Assessing African Governance

Global Integrity
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By Scott Rumpsa — October 7, 2015.

This past Monday, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation released their 2015 governance data comprising the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG). Running since 2000, the IIAG is a fantastic dataset, providing a detailed look at governance from a fact based selection of indicators. 36 organizations are involved in the production of this data. We’re one of them, via the Africa Integrity Indicators, currently in its fourth round of research.

Kudos to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation – both their methodology, and all of the substantive backing data are made easily, and freely, available for all. This incredible data set is important, especially as it focuses on the on-the-ground reality by looking at “outputs and outcomes of policies”. Anyone interested in the difficult attempts to improve governance should – if they have not already – check it out here, and then jump into the conversation on Twitter.

The recent data release has generated a good conversation in the press so far. See the Economist here, here, and IIAG’s collected list here.

As Dr. Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim wisely noted in his speech at the data release on Monday, one overarching goal is to make governance intelligible for citizens, generating a discussion based on quality data. We at Global Integrity agree completely that high quality data such as the IIAG is foundational. Similarly, we too are focused on what comes next: how do local political actors – governments and citizens – use the data to start a local dialogue towards improved governance. Without this, the data itself is mute.

The great news is that the Mo Ibrahim Foundation notes that it’s now busier than ever fielding questions from governments digging into the data. Likewise, here at Global Integrity, we’ve been pivoting to focus more on engaging directly with in-country actors – working with our data to improve the local discussions and deliberations from whence any significant changes will flow (see a reflection on our new course here, and a post on how we see data supporting country-level learning, improving adaptive development here).

We’re excited to witness all of the discussions, learning, and incremental improvements that will follow this, and future, IIAG releases. And, of course, to our forthcoming rounds of Africa Integrity Indicators data!

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