratic rights and take part in civil society.

The results from the report use last year’s data and therefore do not include the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However the report notes that "the continent had been going through a deterioration of civil society space, participation, and rights long before COVID-19.”

It also goes on to add that there is "an increasingly precarious environment for human rights and civic participation" as well as a "deteriorating security situation.”

The decline in good governance is apparent in many of Africa’s civil issues that have been in the international spotlight this year. The report refers to several nations that seem to be on a “worrying” decline. 

Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire

Recently the incumbent presidents of Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire succeeded in making constitutional changes that allow them to serve as leaders for a third term. This sparked unrest in their states and added their names to a long list of African leaders who have done the same. Eyewitness News (EWN) reports that civil clashes have caused the deaths of many people in Côte d’Ivoire and at least 21 in Guinea as a result. 


The report also references #EndSARS in Nigeria, which was a peaceful youth-led demonstration against police brutality that turned into alleged government-led violence, arrests, and total civil unrest that shook the world.  


Last week the United Nations called for urgent measures to protect civilians in Mozambique's northeastern Cabo Delgado province, where jihadists are wreaking havoc, calling the violence a “desperate situation”.


Although the report found that Ethiopia has made progress across all areas measured over the last decade, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation is concerned about the continent's second-most populous country currently being tangled in military conflict that has pitted the federal government against the northern region of Tigray.

South Africa

South Africa has steadily declined in good governance over the last decade and is on a "concerning trajectory," the report found. The country's former president, Jacob Zuma, was forced out by the ruling party, African National Congress (ANC), over a slew of corruption scandals. The trials over these scandals have continued on to this year and just last week ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was charged with multiple counts of fraud, corruption, and money laundering allegedly committed under Zuma’s leadership. 


Demand Equity

African Countries Are Failing to Progress in Good Governance: Report

By Khanyi Mlaba