Africa: Governance index versus reality

Gustave Assah

Africa lacks adequate development monitoring and reporting mechanisms, as is shown in the “imbalance” between the usual indexes and the reality, warned the Civic Commission for Africa (C-CfA), representative regional coalition of civil society organisations, at the third TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) Ministerial Follow-Up Meeting, which was held this Sunday and Monday in Senegal.

This imbalance was shown by “the recent uprisings” in very well scored countries of the North “and other parts of the continent”, said C-CfA Chairman, Beninese sociologist Gustave Assah.

In his speech, Assah mentioned the Human Development Index (HDI) measured by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Governance Index created by the Sudanese mobile communications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, who founded the Celltel company. 

Tunisia ranked 8th according to the Mo Ibrahim Governance Index in 2010, that compares 53 countries, and Egypt, 9th. Both countries experienced popular uprisings this year that concluded with the fall of their governments. 

“We wish to raise our concern over the recent uprisings in North Africa and other parts of the continent. What is of concern to C-CfA is the fact that this happened within some of those states which scored high in their HDI and some of those African states which were doing well towards attaining the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), as seen from the 2010 Mo Ibrahim Governance Index,” Assah said. 

“We are of the view that the current Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) Monitoring and Reporting mechanisms in some cases do not reflect what civil society sees on the ground. We therefore urge TICAD to complement the monitoring efforts of the progress of the MDGs with resources to the C-CfA, as the continental non state actor that has taken particular interest in the TICAD process,” added Assad.

The activist called African governments “to listen to their people to avoid such social unrests” and “to come up with more responsible policies for peace, security and democracy to avoid, not only regressing on strides made towards attaining the MDGs, but also bringing instability resulting in displacements of people and unnecessary loss of life”. 

“We wish to challenge those African governments whose governance and accountability systems continue to display a lack of regard and respect for the people they govern, to learn from the happenings of the recent uprisings, if Africa is to achieve the MDGs, said Assad”.