Originally published by the Africa Integrity Indicators Team on the 4th of April 2018
The 2018 edition of the Africa Integrity Indicators data is available! We invite interested stakeholders to examine the data and share any feedback that can help increase the quality and usefulness of the data. Please get in touch with us by May 30th.
What is the Africa Integrity Indicators Project?
Every year since 2013, the Africa Integrity Indicators (AII) project assesses the state of governance and aspects of social development in all African countries. It produces qualitative data for 102 indicators across 13 categories from “Rule of law” and “Civil service integrity” to “Rights” and “Health and education.” The data can be found here.
How is our data unique?
The versatility of our data sets AII apart from other indices. It combines:
- Scale and granularity: the AII data presents the big picture across the African continent while zooming in on specific questions in specific countries;
- Timeliness and evolution: the AII data provides a snapshot of each country for any given year since 2013 while showcasing the trends in each country over time;
- Comparability and context-specificity: the AII data is comparable across countries and over time with clear scoring conditions that determine what is measured and how it is assessed. At the same time, researchers provide specific comments on context and evidence that highlight individual countries’ challenges and opportunities. Each of these comments is supported by multiple sources;
- De jure and de facto: the AII data examines both the legal frameworks in force and the implementation of these frameworks in practice, thereby measuring the implementation gap.
Another strength of the AII data is the robustness of the quality control. To ensure that our data is credible, we follow a rigorous double-blind peer-review process that involves country and subject-matter experts.
How can the data be used?
The AII data is a stand-alone index published by Global Integrity. Measuring the implementation gap and providing snapshots of evidence for each question together with a score and the sources used by researchers to make their assessment, we endeavor to provide an objective and trustworthy assessment that can help reformers identify entry points and ways forward as regards reform they deem important and worth pursuing.
A number of questions also feed into the Ibrahim Index of African Governance and into the Worldwide Governance indicators (WGI) by the World Bank. Through the WGI, the data also provides the Millennium Challenge Corporation with information that informs its decisions about country eligibility for MCC compacts.
Three main features of our dataset make it a practical entry point for research, advocacy and action:
- Accessibility: our methodology and sources are transparent and the data is open source;
- Ease of use: for each indicator, scores make it quick and easy to identify patterns across countries and across time;
- Actionability: for each indicator, qualitative, fact-based comments make it possible to understand the country-specific context and help to identify priorities for reforms.
How is our data relevant?
Like any organization that strives for impact, we believe that producing reliable data is only the first step toward enabling reformers to take action. It is our hope that the AII data will foster and inform discussions about governance reforms and social development across Africa, both at the regional and at country levels, within and outside government.
For several years, the dataset has served as a platform for dialogue with several governments that have reached out to us as part of their efforts to pursue institutional and policy reforms. In 2018, we look forward to resuming these discussions and starting new ones with both governments and civil society.
We also look forward to continuing the conversation on how governance data in general and the AII data in particular can be improved to be more useful to stakeholders and have a bigger impact.
To illustrate how the AII data can support discussions on governance and social development, we have selected a sample of preliminary findings for the period that covers September 2016 to September 2017.
Gender – bridging the gap
Both the legal and customary frameworks regarding women’s rights have remained largely unchanged, and mostly restrictive. In practice, however, the new AII data has captured renewed efforts by governments to improve the condition of women, especially in the labor market. For instance, in 2017 the government of Burkina Faso launched training and entrepreneurship programs for the benefits of female professionals while Chad conducted national awareness campaigns with the support of development partners.
In another positive development, the representation of women in national cabinets has significantly improved in 10 countries compared to the previous study period. The increase has been the largest in São Tomé and Principe and Somalia where, as of September 2017, one cabinet member in five was a woman, up by 10 percentage points.
Revolutions – the cases of Gambia and Tunisia
Political upheavals make headlines; but real change is often slow to materialize. The 2018 data takes stock of governance reforms in Gambia and Tunisia, respectively ten months and seven years after regime change.
Within one year of President Barrow taking office after the watershed election of December 2016, Gambia had achieved meaningful progress toward better governance. Change was, in practice, most remarkable in the independence of the judiciary, access to information, and freedom of association. The government also denounced as unconstitutional the restrictive sedition, criminal defamation, and false publication laws.
The situation in Tunisia has continued to improve across many governance dimensions. In practice, progress was most momentous in public management, where a culture of transparency permeated public procurement and natural resource exploitation. Tunisia, however, suffered consequential setbacks in other areas. One of the most worrisome concerns relate to existing and new NGOs, against which the government has started erecting administrative barriers. Despite permissive legislation, it has now become very difficult for NGOs to obtain the authorization to operate in the country.
Let’s start the conversation
Today’s release of provisional data marks the beginning of a 2-month feedback period during which we invite all interested parties to examine our data prior to final publication in June 2018. If you have comments on specific facts and narratives or if you have suggestions related to the accuracy of our research, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have general comments and suggestions about how you find the data useful, how you use it, and how it can be improved, please send your feedback using this form or the aforementioned email address. You can also connect with us on Twitter (@GlobalIntegrity).
The original article can be access on the Global Integrity website https://www.globalintegrity.org/2018/04/an-update-on-african-governance-the-africa-integrity-indicators-2018/