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Global issue 20

Arena Governance Africa: human development is on a high, while security takes a nosedive The Ibrahim Index of African Governance ranks countries according to the effectiveness of their governance. The 2014 report contains a mixture of good and bad news Molly Ravenscroft Anew report has shed light on inadequate security and ruleof law procedures in several African countries, which otherwise rank highly for good governance. Revelations about the state of South African security came just weeks before the fatal shooting of South African football team captain Senzo Meyiwa. Meyiwa – described by his agent as a “hero in everyone’s eyes” – was killed during a confrontation with burglars who forced entry into his girlfriend’s house. And the high profile shooting was hardly a one-off – the eyes of the world have been trained on South Africa’s court rooms for Oscar Pistorius’ trial and the trial of British tourist Shrien Dewani, found not guilty of paying a gunman to kill his wife, who was shot during a carjacking in a township near Cape Town. The results of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) 2014 suggest that these concerns are not limited just to South Africa – moving north to Namibia presents just as bleak a picture. This year the country’s media has been kept busy reporting on several high profile cases, including the fatal shooting of ‘struggle kid’ Frieda Ndatipo a month before the release of the IIAG report. It’s not all doom and gloom for African security though, as a number of countries were found to have made significant improvements in this respect. Lesotho and Cabo Verde, both rated in the top ten highest scorers in the IIAG report, were seen to have significantly improved in terms of security and rule-of-law within the last five years. Since 2006 the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has committed to supporting progress in leadership and governance in the African continent. IIAG, which is published each autumn, provides an overall assessment of the quality of governance in African countries. Progress is assessed under four key areas: safety and rule of law; participation and human rights; sustainable economic opportunity, and human development. Speaking at the launch of the 2013 IIAG, foundation chair Mo Ibrahim emphasised the significance of carrying out a yearly analysis of good governance. “This is the most accurate picture of what is going on in Africa, based on data, not personal views or political bias,” he said. “This is reality, a mirror put in front of Africa.” The 2014 report has shown an overall increase in government performance across the continent. However, a changing growth trajectory suggests that these results should not be viewed in isolation, as the main drivers of this positive change have altered, pointing to the need for continued development. A positive result that does not fit former perceptions could become easily nullified should citizens and governments become complacent. In the period 2009-13 overall progress in the continent was found to be driven by improvement in two categories: participation and © Lucian Coman / Shutterstock.com 54 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2015 global 54 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2015 global


Global issue 20
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