In 2012, Global Integrity embarked on a five-year collaboration with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to generate the Africa Integrity Indicators (AII), which assesses key social, economic, political and anti-corruption mechanisms at the national level across all 54 African countries.
Both the breadth and depth of coverage are significant – producing detailed, evidence-based governance data across the entire continent, with scoring and detailed comments based on the expertise of in-country contributors, corroborated by multiple sources and reviewers.
Measuring both the existing legal framework and the “in practice” implementation is key in our effort to produce actionable governance data that help governments, citizens and civil society understand and evaluate the status quo and identify intervention points for subsequent reform efforts.
The Africa Integrity Indicators are scored by in-country researchers following an evidence-based investigation methodology: Rather than relying on experiences or pre-existing perceptions by experts, the strength of Global Integrity’s methodology is that it requires a variety of sources of information to be reviewed and documented (including legal and scholarly reviews, interviews with experts, and reviews of media stories) to substantiate the score choice. Following the qualitative assessment compiled by the researcher, the resultant data points are then reviewed blindly by a panel of peer reviewers, drawing on the expertise of a mix of in-country experts as well as outside experts.
Each indicator is presented for the user with three elements – score, explanatory comment, and sources. These components mean that a given scorecard presents a wealth of information. Scores allow for general comparisons across countries, while sources and comments provide a unique window into the realities of regulation and enforcement in each country. The questionnaire has 114 indicators and is divided in two main categories:
Transparency and Accountability. Drawing from the indicators of the Global Integrity Report (GIR), the Transparency and Accountability category consists of 59 indicators examining issues divided in the thematic areas of rule of law, accountability, elections, public management integrity, civil service integrity, and access to information. The indicators look into transparency of the public procurement process, media freedom, asset disclosure requirements, independence of the judiciary, and conflict of interest laws, among others.
Social Development. The Social Development category consists of 51 indicators about gender, rights, welfare, rural sector, business environment, health and education. It is important to note that this category of the questionnaire was designed to feed the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) in areas not covered by the secondary data sources it utilizes. Therefore, it does not attempt to be a comprehensive assessment by itself. Because the Social Development portion of the questionnaire only includes a small number of questions per each topic area, Global Integrity only provides the scores per each individual indicator and won’t provide category or subcategory scores. For example, there are only two questions about Health and users can access the score for each of those two indicators, but they won’t find an overall Health score or an overall Social Development score.
In August of 2015, the first three rounds of data (2013, 2014 and 2015) were published on a newly designed website, providing users complete access to the raw data, as well as findings by issue area. Data for the fourth round (2016) is available in a provisional form until the end of May 2016, to allow users to flag gross inaccuracies that can be addressed in the final data.
We presented the data to external audiences including the World Bank Global Governance Practice, and the Mandela Fellows. Portions of the data are used in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, while other elements continue to be used by the World Bank (as a part of the World Governance Indicators), the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and, importantly, a variety of in-country actors who connect with GI seeking evidence they can take action upon.
As of February 2016, the project is in its fourth round of research, which intended for initial publication in April 2016. Four new indicators have been added this round (on vital statistics), as the AII research continues to be responsive to the needs of data users, seeking to collect information that provides the most useful – and actionable – information to those seeking improved governance.
Visit the project microsite to access the data, details and more information.
In August 2015, we analyzed the research and produced an initial set of findings for the first 3 rounds, which are available for download. Findings for the 4th round will be completed in the coming months, and finalized by the end of June 2016. However, the rich data lends itself to much deeper analysis – and is designed to be particularly fruitful when identifying areas for improvement at the country level.
Aggregate category and subcategory scores serve as guideposts only – specific items for improvement are found at the indicator level. For instance, a country may have a low aggregate score in the public management integrity section. Looking into this, a user may notice that the lowest scores of the section were earned in indicators focusing on certain elements of the procurement process – effective blacklisting, or timely public accessibility of award and contract information, etc.
In this case, these would present clear opportunities for improvement. Likewise, just because a certain country receives a middling or relatively higher aggregate score in a subcategory, this does not preclude room for significant improvement in certain areas – there will often be an indicator or two where the performance is lower, and left unattended, these represent an identified corruption risk that can be improved upon.
Access the complete findings report here.
We are actively investigating opportunities to build from the AII data toward more intentional in-country engagement — listening to in-country actors in an attempt to understand how the data can be most useful to those who can directly influence reforms.
In the near future, we intend to partner with in-country stakeholders, including reformers inside and outside of government, to facilitate stakeholder conversations around nascent reform opportunities. Identifying bright spots and challenges will help to empower in-country-reformers make decisions and use comparative elements to share and learn from other countries’ experiences, thereby catalyzing locally-led problem solving towards ‘best fit’ solutions.
If you’re interested in working with this data to identify such opportunities in your country, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In each round of Africa Integrity Indicators research, approximately 150 professionals contribute. While the vast majority are named below, a few have requested anonymity with valid reasoning, and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose their names.
Global Integrity is dedicated to producing high quality data and insuring that it is as useful as possible to local stakeholders — both inside and outside of government around the world. If you have questions, comments, or thoughts please contact us at email@example.com.