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.


Nearly 1,000 Central American migrants in new caravans enter Mexico

Updated 2 min 13 sec ago
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Nearly 1,000 Central American migrants in new caravans enter Mexico

TECUN UMAN, Guatemala: Almost 1,000 Central American migrants entered southern Mexico on Thursday in a test of the new government’s pledge to manage an ongoing exodus fueled by violence and poverty that has strained relations with the Trump administration.
Mexico’s National Migration Institute said 969 migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua crossed into Ciudad Hidalgo just days after new US-bound caravans of people set off from Central America.
Caravans from Central America have inflamed the debate over US immigration policy, with US President Donald Trump using the migrants to try to secure backing for his plan to build a border wall on the frontier with Mexico.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is pursuing a “humanitarian” approach to the problem, vowing to stem the flow of people by finding jobs for the migrants. In exchange, he wants Trump to help spur economic development in the region.
The US government has been partially shut down for more than three weeks as Democrats resist Trump’s demand that Congress provide $5.7 billion to fund his planned wall.
Mexican officials put wrist bands on the migrants as they entered the country to monitor the flow of people. The bands must be kept until the migrants register with authorities.
Once registered, migrants who met the requirements to stay would be issued humanitarian visas, allowing them to work in Mexico or continue to the US border, said Ana Laura Martinez de Lara, director general of migratory control and verification.
Those who entered Mexico at the official border crossing had done so in a “very orderly” and respectful manner, in contrast to clashes that took place at the frontier in October when a larger caravan began crossing from Guatemala, she said.
Some of the migrants expected to stay in Mexico to find work but it was too early to say how many, she said.
Martinez de Lara said approximately 700 people were still waiting to cross into Mexico from Tecun Uman on the Guatemalan side of the border. She could not say if any people had tried to cross into Mexico illegally.
Mexico’s government said Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard planned to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo soon for talks on their efforts to address the migration challenge. No date was yet set for the talks, a ministry spokeswoman said.