Recently, Global Integrity’s Africa-based team (Marianne Camerer, Erica Penfold and Dadisai Taderera) hosted an expert roundtable and public seminar to consult on a new set of indicators that will eventually feed into the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Both events took place at our new offices located in the elegant Armoury building in Woodstock, Cape Town (a city recently awarded Design Capital of the World 2014.)
To develop the new set of governance indicators, and as part of our commitment to consulting with both local and international experts, we invited colleagues from a number of NGOs and universities to share their ideas on what questions (or “indicators”) they would like to see fielded on the continent. Also joining us for the sessions were Daniel Kaufmann, formerly of the World Bank and now advising the Mo Ibrahim Foundation on its index, and Elizabeth McGrath from the Foundation’s office in London.
Marianne provided the context for the discussion, outlining the new five-year partnership Global Integrity has with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to field a set of indicators in 54 African countries, with the hope that data will be African generated and African owned. Elizabeth McGrath, head of the Ibrahim Index Research Team at the Foundation, provided an overview of the findings of the 2011 Ibrahim Index and pointed to existing gaps in the data that an expert assessment methodology such as Global Integrity’s could address. Daniel shared his classic critique of the myths of governance.
Thoko Madonko (International Budget Partnership), Daryl Balia, Collette Schulz-Herzenberg and Hennie van Vuuren, (Institute for Security Studies), Justin Sylvester (Open Society Foundation), Robert Mattes (University of Cape Town), Amanda Gouws (University of Stellenbosch) and Laurence Piper (University of the Western Cape), all participated in the conversation. We’re grateful for the time they spent with us.
The roundtable discussion led to various suggestions from colleagues as to how the Index could be strengthened, including the addition of more gender-related indicators, questions on youth, and the consideration of rural versus urban distinctions. A lively discussion arose on how to include horizontal as well as vertical accountability measures in the index and also how the Index might capture corruption in the private sector . The role of traditional/customary vs. state law as a means to further understanding the context of African governance was also discussed.
While much work remains to be done to finalize the indicators to be fielded , we have some confidence that the main focus of the new indicator set will be on citizen access and outcomes, and the practical experiences citizens have in engaging with the institutional mechanisms (laws, policies, government agencies) that promote accountability over those in power.
Global Integrity is actively recruiting field teams in all 54 African states to work with us on the upcoming fieldwork. See this blog post for details.
— Erica Penfold