One Step Forward, Two Steps Back? The Africa Integrity Indicators 2017

Elsa Peraldi
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Elsa Peraldi, Maissa Khattab, Jacob Lewis, and Johannes Tonn – Africa Integrity Indicators Team

April 5, 2017

Pour ce blog en français, cliquez ici

We are pleased to announce the release of our newest round of the Africa Integrity Indicators. The data provides a unique window into national-level performance on key transparency and accountability indicators in all 54 African countries, alongside insights into a number of social development dimensions. This data is provisional, and we invite and welcome feedback over the next two months, before completing the data and publishing the final version toward the end of June 2017.

What makes the Africa Integrity Indicators different?

Our research is different from other assessments in that we work with more than 130 independent and country-based researchers and peer reviewers, often times journalists, who conduct original research and adhere to the following methodological benchmarks:

  • Credibility through transparency: sources, comments, scores and indicator scoring criteria are fully transparent;
  • Rigorous quality control: to ensure we produce fact-based (rather than perception or survey-based) data that is comparable across countries, we follow a rigorous double-blind peer-review process and apply various layers of quality control;
  • Implementation gap: we assess legal frameworks and their in-practice effectiveness based on current examples, as regards issues ranging from the rule of law to the safeguarding of minority rights; and
  • Actionability and entry points for reform: each indicator narrative can provide guidance to stakeholders on potential areas of reform and allows for nuances and country-specific context to be considered in the commentary.

Why do we need the Africa Integrity Indicators?

The Africa Integrity Indicators provide a good overview of many of the governance challenges domestic actors face across the continent and we hope that the assessment can serve as an entry point for advocacy, learning and further research. As we have written elsewhere, we believe impact can only be created (and sustained) when domestic stakeholders engage in and drive reform.

Our hope and ambition is to support this effort and to foster country dialogue that empowers changemakers to nudge and advance the reforms they find important, from larger governance questions to sector specific challenges, such as transparency in the health sector, for example.

A first glimpse at country findings

To illustrate what the data can tell us about country developments and to highlight some noticeable events, here are — hot off the press — a few select findings with regard to civic space and checks and balances.

Right to Information and Civic Space:

  • We saw advances in government transparency with access to information laws passed in Kenya and Tunisia. And there were efforts made to open civic space in Botswana and Cape Verde for LGBTI groups, for example.
  • Yet we also noticed worrisome trends in Kenya and Ethiopia, among other places, where civic space continues to shrink. And in Cameroon, during 2015, in response to a growing movement of protests organized by the anglophone community, the government has clamped down on civil society, resulting in diminished citizen capacity for mobilizing for change.

Checks and Balances:

  • In response to the 2014 Burkinabe demonstrations, the government took action in 2015 and introduced constitutionally-guaranteed independence for the Burkinabe judiciary.
  • We also witnessed setbacks, however: flawed and undemocratic electoral processes in Equatorial Guinea, Comoros, Benin and Djibouti, for example, negatively impacted the integrity of the civil service, and resulted in civil servants being careful not to voice dissent in fear of retaliation.
  • In January 2016, in the Republic of Congo, a newly adopted law in the midst of an electoral crisis established a new electoral commission which, unlike its predecessor, operates under the direct authority of the Ministry of Interior. This lack of autonomy from the executive branch has severely jeopardized its independence and credibility to conduct elections impartially.

These examples highlight the importance of both primary sources and field-based research in documenting the reality on the ground on the 30+ issues addressed by the Africa Integrity Indicators. With this year’s release, we want to again inform and support the work of reformers at the country-level as we were glad to observe happened over the past year.   

Further strengthening the assessment: We want to hear from you

To further improve upon the quality of the data and to make sure the data is as accurate as possible, we are making the data available on a provisional basis, offering a feedback window of two months time to all stakeholders interested in providing additional insights or comments. The definitive data will then be published by the end of June 2017. If you have general comments about how this data is useful to you – or about how it could be made more useful to you – please send your feedback using this form or contact us via the below email.

If you have country-specific comments or additional factual evidence to strengthen the accuracy of our reporting, please get in touch with us at, so we can discuss how to best provide both evidence and/or criteria-specific comments.

1Our research is divided into two sections: Transparency and Accountability, and Social Development. T&A examine rule of law, accountability, elections, public management integrity, civil service integrity, and access to information. Social Development covers gender, rights, welfare, rural sector, business environment, health, education and civil registration.

2For a more detailed overview of our methodology, please use this link.

3For a distillation of some of the previous year’s findings, please access this link.

4See for example, our blog posts on Africa Integrity Indicators: Data, use and impact,  Toward Governance Assessments 2.0, Measuring Governance: What’s the point?, and The Marketplace of Ideas: From “external assessments “ to country level learning.

5Global Integrity’s findings from the Africa Integrity Indicators are credited for identifying the lack of an Access to Information Law as a key issue to improve governance in Cameroon and were used by civil society to campaign for the promulgation of such a law during February 2016. See for example here, and here, and here.

Elsa Peraldi
Elsa Peraldi
Manager, Integrity & Anti-corruption

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