The 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance has revealed that the current economic structures in many countries in Africa cannot sustain its teeming population of youth, and also create jobs for them. On the average, however, governance on the continent has improved in the last decade.

The index is an annual report that measures the quality of governance in 54 African countries and is a brainchild of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, owned by Sudanese-British billionaire, Mo Ibrahim. This year’s index is the 12th edition, and its release proved that the policy changes triggered by previous editions are working. The Index reports that 3 out of every 4 African citizens live in a country where governance has increased in the past 10 years.

The four key factors that the index measures for governance performance are Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity, and Human Development. However, each factor has various indicators of measurement, including an absence of crime, an absence of social unrest, an absence of human trafficking, an absence of cross-border tensions, democratic elections, effective power to govern etc.

Mauritius ranked first on the index, with a score of 79.5 out of 100. In the past 10 years, it has only declined by 0.7 points. The last country on the index is Somalia, with a score of 13.6, mirroring the crises and conflicts that have erupted in the East-African country in the past 10 years. Countries like Nigeria, Liberia, and Zimbabwe also had marginal increases in governance ratings in the past decade.

However, the country with the most improvement in governance is Cote D’Ivoire with a 12.7 increase in Governance rating between 2008-2017. It was ranked in the 45th position on the ranking 10 years ago but is now ranked on the 22nd position on the ranking. Its improvement has been driven mainly by President Alassane Ouattara, who on his resumption in office in 2010 has overseen the rebuilding of Ivory Coast’s economy after two civil wars in the last decade. On the other end of the index, the largest deterioration has come from Libya, losing 15.6 in its Governance score. Libya’s deterioration can largely be attributed to the death of its former leader Muammar Gaddafi who had largely held the country together before his death by NATO forces in 2012.

Generally, African countries performed well in many of the index factors. However, there has been a widespread decline in public safety,  business environment, and national security, which are reflections of conflicts and corruption in many African countries. The indicator for education in more than half of the countries on the continent are denoting the falling quality, while simultaneously the population of Africans continues increasing. The continent is the youngest continent in the world, with a median age of 19.5 years old. With this fact comes the burden of producing jobs for African youths. Mo Ibrahim called it a “huge missed opportunity” and a “recipe for disaster” in his foreword in the report. For more about the report, visit the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

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