Democracy “retreat” slows development in Africa



An African foundation said on Wednesday that Africa’s progress in human and economic development has slowed against the backdrop of “widespread democratic backsliding” and deteriorating security in the past three years.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation said there had been a “marginal improvement” in good governance across Africa since 2012 but that the trend had been “flat” since 2019.

The elections have been cancelled

According to the Ibrahim Index of African Governance 2022, “improvements in human development and economic fundamentals are being undermined by an increasingly precarious security situation and widespread democratic backsliding.”

She added that the tendencies were reinforced by the struggle with external challenges such as the Covid pandemic and the climate crisis.

“Governments have been increasingly vulnerable to violating rights, curbing freedom of expression and association, and restricting civic space,” she said.

Also read: Half of the world’s democracies are in decline – report

She said the trend had “quickly accelerated” when elections were canceled in many places and governments used Covid as “an excuse to crack down on dissent”.

But the index said more than 90 percent of the continent now live in a country where human development – health, education, social protection and other measures – is higher than it was in 2012.

Good judgment

The top five performing countries in good governance were Mauritius, Seychelles, Tunisia, Cape Verde, and Botswana.

South Sudan came in last place after Somalia and Eritrea.

She also said that the Gambia, Seychelles and some other countries were “bending the continental trend,” and noted a broad improvement in many women.

Also read: Why Our Democracy Is Simply Not Democracy Enough

“In 42 African countries, women are experiencing greater equality in the political, social and economic spheres than in 2012,” the report states.

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