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African governance progress lagging behind needs and expectations of growing population, finds 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance

Despite strong GDP growth over the last ten years, Africa has failed to generate economic opportunities for its booming youth population

Dakar and London, 29 October 2018 – The 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), launched today by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, highlights that public governance progress in Africa is lagging behind the needs and expectations of a growing population, composed mainly of young people.

Over the last decade, Overall Governance has on average maintained a moderate upward trajectory, with three out of four of Africa’s citizens (71.6%) living in a country where governance has improved.

African governments have struggled to translate economic growth into improved Sustainable Economic Opportunity for their citizens

Since 2008 the African average score for Sustainable Economic Opportunity has increased by 0.1 point, or 0.2%, despite a continental increase in GDP of nearly 40% over the same period. There has been virtually no progress in creating Sustainable Economic Opportunity, meaning it remains the IIAG’s worst performing and slowest improving category. Defined as the extent to which governments enable their citizens to pursue economic goals and prosper, the almost stagnant Sustainable Economic Opportunity trend strikes a concerning contrast with demographic growth and youth expectations. Africa’s population has increased by 26.0% over the last ten years and 60% of the continent’s 1.25 billion people are now under the age of 25.

A diverging picture across Africa

African countries show increasing divergence in Overall Governance performance. Continental progress is mainly driven by 15 countries that have managed to accelerate their pace of improvement over the last five years. Progress is most striking in Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and Kenya. Divergence is also reflected in Sustainable Economic Opportunity trends. While 27 of Africa’s countries have shown some improvement, in 25 countries, accounting for 43.2% of Africa’s citizens, Sustainable Economic Opportunity performance has declined over the last ten years.

There is no strong relationship between the size of a country’s economy and its performance in Sustainable Economic Opportunity. In 2017, four of the ten countries with the highest GDP on the continent score below the African average score for Sustainable Economic Opportunity and sit in the lower half of the rankings, namely: Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, and Sudan. Meanwhile two of the smallest economies on the continent, Seychelles and Cabo Verde, reach the 5th and 6th highest scores in providing Sustainable Economic Opportunity for their citizens.

Declining Business Environment runs counter to the growing working age population

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