1/3 of countries driving overall improvement in African governance, however many fail to build on prior progress

While the majority of countries (40) improve in Overall Governance over the last ten years, over half of these show this progress either slackening, or have positive trends showing signs of reversing, with decline in the last five years.

Meanwhile, eight of the twelve countries that register decline in Overall Governance over the last decade show no signs of turning things around, decreasing at an even faster rate over the last five years.

As a result, Africa’s average governance improvement has slowed down. This slowing progress is reflected in the governance categories of the IIAG. In the last 5 years, more countries decline than in the last 10 in all the IIAG’s governance categories apart from Safety & Rule of Law.

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Mounting concerns in African National Security despite slowing decline in Safety & Rule of law

Positively, the decade of decline in Safety & Rule of Law has slowed in recent years, with more countries improving in the last five years.

However, increasing decline in National Security keeps Safety & Rule of Law on a downward trajectory: the average continental pace of deterioration in the last five years has more than doubled when compared with the last ten, driven by worsening trends in Government Involvement in Armed Conflicts and Cross-Border Tensions.

In 2007, 43 countries registered the best possible scores in Government Involvement in Armed Conflict. In 2016, this number has fallen to just 18.

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Increasing Improvement in Participation & Human Rights masks concerning trends in some countries and indicators

Participation & Human Rights is the only IIAG category in which Africa accelerates progress, but only marginally so.

The results at country level reveal wide disparities – Participation has the second largest range (85.5 points between the highest and lowest scoring countries) of the 14 sub-categories (after Rule of Law).

Average progress is mainly driven by Participation results increasing pace, led by a majority of countries improving in Free & Fair Elections. However, Political Participation concerningly shows a slight average decline over the last five years despite gains made over a decade, while Civil Society Participation deterioration appears to be worsening.

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Sustainable Economic Opportunity has lost pace over the last five years, with warning signs for Africa's Rural Sector

Slowing progress in the last five years in Sustainable Economic Opportunity is due to a drop in score between 2013 and 2014, but progress appears back on track since 2014.

Average progress in the long and short term is mainly driven by Infrastructure, although Electricity Infrastructure shows average continental decline. A concern is also the fact that there has been decline in Africa’s Rural Sector over the last five years, threatening to reverse the progress made over the last decade.

The main driver of deterioration in Rural Sector is the Agricultural Policy Costs indicator, which assesses the nature of agriculture policy. 30/40 countries covered show decline in the last five years.

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Human Development in Africa: a long-term positive trend, but losing momentum, especially in Education

All three underlying governance dimensions of Human Development (Welfare, Education and Health) have improved over the last 10 years, but worryingly, progress is slowing in all of them.

In Education, progress in the last 5 years has almost ground to a halt, with almost half of the continent showing deterioration in this area.

Over the last 5 years, Education Provision, which assesses the extent to which the public are satisfied with how their government is addressing educational needs, is the most deteriorated indicator in the Human Development category, and the 3rd most deteriorated in the entire IIAG.

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