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Reading the 2017 IIAG results

To construct the 2017 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), the Foundation’s research team collected 177 variables that measure governance concepts from 36 independent sources. These were combined to form 100 indicators, which are organised under the IIAG’s key governance dimensions: the 14 sub-categories and four categories that make up the Overall Governance score.

Reading ResultsGraph1

Including all the data collected from source and the calculations made expressly for the IIAG, there are a total of 251 different measures of governance in Africa in the 2017 IIAG. These range from indicators that measure specific issues such as the Independence of the Judiciary, which is one part of the broader sub-category measure Rule of Law, which is in turn one part of the overarching category measure Safety & Rule of Law.

The 2017 IIAG structure covers 17 years’ worth of data from 2000-2016 inclusive for all 54 African countries. This construction method provides vast amounts of data, and in total there are over 200,000 data points where the IIAG has data for any given country, in any given year, for any given measure.

To fully assess any country’s governance performance therefore, it is vital to drill down beyond the broader measures such as Overall Governance score to take into account country performance across the different governance dimensions encompassed by the structure of the IIAG.

Structure and levels

Country performance can vary significantly across these dimensions, and countries may score quite highly in one area while underperforming in another.

By averaging the scores of countries, the IIAG also provides group analysis for a variety of different group compositions. In the IIAG, key findings are often provided for Africa as a whole. These results are the average of the scores of 54 African countries, at all levels of the IIAG. However, Africa is a diverse continent with vastly different countries and averages often mask diverse results at the country level.

The benefit of the IIAG structure is that country or group performance can be assessed holistically through the broader measures, but users can also drill down to assess performance in specific governance issues. Users can explore continental, regional and thematic governance results.

Scores, ranks and trends

IIAG results can be classified into three main types: score, rank and trend. All three results must be considered when studying the Index, as each type of result gives context to the others. For example, looking only at rank or score without considering trends overlooks the important trajectories that countries follow.

In the same way that trends should be taken into account when looking at scores and ranks, when looking at trends it is important to take into account the level of score and rank. A country that registers vast improvements in one area may still be ranked quite low in that same measure, and vice-versa.

Trend classifications in the 2017 IIAG

Country and group trends can vary drastically depending on the base year for analysis. Whilst a country can show improvement or decline over the last ten years, it may show the opposite trend in the last five years. The IIAG results reveal that governance performance is not linear. Countries regularly improve or decline between years. Due to the constantly moving nature of governance performance, the 2017 IIAG publications will focus on assessing country trends in the last five years (2012-2016), within the context of the last decade (2007-2016).

This analysis provides long-term findings as well as focusing on the short-term, in order to provide a more nuanced assessment of the performance of countries, regions and groups. The intention of this analysis is to illustrate that whilst the IIAG can be used to view long-term trends, due to the changing nature of governance performance, it is important to assess both the long-term and short-term alongside each other.

Whilst a country can either improve or deteriorate over the decade, the trend displayed in recent years shows important and useful characteristics for analysis.

Whilst registering improvement over the decade, a country can, over the last five years:

  • increase its rate of improvement;
  • slow its rate of improvement;
  • show recent decline.

Similarly, a country showing decline over the decade can, over the last five years:

  • increase its rate of decline;
  • slow its rate of decline;
  • show recent improvement.

In order to capture these ‘trends within trends’, countries are classified according to the direction and size of their annual average trend in the most recent five years, compared to the direction and size of their annual average trend shown over a decade.

The time periods used for analysis are:

  • ten-year period: 2007-2016
  • five-year period: 2012-2016.

To determine whether progress/decline is quickening/slowing, the annual average trend for each period is calculated.

The annual average trend for the ten-year period is the total change in score between 2007 and 2016, divided by nine (the number of annual time periods experienced).

The annual average trend for the five-year period is the total change in score between 2012 and 2016, divided by four (the number of annual time periods experienced).

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In total, there are six classifications: Increasing Improvement, Slowing Improvement, Warning Signs, Bouncing Back, Slowing Deterioration or Increasing Deterioration. These classifications are applied to all measures in the IIAG, and are used for groups as well as countries.

To see the 2017 IIAG results, access on the global online launch of the 2017 IIAG on 20 November.

Example journey of an Index user

You can view the results yourself using our online tool at Here are just some of the ways in which you can explore the data.

Select a country of interest

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Identify a thematic focus from composite to indicator level

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Investigate country’s performance in relation to other African countries

Select Countries

Explore components of the IIAG relative to other dimensions of governance

Compare Measures

Select any time period for analysis

Change Dates

Compare performance to neighbouring countries/regional average

Compare Performance

Screenshots taken from the 2016 IIAG results. The 2017 results will be available on 20 November at