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African governance is in decline and Covid-19 is likely to make it worse, according to The Mo Ibrahim Foundation's 2020 Index of African Governance published on 17 November.* The 'score' for overall governance in 2019, calculated by combining separate indices of human and economic development, declined by -0.2 points from 2018, the first year-on-year fall the Foundation has recorded in a decade (AC Vol 51 No 20, Buy now, vote later).
Only eight countries manage to improve in the index's four categories, covering Human Development, Foundations for Economic Opportunity, Security and Rule of Law, and Participation, Rights and Inclusion over the decade: Angola, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Seychelles, Sudan and Togo.
Progress achieved over the past decade is threatened by the impact of Covid-19 on economies, the report says. It also warned of the risks from 'an increasingly precarious security situation and concerning erosion in rights as well as civic and democratic space.' The pre-Covid data covers 2019 and so could not take into account the postponement of elections in Ethiopia, the outbreak of severe conflict there, the widely discredited elections in Tanzania and the much-criticised 'third term' presidential elections in Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea.
'The pandemic is just worsening an already alarming situation,' the report states. In more than half the countries surveyed, citizens are less satisfied with their country's governance performance than 10 years ago. The virus has highlighted gaps in African healthcare systems, the report stated, while noting that governments had 'limited capacity' to mitigate its economic effects.
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