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‘Zimbabwe better than Malawi in governance’

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The latest Mo Ibrahim Foundation report on governance in Africa indicates that Zimbabwe is better than Malawi, in terms of adherence to good governance principles.

The government has, meanwhile, said it is yet to go through the full report while a public policy analyst has faulted the report, saying there is need to draw clear parameters on how it aggregates performance.

This is despite the fact that some of Zimbabwe’s leaders are still reeling from sanctions imposed by countries such as Britain, which, ironically, happens to be in good books with Malawi.

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The report released in London on Monday, and titled ‘Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG)’, uses four indicators which fall into four categories namely: Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

Overall, however, the report indicates that progress on governance has stalled in the last four years and shows signs of deterioration.

“During the period 2011- 14, the African average overall governance score in the IIAG increased only slightly by +0.2 points to 50.1 (out of 100.0), with considerable changes in performance during the last four years at all levels of the Index, both at country and at category level. The annual report assesses governance performance for each of Africa’s 54 countries.

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While 21 countries, including five of the top 10, have deteriorated in overall governance performance since 2011, the surprise of the pack is Zimbabwe, which the report says is among countries that have registered improvements.

“Only six countries register an improvement across each of the four categories of the IIAG: Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia and Zimbabwe. At the regional level, the continental trend in overall governance masks varying performances and a widening range between the regions,” reads the report in part.

The IIAG Country Insights indicate that Malawi is one of the countries that have not fared well.

“Malawi shows a slight decline in overall governance, prompted by deterioration in Sustainable Economic Opportunity. Even though Malawi demonstrates improvement in the other three categories, this is marginal,” reads the report in part, adding:

“At the sub-category level, Malawi has made impressive gains in Personal Safety and Rights, the third largest on the continent. At the same time, Malawi’s decline in Accountability and Rural Sector, make it the most deteriorated country in Southern Africa in these two sub-categories.”

The report adds that Malawi has registered an overall marginal decline in governance since 2011.

“Malawi scores higher than the African average and lower than the regional average. Malawi is ranked seventh in Southern Africa,” adds the report.

Good news for Southern African is that it remains the “best performing region”, followed by West Africa, North Africa and East Africa, with Central Africa being ranked the lowest region.

The marginal improvement in overall governance at the continental level is underpinned by positive performances in only two categories: Human Development and Participation and Human Rights, while no positive strides have been registered in the areas of Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Safety and Rule of Law.

Meanwhile, government spokesperson, Jappie Mhango, has said he is yet to go through the report.

“I am not in the country at the moment,” said Mhango in an interview yesterday.

However, Institute of Policy Interaction Executive Director, Rafiq Hajat, has said there is need to get a clear picture on how Mo Ibrahim Foundation compiles its statistics to determine a country’s performance.

“This is not a reflection of events on the ground. Malawi and Zimbabwe are on the same trajectory. Malawi and Zimbabwe are on the same level; no country is better than the other,” said Hajat.

The IIAG was created in 2007 in recognition of the need for a qualifiable tool to accurately measure and monitor African governance performance.

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