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Governance in Africa: Citizen dissatisfaction is growing, and COVID-19 is likely to reverse recent gains

Recently, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings published the 2021 Foresight Africa Report. This report highlights the top priorities for the continent in the coming year, offering recommendations for African and global stakeholders for creating and supporting a strong, sustainable, and successful Africa. 

Our Executive Director, Nathalie Delapalme, contributed to the 2021 report. She shared key findings from the 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) including insights on African citizens’ growing dissatisfaction with governance on the continent. 

In more than half of the 39 countries sampled, citizens are less satisfied with governance performance than 10 years ago…

Read an excerpt from this chapter below. 

The most recent release of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) indicates that, while progress has been made in overall governance performance on the continent over the last decade - as of 2019, over 6 in 10 of Africa’s citizens live in a country where governance is better than in 2010 - this progress has slowed down in the latter half of the decade. Indeed, in 2019, average year-on-year governance performance fell for the first time since 2010. 

We’ve witnessed not a huge drop - barely 0.2 points - but that decline is a warning sign that needs to be monitored and addressed. Undeniable gains in human and economic development have been achieved. But they are not able to offset deteriorating performances, often at a worsening pace, regarding security, rule of law, participation, rights, and inclusion. This reality underscores a deeper truth: There can be no sustainable trade-off between progress in human and economic development and disdain for citizen participation, rights, rule of law, and transparency.