The Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF) is an African foundation, established in 2006 with one focus: the critical importance of governance and leadership in Africa. It was founded by Sudanese billionaire businessman and philanthropist Mo Ibrahim
The Foundation is a non-grant making and non-fundraising organization. It focuses on defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa through four main initiatives:
Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG)
Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
Ibrahim Governance Weekend
Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships.
Date of publication/Date de publication: January 2023
Site of publication/ Site de publication: Mo Ibrahim Foundation
Extracts from pages/ Les extraits proviennent des pages : 14-16, 32-34, 48-49, 62-65, 78-81, 97, 98
More than half of Africa’s population lives in a country where Overall Governance has improved between 2012 and 2021. However, governance progress over the decade is still hindered by diverging trajectories – while more than 40 countries have made progress in the IIAG categories Foundations for Economic Opportunity and Human Development, more than 30 countries have deteriorated in the categories Security & Rule of Law and Participation, Rights & Inclusion. Concerningly, governance progress on the continent is held back the most by worsening security and democratic participation environments – the two most declined IIAG sub-categories. In addition to this, the Overall Governance score has even stalled between 2019 and 2021, coinciding with the COVID-19 crisis on the continent.
A decade of governance progress threatened by worsening security, democratic backsliding, and COVID-19
Despite showing improvement over the decade, the Overall Governance score has stalled since 2019
The 2021 African average score for Overall Governance amounts to 48.9 (out of 100.0). Overall Governance has improved both over the decade (2012-2021) and in the latest five years (2017-2021). However, it has done so at a slower pace in the latter period. There has been no progress in the Overall Governance score since 2019, coinciding with the COVID-19 crisis on the continent. Nearly two-thirds (35) of African countries – hosting 53.3% of the continent’s population – have improved in Overall Governance over the decade. However, less than half (15) of those – hosting 29.7% of the continent’s population – have been able to progress in the latest five years at a faster pace. Worryingly, eight countries – Burkina Faso, Eswatini, Guinea, Guinea- Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Namibia and Rwanda – have reverted to a negative trajectory or halted progress completely, registering warning signs. Among them is one country featuring in the top ten: Namibia.
Only improvement in human development and stronger economic foundations drive progress
Improvement in Overall Governance over the decade has been driven
by Human Development (+3.5), the most improved of the four IIAG categories, and Foundations for Economic Opportunity (+3.0). While Human Development has followed a trajectory of increasing improvement since 2017, progress in Foundations for Economic Opportunity has taken place at a slower pace. For both categories, all four underlying sub-categories have improved both over the last ten and five years. For Human Development, the main drivers of progress over the decade have been the sub-categories Health (+4.7) and Sustainable Environment (+3.5). The improved performance for Foundations for Economic Opportunity since 2012 has been driven most notably by the Infrastructure (+8.1) sub-category. Infrastructure has been the continent’s most improved sub-category (out of the IIAG’s 16) since 2012, though it remains the lowest scoring.
Further governance progress held hostage by deteriorating security situation and shrinking participatory environment
Further progress at the Overall Governance level since 2012 has been hindered by deterioration in Security & Rule of Law (-1.3) and Participation, Rights & Inclusion (-0.8) – with the pace of decline concerningly accelerating since 2017 in both cases. For the two categories, more than half of African countries have declined both over the decade and the five-year period, with more than 20 countries having declined at a faster pace since 2017 than over the decade. For Security & Rule of Law, the decline over the decade has been driven mostly by the sub-category Security & Safety (-5.8), the most deteriorated IIAG sub-category since 2012 and on a path of increasing deterioration since 2017. Deterioration in Security & Safety over the decade has been driven by all five underlying indicators, but the primary driver is increased violence against civilians and a rise in armed conflicts.
For Participation, Rights & Inclusion, three out of the four underlying sub- categories have deteriorated both over the decade and since 2017 – only Women’s Equality (+5.0) is making progress. The largest decline has been registered in Participation, both over the ten-year (-5.2) and five-year (-4.4) periods. Participation, which is on a path of increasing deterioration, has been the second most declined IIAG sub-category over the decade and the most declined between 2017 and 2021. The latter decline has been driven by all four underlying indicators, with the largest five-year declines recorded in Freedom of Association & Assembly (-5.7) and Democratic Elections (-5.4).
Security & Rule of Law
« Africa is less safe and secure than 10 years ago, and the rule of law has weakened in the last five years »
Although Security & Rule of Law remains the second highest scoring category in 2021, with an African average score of 48.9 (out of 100.0), it has declined faster than any other IIAG category both over the decade (2012-2021) and in the latest five years (2017-2021). In the latest period, the pace of decline has even worsened (at an annual average rate of -0.23 compared to -0.14 over the decade). In more than half (32) of the African countries Security & Rule of For almost 70% of the continent’s population (69.3%) Security & Rule of Law has declined since 2012, more than for any other category. Only 5 countries – Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Seychelles, Somalia and Zimbabwe- have improved in the 4 underlying sub- categories of Security & Rule of Law since 2012, with none managing to sustain progress in all over the latest 5 years.
“Law has declined over the decade, with 23 countries deteriorating at a faster pace between 2017 and 2021, more than for any other category. This category is home to the most declined sub-category over the ten-year period (Security & Safety) as well as two of the three lowest scoring sub-categories in 2021 (Accountability & Transparency and Anti-Corruption).” 12 countries have declined in all 4 underlying sub-categories of Security & Rule of Law since 2012, including 3 of the 5 highest scoring countries: Botswana (3rd), Cabo Verde (4th) and Namibia (5th).
Deteriorating security situation driven by rising violence against civilians and armed conflicts
Security & Safety and Accountability & Transparency are the 1st and 4th most declined sub-categories since 2012 (out of 16 IIAG sub-categories)
« For almost 90% of the continent’s population (87.8%), Security & Safety has declined since 2012, more than for any other sub-category »
The decline at category level has been driven mostly by the negative trajectory of the Security & Safety sub-category both over the ten-year and five-year periods (-5.8 and -2.8, respectively), with a faster pace of decline in the latest period (at an annual average rate of -0.70 compared to -0.64 over the decade). Even though Security & Safety (73.5) remains the highest scoring IIAG sub-category in 2021, it has been the most declined out of the 16 sub- categories over the decade and the second most declined since 2017. More than two-thirds (40) of the countries have recorded a decline in Security & Safety since 2012, with 28 deteriorating at a faster pace over the past five years, more than for any other sub-category.
Every indicator sitting in the Security & Safety sub-category has deteriorated at the African average level both over the decade and in the latest five years. Since 2012, the main drivers of the deteriorating security situation on the continent have been a rise in violence against civilians as well as in armed conflicts. Out of the 81 IIAG indicators, Absence of Violence Against Civilians (-10.9) and Absence of Armed Conflict (-8.6) have been the second and third most deteriorated indicators over the ten-year period.
Governments are less accountable and transparent in 2021 than any time over the last ten years
The Accountability & Transparency sub-category has also declined over the decade and in the last five years (-1.3 and -0.4, respectively). Although the pace of decline has slowed down between 2017-2021 (at an annual average rate of -0.10 compared to -0.14 over the decade), it records its lowest score over the decade in 2021 (37.9).
Alarm bells for rule of law and anti-corruption measures
Further deterioration at the category level has been slowed by the still positive ten-year trajectories of the sub-categories Rule of Law & Justice and Anti-Corruption (+1.4 and +0.7, respectively). However, both sub-categories have registered warning signs in the latest five years, with Rule of Law & Justice recording a deterioration and progress in Anti-Corruption stalling. For Rule of Law & Justice, this has been driven mostly by an environment where Africa’s citizens have become less equal before the law and judicial systems less impartial. Lack of progress since 2017 in Anti-Corruption has been mostly due to an accelerated pace of deterioration in the indicators Anti-Corruption Mechanisms and Public Procurement Procedures.
Law has declined over the decade, with 23 countries deteriorating at a faster pace between 2017 and 2021, more than for any other category. This category is home to the most declined sub-category over the ten-year period (Security & Safety) as well as two of the three lowest scoring sub-categories in 2021 (Accountability & Transparency and Anti-Corruption)
Worsened performance in Security & Safety across the ranking table
Over the decade, the distribution of scores in Security & Safety has become more scattered, more than for any other sub-category. The median score for the sub-category has decreased by -2.5 points over the ten-year period (from 82.5 in 2012 to 80.0 in 2021), as the countries in the lower half of the ranking table perform worse in 2021 than they did in 2012. Five countries – Central African Republic, DR Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Sudan – score lower in 2021 than the 2nd worst performing country, in 2012. Meanwhile, for the top half of the ranking table, scores are also generally lower in 2021 than in 2012.
Participation, Rights & Inclusion
The last three years have seen a wave of democratic backsliding across much of the continent. Governments have been increasingly prone to infringe on rights, curb freedom of expression and association, and impose restrictions on civic space. This trend rapidly accelerated with the pandemic, with many elections being postponed and governments using COVID-19 as an excuse to clamp down on dissent. Despite this, there are some positives with several countries such as Gambia and Seychelles bucking the continental trend. Additionally, in 42 African countries women are seeing greater equality in political and socioeconomic spheres than they were in 2012. However, without a reversal in the uptake of repressive measures, the situation will continue to be a drag on good governance.
Democratic backsliding in Africa has accelerated since 2018
Participation, Rights & Inclusion is the lowest scoring IIAG category, scoring 46.7 (out of 100.0) in 2021. This position follows a deteriorating trend since 2012 (-0.8). This category is the second most deteriorated at the African average level. Since 2017, the rate of decline has accelerated. Over the last five years (2017-2021), the average rate of decline is double that of the decade. More than 60% of Africa’s citizens live in a country where Participation, Rights & Inclusion has declined in the last ten years, and more than one third live in a country where decline has accelerated since 2017.
Major restrictions on freedom of association and assembly since 2012
The participatory environment has shrunk across the continent in multiple ways, with all four indicators in the Participation sub-category registering a lower score in 2021 than in 2012. Freeness and fairness of elections have declined, space for civil society has shrunk, and political pluralism is on the decline. However, by far the biggest driver of decline within the Participation sub-category is restrictions on association and assembly. The Freedom of Association & Assembly (-11.3) has been the most declined indicator of the IIAG over the decade.
Rights squeezed by constraints on freedom of expression
Though the largest decline occurred in Participation, this is not the only area of concern. Rights are increasingly neglected in many countries across the continent. The Rights (-2.6) sub-category has recorded a sizeable decline over the last 10 years, with only Security & Safety (-5.8) and Participation (-5.2) showing a larger decline. This has been driven by the deterioration of media freedom, digital rights, and freedom of expression and belief.
Progress in women’s equality brings hope
Women’s Equality (+5.0) is the only sub-category within Participation, Rights & Inclusion to improve. It is the second most improved IIAG sub-category over the ten-year period. Underpinning this improvement are stronger laws against domestic violence and sexual harassment. Progress can also be seen across the board, with greater political power and representation for women, more socioeconomic opportunity, more equal access to public services, and more equal enforcement of civil liberties.
Gambia and Seychelles buck the continental trend
Gambia’s democratic shift goes against continental trend
Gambia has bucked the continental trend in Participation, Rights & Inclusion with an improvement of almost 20 points (+19.7) over the last ten years. The country performance dramatically improved in 2017, coinciding with Adama Barrow replacing long-time leader Yahya Jammeh as President. Improvements have been registered in all four sub-categories and in 17 out of 19 indicators. The largest progress has been seen in civil society space, freedom and fairness of elections, digital rights and media freedom.
Seychelles reaches top rank in 2021 for the first time
Seychelles is another country to buck the trend at the continental level. Seychelles has gone from being ranked fifth in 2012, to reaching first in 2021. Since 2014, the country has recorded year-on-year in improvement, while many other of the best scoring countries have declined since 2012, such as Cabo Verde (-0.6), Ghana (-2.2), and Mauritius (-6.5). Improvement in Seychelles has primarily been driven by progress in the Participation sub-category, with more free and fair elections and greater freedom of association and assembly. Meanwhile, Cabo Verde, Ghana, and Mauritius have all recorded a deterioration in Participation, as well as large declines in Rights for both Ghana and Mauritius.
Foundations for Economic Opportunity
The continued progress in Foundations for Economic Opportunity, despite the seismic economic shock of COVID-19, is cause for optimism. Almost 90% of Africa’s population live in a country where Foundations for Economic Opportunity has improved since 2012. An ever-larger share of the population in Africa has access to digital devices, banking services and electricity. Governments have increased their statistical capacity and civil registration systems are timelier and more affordable. All of these contribute to strong economic foundations.
However, this should not mask the reality that for most African countries huge challenges remain. Africa has the lowest GDP per capita of any world region, more than one in ten young Africans are unemployed, and 600 million lack access to electricity. To address these challenges, governments need to improve their revenue mobilisation, invest in transport and energy infrastructure and lay the foundations for secure, well-paid jobs.
Foundations for Economic Opportunity gives cause for optimism, but huge challenges remain
With a score of 48.3 (out of 100.0), the Foundations for Economic Opportunity category ranks third, behind Security & Rule of Law (49.0) and Human Development (51.5). Despite this still comparatively low score, this category is an area of notable progress in the IIAG. However, significant challenges remain in areas such as labour relations and transport network. With an improvement of +3.0 between 2012 and 2021, Foundations for Economic Opportunity is the second most improved category after Human Development at the African average level. 43 countries – hosting 88.0% of Africa’s population – have improved in Foundations for Economic Opportunity over the decade. A further 28 – home to 52.3% of the continent’s population – have built on this momentum to see progress accelerate since 2017.
Improvement is driven by digital infrastructure, but transport network remains an area of concern
There have been improvements across most underlying areas in the Foundations for Economic Opportunity category, with all four sub-categories improving over the decade and improvements in Infrastructure (+8.1) standing out. No sub-category across the IIAG has improved more than Infrastructure over the decade, and it is the only sub-category to see all 54 countries register improvement since 2012. However, this progress comes from a low base. Despite the rapid rate of improvement, Infrastructure remains the IIAG’s worst performing sub-category in 2021 with a score of 37.5 out of 100.0.
Improvement across all four Foundations for Economic Opportunity sub-categories
Improvements in Infrastructure have largely been driven by the growth of digital infrastructure. Every country on the continent has greater access to internet and computers than in 2012, while every country but South Sudan has seen an increase in mobile connectivity and communications. There have also been notable improvements in energy access, though it remains much lower than in other global regions. However, not all areas of Infrastructure have improved. With the exception of rail, transport networks have made no progress since 2012. Most countries have seen a decrease in the size of road networks and the prevalence of paved roads per capita. Shipping and postal facilities have also deteriorated. If the AfCFTA is to be a success, these barriers to trade and business must be addressed.
Improving business environment masks concerning decline in labour relations
« Labour relations have declined in half of all African countries since 2012 »
The Business & Labour Environment (+0.9) sub-category has improved since 2012, although improvement has slowed in line with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2012 more people have access to banking services, business and competition regulations have improved, economic activities are more diverse and working poverty and vulnerable employment have decreased. But an increasingly repressive environment for trade unions has led to a concerning deterioration of labour relations, which has further accelerated since 2017.
Positive strides in statistical capacity and civil registration systems
Public Administration (+1.0) has improved since 2012 due to strides in the capacity of statistical systems and improved civil registration systems. National statistical offices (NSOs) are providing greater data coverage and are making their data more open and accessible. This trend has accelerated since 2017 and will be key to steering economic policy and achieving both the SDGs and Agenda 2063. Civil registration systems are also better now than in 2012, with the improved timeliness of no-cost birth and death certificates. This improvement must be maintained to provide better public services, regulated jobs in the formal sector and to increase government tax bases.
Mauritius & Tunisia: joint top scorers but on opposing trajectories
Mauritius and Tunisia are the joint top scoring countries in the Foundations for Economic Opportunity category in 2021, with a score of 71.0 out of 100.0. However, the two countries are on opposing trajectories. Mauritius has declined over the decade (-0.5) and is on a path of increasing deterioration. This follows a concerning decline of -4.1 since 2017, outweighing the improvements recorded in the first half of the decade. By contrast, Tunisia is on a path of increasing improvement, improving by +7.9 over the decade. Tunisia has improved its score in every IIAG year. In 2021, Mauritius recorded its worst score since 2012, while Tunisia recorded its best.
Mauritius’ concerning trend has largely been driven by deterioration in the Public Administration sub-category, due to declines in the effectiveness of administration and the capacity of the statistical system. Declines in Business & Labour Environment driven by deteriorating labour relations have also played a role. In Tunisia, improved access to the internet and computers have led progress in the Infrastructure sub-category. Better labour relations explain progress in Business & Labour Environment, while improved market access has seen improvement in Rural Economy.
Human Development has improved year-on-year over the last decade, with more than 90% of Africa’s population living in a country where public services such as health and education are better in 2021 than in 2012. Social protections are more extensive, decent housing is on the rise, and governments have made strides in environmental sustainability. However, the fallout from COVID-19 has impacted these trends, reflecting the priorities related to the management of the pandemic on the continent. On the one hand, improvements in healthcare and social protections have accelerated since 2019. On one hand, education systems have performed more poorly over the last three years. There has also been a decline in environmental sustainability in this period, which is particularly alarming considering that the world’s ten most climate vulnerable countries are in Africa.
Human Development has improved every year since 2012, sustaining progress in all areas
« Of the 10 highest scoring countries in Human Development in 2021, 3 have registered a deterioration since 2017: Mauritius (2nd), Cabo Verde (6th) and Rwanda (10th) »
Human Development is the highest scoring category in 2021 – with an African average score of 51.5 (out of 100.0). It is also the only category to have progressed both over the decade (2012-2021) and in the latest five-year period (2017-2021), and to have done so at an accelerated pace in the latter period (at an annual average rate of +0.45 compared to +0.39 since 2012). Moreover, Human Development constitutes the only category which has improved every single year during the last decade. More than two-thirds of African countries have followed a positive trajectory both over the ten-year and five-year periods (48 and 43, respectively), more than for any other category. This category is home to the third and fifth highest scoring sub- categories in 2021 (Health and Sustainable Environment, respectively).
Health-related development targets and sustainable environment main drivers of improvement
« The prevalence of non-communicable diseases has risen since 2012 due to an increase in metabolic risks »
Health, the IIAG’s third highest scoring sub-category in 2021, has recorded year-on-year improvement since 2012. This positive trend is driven by progress in most of the Health sub-category underlying indicators: child and maternal health, control of communicable diseases, compliance with international health regulations, access to water and sanitation. All four indicators have also improved since 2017, with Compliance with International Health Regulations (IHR) doing so at a faster pace.
However, the two remaining indicators have deteriorated over the last ten years: Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (-1.4) and Access to Healthcare (-0.6). While Access to Healthcare has managed to bounce back, registering an improvement between 2017 and 2021, the deterioration in Control of Non- Communicable Diseases has continued, albeit at a slower pace.
Progress in social protection and welfare on the back of a rise in decent housing
Despite being the IIAG’s sixth most improved sub-category both over the decade and in the latest five years, Social Protection & Welfare remains the fifth lowest scoring sub-category in 2021. The positive trajectory since 2012 has been driven by progress in indicators measuring access to decent housing, inequality levels, as well as the existence of social safety nets. All three indicators have managed to accelerate their speed of improvement between 2017 and 2021.
However, further progress has been impeded by the indicators Poverty Reduction Policies and Food Security, both following a trajectory of increasing deterioration. 42 countries have improved in Sustainable Environment since 2012, driving progress at the African average level Of the 11 countries deteriorating in Sustainable Environment over the decade, 3 have declined at a quicker pace since 2017 (Burkina Faso, Libya, Namibia). Only 2 out of 5 Social Protection & Welfare indicators have deteriorated over the decade: Poverty Reduction Policies (-0.4) and Food Security (-0.2), with the pace of decline accelerating for both since 2017
Education: progress losing momentum since 2017
Of the four Human Development sub-categories, Education, the IIAG’s seventh highest scoring sub-category in 2021, is the only one whose progress has slowed down since 2017 (at an annual average rate of +0.28 compared to +0.36 over the decade). Education has been the fifth most improved sub-category over the decade but only the seventh in the latest five years (+3.2 and +1.1, respectively).
Progress in the Education sub-category over the ten years has been driven by four out of its five underlying indicators: Human Resources in Education (+7.6), Education Completion (+7.1), Education Enrolment (+3.1) and Equality in Education (+2.3). All four have also improved since 2017 but at a slower pace. Further improvement over the decade has been mainly pre-empted by the deterioration recorded in the indicator Education Quality (-0.6). However, it has managed to bounce back since 2017, seeing its score increase by +1.7 points. Education Quality assesses whether education policy is successful
in delivering high-quality education, as well as the extent to which the education system meets the needs of a competitive economy and the learning-adjusted years of schooling.
Citizens are the direct recipients of public leadership and governance. For this reason, in assessing government performance, MIF has made a priority of the inclusion of citizens’ perceptions alongside official and expert data since the beginning of the IIAG. For the past ten years, MIF has been working with and supporting Afrobarometer, the leading pan-African research institution conducting public attitude surveys on the continent, currently covering 37 out of 54 countries*. These data, formerly scattered at various levels across the IIAG, are now used to construct the complementary Citizens’ Voices dataset.
42 countries have improved in Sustainable Environment since 2012, driving progress at the African average level Of the 11 countries deteriorating in Sustainable Environment over the decade, 3 have declined at a quicker pace since 2017 (Burkina Faso, Libya, Namibia)
Insecurity and corruption drive dissatisfaction
Increasing dissatisfaction is being driven by a range of underlying factors, with growing concerns over security and corruption playing a key role. In 26 out of the 37 countries covered, people believe governments are doing less to tackle corruption now than they were in 2012. This has been particularly pronounced in Southern Africa. While concerns over corruption have grown in all regions but North Africa, Southern Africa has seen concerns grow at more than twice the rate of any other region. Notably, Western Africa has seen satisfaction with efforts to tackle corruption plummet since 2018, coinciding with a period that saw political disruption and a number of coups across the region.
In 28 out of the 37 countries, citizens had a worse view of security and safety in 2021 than they did in 2012. Notably, fear of crime has risen, and satisfaction with government’s handling of crime has declined, particularly since 2017. Again, this has been most prominent in Southern Africa. In 2012 citizens of Southern African countries had the most favourable perceptions of public safety of any region. In 2021, they have the least favourable perception.