African governance performance declined for the first time since 2010

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 November 2020:

The 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), launched today by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, highlights a decline in African governance performance for the first time since 2010.

The 2019 African average score for Overall Governance falls by -0.2 points below that of 2018, registering the first year-on-year score deterioration since 2010. This recent decline is triggered by worsening performance in three of the four IIAG categories: Participation, Rights & Inclusion, Security & Rule of Law and Human Development.

In fact, progress had already been slowing down since 2015. Over 2015-2019, performance slackened in both Human Development and Foundations for Economic Opportunity, while deterioration continued in both Security & Rule of Law and Participation, Rights & Inclusion, even worsening for the latter.

However, over the decade, overall governance performance has slightly progressed, and in 2019, 61.2% of Africa’s population lives in a country where Overall Governance is better than in 2010.

The 2020 IIAG is the most comprehensive assessment of governance performance in 54 African countries. It tracks Africa’s trajectory across four main categories: Security & Rule of Law; Participation, Rights & Inclusion; Foundations for Economic Opportunity; and Human Development.

The new IIAG incorporates three significant upgrades: an expanded governance scope, including new areas such as environment and equality; strengthened indicators, thanks to better data availability; and a new section fully dedicated to Africa’s Citizens’ Voices.

Over the last decade, governance dimensions have followed diverging paths

Progress achieved over the last decade has mainly been driven by improvements in economic opportunities and human development. Foundations for Economic Opportunity (+4.1) and Human Development (+3.0) have made good progress, primarily led by improvements in the sub-categories Infrastructure and Health, complemented by advances in Sustainable Environment.

This is threatened, however, by an increasingly precarious security situation and concerning erosion in rights as well as civic and democratic space. Over the last decade, both Participation, Rights & Inclusion (-1.4) and Security & Rule of Law (-0.7) have registered worrying declines.

Over the past decade, 20 countries, home to 41.9% of Africa’s population, while achieving progress in Human Development and Foundations for Economic Opportunity, have at the same time declined in both Security & Rule of Law and Participation, Rights & Inclusion.

Only eight countries manage to improve in all four categories over the decade: Angola, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Seychelles, Sudan and Togo.

COVID-19 heightens existing challenges and threatens economic progress

The 2020 IIAG provides a picture of the continent before it was hit by COVID-19. In terms of Participation, Rights & Inclusion, progress was slowing long before the pandemic, which only worsens the existing negative trajectory. Conversely, economic opportunity was set on a positive course of sustained progress, and the impact of COVID-19 is now threatening this hard-won achievement.

Africa’s citizens are increasingly dissatisfied with governance delivery in their countries

In 2019, new analysis of the Citizens’ Voices section in the IIAG reveals that Public Perception of Overall Governance registers the lowest score over the decade, with the pace of deterioration nearly doubling within the last five years.

A balanced approach to governance is key to progress, as well as improvements in rule of law, justice, inclusion and equality

The strongest correlations of Overall Governance performances are found with the sub-categories Rule of Law & Justice and Inclusion & Equality. The indicators showing the strongest relationships with high overall governance scores span all four IIAG categories, underlining the importance of a balanced approach to governance.

The growing imbalance between the various governance dimensions outlined above is likely to threaten overall governance performance.

Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, says: “This is a testing time for Africa. Pre-existing weaknesses and challenges in African governance, as uncovered by the 2020 IIAG, are exacerbated by COVID-19, which also threatens economic progress. Citizens’ dissatisfaction and mistrust with governance delivery are growing. African states have an opportunity to demonstrate both their resolve to safeguard democracy and their ability to drive a new growth model that is more resilient, more equitable, more sustainable, and more self-reliant.”

The Sierra Leone Telegraph will bring you an analysis of Sierra Leone’s performance.


  1. Triple the prize money,Mo. It seems most African leaders make more than 5 million illegally to be bothered and incentivized by the prize money you are dangling in front of their eyes to do the right thing for their countries. The yardstick to measure how far Sierra Leone has come as a nation is the day we produce the first recipient of the Mo Ibrahim prize for good governance in Africa.

    Any other performance metrics wheeled out by any Government of the day in Sierra Leone to be sold out in the propaganda marketplace is a con.

    Bob Massally

  2. The Mo Ibrahim foundation picked out certain African countries that are doing better in the league table of human development and economic empowerment. Angola, Chad, Ivory coast, just to name few. In the vast majority of African countries, the rule of law, transparency, and respect for individual rights, voter participation both in the economic, and political front, and accountability by their governments has not marched the aspirations the citizens of these countries expect from their governments . clearly, there is lot more work to be done in terms of respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.

    The shortfall in the rule of law in places like Sierra leone,weak structural institutions that are crying out for reform, and the utter contempt displayed by the Bio government towards the citizens that want to express themselves freely, doesn’t propel Sierra Leone any where near the Utopia that Bio and his supporters have shepherd us to. Instead we’ve reached a dead end, and a growing crisis of confidence in his ability to lead. The institutions of the state has been undermined, and is decaying right in front of our eyes.

    This slow motion of institutional death is endangering the very principles that define a free and democratic state. The rule of law, good governance is the only way forward. All the people ask for, is a transparent and accountable government. Right now Sierra leone is faced with a multifaceted crisis in good governance. The trust between the government and the governed has all but flushed down the drain by the activities of corrupt politicians. It will take an almighty effort to rebuild that social contract between the state and its people.

  3. A wise man once proudly declared;” The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling,but rising every time we fall.” Totally agree! But this has never been the case with African leaders,they have been slipping and sliding,tripping and falling down for countless decades gone by and have still not been able to stand gallantly on their own two feet.(lol)Goodness gracious!What else must we now do to enable our dim-witted leaders to become more creative,pragmatic and insightful in their style of governance. Mo Ibrahim should pull them by their ears and teach them the reasons for having priorities rightly in order,and the essential need to put productive horses ahead of the carts they are going to pull,instead of far behind them.

    How difficult is that for any dummy to understand – added to accountability and prudent spending those are invaluable tools,those are the simple basics that guarantee sustainable success anywhere and at anytime,and in any terrain;Come rain or sunshine,hell and high-water they never fail in guaranteeing us success.Again,How long will these individuals keep on depending on high interests loans that are purposefully designed to keep Africa shackled in the dark ages?And who is it among those sleeping millions perplexed by poverty and despair that wouldn’t agree with me that the borrower is always slave to the lender,that overfeeding oneself on someones money will only give you a running stomach?(lol) Geez!

    We have been borrowing since Independence and have not improved our lives an inch,and we still keep on borrowing high interest loans.This is total madness!Its disgraceful to fail where your ancestors have failed because of lack of opportunity,restraint and a good sense judgment – The time is now!we need all hands on deck;we must put our petty differences aside and strive together in single-mindedness for the future progress of the African continent.

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