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SA governance in gender, health, safety declines

Oct 06 2015 16:01

Johannesburg - South Africa has retained its rank of fourth out of 54 countries assessed for the 2015 Ibrahim Index on Africa Governance (IIAG).

This follows SA’s improved performance in the 2015/16 World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Index, which saw South Africa rise seven places from 56 to 49 of 140 countries.

Overall on the IIAG, Mautirius came first, followed by Cape Verde, Botswana and the SA.

The IIAG measures the quality of governance in 54 African countries on an annual basis by looking at four areas, namely safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

A historically strong performer in the IIAG, South Africa continues to rank highly in many governance aspects, including overall governance and each of the four categories. However, high ranks conceal some concerning trends at the subcategory level, including deterioration in the issues of rights, gender, public management, rural sector and health.

South Africa is one of only 13 countries to show a decline in health. The country’s personal safety score continues to be of concern, with not only a low score and rank position, but
a recent score drop, triggered by a fall in the measure of social unrest.

South Africa’s most improved category, sustainable economic opportunity, is also the one in which the country ranks highest on the continent (second). This high rank is underpinned by South Africa ranking first in public management, second in business environment and third in infrastructure, but only ninth in rural sector. The country has ranked second in sustainable economic opportunity in every year since 2000.

READ: Why Nene must call for a govt score card

“We welcome South Africa’s performance in the 2015 Ibrahim Index of African Governance particularly in areas where improvements have been noted. The National Development Plan (NDP), together with various other instruments, will guide South Africa’s interventions to address other areas of concern including, amongst others, issues around personal safety,” said Brand South Africa CEO Kingsley Makhubela.  

“South Africa commends countries in the SADC, in particular, on their performance in the index. All countries on the continent should have national programmes to drive their social and economic development. These programmes by African states will collectively contribute towards Africa’s plan for holistic socio-economic development.”

Makhubela called on all South Africans in their different sectors to play their part in implementing the NDP.

"Continuous improvements in the various pillars identified in the NDP will translate into better performance by South Africa in various indices that assess our competitiveness and attractiveness as an investment destination,” said Makhubela.

The IIAG indicates that over the last four years, governance progress in Africa has stalled, and reveals a shifting landscape. During the period 2011-14, the African average overall governance score in the IIAG increased only slightly by 0.2 points to 50.1 (out of 100), with considerable changes in performance during the last four years at all levels of the index, both at country and at category level.

Twenty-one countries, including five of the top ten, have deteriorated in overall governance performance since 2011. Only six countries register an improvement across each of the four categories of the IIAG: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

READ: Zim gets own governance code as corruption spikes

At the regional level, the continental trend in overall governance masks varying performances and a widening range between the regions. Southern Africa remains the best performing region, with an average score of 58.9, followed by West Africa (52.4), North Africa (51.2) and East Africa (44.3). Central Africa is the lowest ranking region with an average score of 40.9, and is the only region to have deteriorated since 2011.

The marginal improvement in overall governance at the continental level is underpinned by positive performances in only two categories, human development and participation & human rights. Both sustainable economic opportunity and safety & rule of law have deteriorated.

“While Africans overall are certainly healthier and live in more democratic societies than 15 years ago, the 2015 IIAG shows that recent progress in other key areas on the continent has either stalled or reversed, and that some key countries seem to be faltering," said Mo Ibrahim, chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.  

"This is a warning sign for all of us. Only shared and sustained improvements across all areas of governance will deliver the future that Africans deserve and demand."

ALSO READ: Grappling with governance

mo ibrahim  |  africa  |  sa economy  |  governance
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