The Role of Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa’s Development
While the challenges facing Africa can be attributed to various factors, often, the issues come down to governance and leadership challenges. Some of the leadership and governance issues in Africa stem from lack of ideology, weak institutional patterns, frequent leadership changes, and constant policy reversals, irrespective of how good they were. These challenges have plagued Africa for years, and unless there is a shift in mindset, Africa is bound to continue facing the same problems.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF) argues that inadequacies in education, healthcare, employment opportunities, and wealth distribution will continue to devastate Africa unless issues of governance and leadership are addressed.
MIF was established in 2006 and has since focused on the impact of leadership on the political, social, and economic status of the citizens. MIF used four key indicators to determine how good or bad the leadership is in any given country in Africa.
Key Indicators of Good Leadership and Governance
Safety & Rule of Law
Rule of law is one of the aspects that leadership influences either positively or negatively. Unfortunately, because of poor leadership, many citizens in Africa do not trust they will ever get justice, should they go against a prominent individual in the court of law.
This perception has forced many Africans to see justice as a foregone conclusion even before any case is presented before a judge, if it gets that far. Sometimes, the issue is sorted at the police station, and because of unfair practices, some people opt not to pursue justice because it is a waste of time and money.
Under this indicator, MIF analyzes national security, personal safety, transparency & accountability, and the rule of law.
Participation and Human Rights
This indicator analyzes human rights abuses and the freedoms available to the citizens. MIF looks at privileges and abuses towards either gender, rights that are curtailed and the impact on society, and as well as citizen participation in politics and other important organs of society.
Sustainable economic opportunity
Unfortunately, this is a challenge in most, if not all, African countries. Unfortunately, the youth account for at least 60% of unemployed populations in Africa, with North Africa having as high as 25% youth unemployment. The youth in South Africa, Botswana, DRC, South Africa and Senegal represent one of the highest unemployment figures in Africa. The situation is even more devastating considering Africa has the highest population of young people in the world, with about 200 million between 15 and 24 years. This is one of the vital indicators of governance that indicates a big problem, and if not addressed, will keep casting a shadow on Africa’s economy.
This indicator covers three main areas of daily human existence. They are welfare, health, and education. Some countries are doing well in education, with some of those with highest education levels including South Africa, Mauritius, Algeria, Egypt, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, and Cape Verde.
Some countries like Egypt and Namibia even feature in the top 100 best education systems in the world. However, with about 1/5th of children between the ages of 6 and 11 out of school in sub-Sahara Africa, more needs to be done to bridge the education opportunity gap.
Health care is a challenge in all African countries and is a primary reason for the low life expectancy rates in Africa. Access to health care is not just due to inadequate facilities and a shortage of doctors. Poverty also plays a role because health services are unaffordable for many Africans. This is one of the vital indicators of good or poor governance.
MIF periodically releases reports on Universal Health Coverage, the status in Africa, and ways to ensure citizens have easy access to health insurance.
How the MIF governance indicators influence change in Africa
Since its inception, MIF has helped African countries to put governance and leadership central to Africa’s development agendas.
MIF provides governments with quantifiable tools that will help governments monitor performance and identify areas that are holding the country back.
The governance landscape keeps changing, and countries in Africa must accept and modify expectations based on the changing trends.
MIF also appreciates the importance of continuity, even when there is a change in government. It is counterproductive for every incoming leadership to let go of the policies of previous administrations, especially if they were good policies that were working.
The MIF educates governments on the importance of sustainability and ways to build on current policies, instead of doing away with them. MIF periodically releases data on governance trends, with the next update expected in October 2020.
The world has become more global, and it is paramount for African countries to look at the impact of the governance style locally, regionally, and internationally. MIF analyzes data collected locally and internationally to serve as a guide to governments in Africa expand the scope of governance to suit the current trends.
For example, if health care or climate change is the current concern, governments must introduce policies which will align with current demands and expectations. MIF also looks at resolutions made and the agenda of major bodies that have an influence of governance in Africa. For instance, the October 2020 governance report will give guidance on the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and AU’s Agenda 2063, whose focus is Sustainable Development.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Flagship Research Products
MIF has categorized its governance index reports into three: –
- Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG)
This dataset accompanies an index report highlighting the major country, regional and continental data. It is released every two years and gives governance experts analytical tools and resources to identify governance gaps.
- African Governance Report
This report is released annually, and the IIAG focuses on specific aspects of governance. For example, the country’s development agenda, progress being made, and challenges that may keep these goals from being reached.
- The Ibrahim Forum Report
This report is published during the annual Ibrahim Governance Weekend (IGW). The most recent data and analysis on specific topics that are of importance to governance, such as Africa’s youth, agriculture, urbanization, and African migrations.
The IGW is a three-day event convened in a different country in Africa every year. It seeks the presence of political leaders, business leaders, the civil society, multilateral and regional institutions, and Africa’s major international partners.
Besides discussing leadership traits and challenges, this event honors the new Laureate, if an award was given that year. At the end of the event, a public concert is held to showcase some of Africa’s finest performers that may not have the right platform to show some of the continent’s hidden treasures.
Other than its work on these reports, MIF also collaborates with other organizations and institutions in the production of joint reports that are published in research publication briefs. av
These reports help to analyze Africa’s progress in meeting some of the development agendas. The frameworks of the various goals are often intertwined. However, MIF gives a clear distinction of periodic progress of the various commitments undertaken, whether it has to do with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African Union’s Agenda 2063 or the United Nations Agenda 2030.
These reports help to shape policy that can be adopted by incoming leadership because a change in leadership is not reason enough to delay meeting the set targets.