Malawi has slipped to position 18 out of 54 African nations on the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF) Governance Index which assesses African countries’ performance on several governance and accountability indicators.
The development has come against the background of Malawi registering stagnation in terms of adhering to good governance principles, with the latest MIF report revealing a decline in the country’s scores during the last five years.
On the governance index, the report shows that overall, Malawi registered stagnation over the past decade.
While the Malawi Government says it cannot dwell much on the continent-wide governance study results, a political scientist has said the findings are not surprising.
During the five years, according to the 2017 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) report launched yesterday in Dakar, Senegal, Malawi showed “warning signs” in overall governance.
“Malawi registers an overall governance stagnation over the decade at an annual average trend of 0.00, but has declined in the last five years with an annual average trend of -0.23,” reads the report which combines 100 indicators from 36 independent African and global data institutions.
The country achieved its highest category score in participation and human rights (64.2), with the lowest category score being in sustainable economic opportunity at 45.9.
In the sub categories, Malawi achieved its highest score in national security (95.0), but performed poorly in accountability sub-category scoring 33.2.
The country registered its biggest score improvement in 2013 when it was ranked 16th out of 52 nations after it jumped with one step from position 17th in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Its worst performance was in 2009 when it was on position 23 out of 53.
Reacting to the report, political scientist Ernest Thindwa based at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba said the findings were not surprising because politically and economically the country has not been doing well.
But Rafiq Hajat, executive director of Institute of Policy Interaction (IPI), said the assessments need to be taken with a “pinch of salt” because they do not change the reality for people on the ground.
He said: “When lives of ordinary citizens improve then I will applaud; otherwise, these evaluations are used for academics and for politicians.”
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, who is the official government spokesperson, said as government, they were trying hard to follow best practices and owing to that, various institutions, including those under the United Nations, have commended them.
He said: “In our view, I think we are trying our best… Unless they [MIF] point out specific issues which we are ready to correct.”
Since the establishment of MIF in 2006 to provide tools to assess and support progress in leadership and governance, Mauritius has remained a top-ranking country in overall governance followed by Botswana.