Africa governance gains hampered by security, job fears: study

Migrants watch as a man arranges their belongings in the back of a truck at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger, in this May 25, 2015 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 29 October 2018
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Africa governance gains hampered by security, job fears: study

  • Many African citizens are unhappy with the job creation performance of African governments

LONDON: Security fears and a lack of jobs in African nations have hampered gains in governance across the diverse continent over the last decade, a study said Monday, warning that some promising nations had “lost momentum.”
The annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which is watched closely by the continent’s governments, also pointed to a deteriorating business climate and poor job creation.
The report ranks countries according to their development in an array of categories between 2008 and 2017.
As a whole, it showed Africa’s progress being led by a handful of nations that pulled up the average, “while in many others momentum continues to falter.”
The progress is best where there is peace, government transparency and respect for the rule of law.
It showed the biggest strides being made in Kenya, which moved up eight spots from 19th to 11th place; Morocco, from 25th to 15th; and especially Ivory Coast, which jumped from 41st to 22nd among 54 ranked countries.
The world’s largest cocoa producer, Ivory Coast has emerged from a period of civil and political unrest in 2010-11 in which 3,000 people died to recorded annual economic growth rates of nearly 10 percent.
Morocco has been recognized as north Africa’s most competitive economy by the World Economic Forum, while Kenya is continuing to recover from the chaos that followed a disputed 2007 presidential poll.
The top-five countries, ranked by their cumulative points across all indexes, were Mauritius (79.5 points), Seychelles (73.2), Ivory Coast, (71.1) Namibia (68.6) and Botswana (68.5).
Somalia (13.6), which has been wracked by clan warfare for most of the past 30 years, ranked last.
It was followed by strife-torn South Sudan (19.3) and Libya (28.3), which with the 2011 fall of the monolithic regime of Muammar Qaddafi experienced the biggest decline (-15.6).
“A majority of the improved countries over the decade have lost momentum,” the report said.
The actually governance score for the continent only went up from 48.9 points on a 100 point scale in 2008, to 49.9 points last year.

Among all nations, the biggest decline came in personal safety (-6.1). National security, a separate category, lost 4.4 points.
Health levels rose by 7.6 points but education lost ground since 2012 after initial improvements.
This was especially concerning, said the report, because Africa’s population was expected to rise by 27.9 percent over the next decade.
The business environment as a whole deteriorated in the past decade, losing 4.9 points. Satisfaction with governments’ ability to create jobs fell by 3.1 points.
“Many African citizens are unhappy with the job creation performance of African governments,” it said.
The ranking is issued by a London foundation established in 2006 by Mo Ibrahim, a businessman from Sudan who sold his mobile phone company Celtel in 2006.
With a mission to promote good governance in Africa, it also periodically awards a $5 million (4.4 million euro) prize to an African head of state who has left office and demonstrated good governance.


Boat sinking ‘signals new offensive’ by China, says Filipino judge

Updated 2 min 22 sec ago
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Boat sinking ‘signals new offensive’ by China, says Filipino judge

  • Carpio warned that the incident “may signal the start of a new ‘gray zone’ offensive by China to drive away Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippines Sea
MANILA: A leading Philippines judge has described the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel as a “quantum escalation” of Beijing’s aggression in the South China Sea.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio late on Friday said it was highly likely a Chinese maritime militia vessel had rammed the Filipino fishing boat F/B Gimver 1 on June 9 in Recto Bank.
Carpio warned that the incident “may signal the start of a new ‘gray zone’ offensive by China to drive away Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea) in the same way that the Chinese are driving away Vietnamese fishing vessels in the Paracel Islands.”
“The Filipino people must send a strong signal to China that any new ‘grey zone’ offensive of ramming Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippines Sea will mean a break of diplomatic ties with China,” he said.
The Philippines must take a strong stand against China’s latest aggressive act and demand compensation for the owner of the fishing vessel as well as punishment for the captain and crew of the Chinese vessel, he said.

Carpio said that Chinese maritime militia vessels were built with reinforced steel hulls
purposely for ramming fishing boats of other coastal states.
“No other coastal state has fishing vessels designed for ramming other fishing vessels. Captains of ordinary Chinese fishing vessels do not engage in ramming for fear of damaging their own vessels,” he said.
The captain and crew of the Filipino boat have claimed that a Chinese fishing vessel rammed their boat. Reports also quoted the rescued crew as saying that their boat had its lights on when it was struck.
“It was around midnight. We were anchored and were showing a lot of white (bright) lights to signal our position when a ship suddenly appeared out of nowhere and hit us. I was trying to start our engine when we were hit in the stern,” Junel Insigne, the boat’s captain, said.
“After the ramming, they returned and turned their lights on us to make sure that our boat was submerged before they left.”
Carpio said that the ramming of the Filipino boat was a violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“China’s maritime militia vessels have been ramming Vietnamese vessels in the Paracels for several years now. However, this is the first time a Chinese maritime militia vessel has rammed a Filipino fishing boat,” he said.
The Chinese embassy in Manila on Friday admitted that a Chinese fishing vessel had been involved in the incident. In a statement posted on its official Twitter account, the embassy identified the vessel as Yuemaobinyu 42212 from Guangdong Province.
However, it claimed the boat was “berthed” in the area when it was “besieged” by seven or eight Filipino fishing boats.
The Chinese captain “tried to rescue the Filipino fishermen, but was afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats,” it said.
The embassy added that the Chinese vessel sailed away from the scene only after confirming that “the fishermen from the Filipino boat were rescued and on board other Filipino fishing boats.”
“There was no such thing as a hit-and-run,” it said.