Political and Economic Governance in Africa

This chapter looks at the most recent data on governance in Africa, with the intent of assessing the effectiveness of public institutions in supporting Africa’s development outcomes. It examines policy demands across the continent, current challenges in meeting these demands and examples of good initiatives paving the way forward.

The principal questions of interest are as follows: What do we know about citizens’ demands for economic and political governance in Africa? How are public institutions currently performing in terms of meeting those demands? What are examples of policy initiatives leading the way in achieving results in Africa?

Key findings are presented first, and details about how these findings were arrived at are provided in subsequent sections.

The most recent data available on governance in Africa shows growing demands for better economic opportunities and more accountability with respect to public policies. Priorities for businesses include better access to electricity, financing and competition policies.

Regarding the policy-making processes, key challenges remain in most countries.

  • Commitment to accountability within key policy-making institutions is still below citizens’ expectations. The same is true of performance of public administrations.
  • Opinion surveys show limited trust in key political institutions and lead policy agencies, in particular regarding their commitment to guaranteeing a transparent policy arena.

Recent policy initiatives show good examples of achieving results in public service delivery.

  • African countries are taking the reform of their business environments seriously.
  • Regulatory reforms and digital innovations are enhancing the effective use of public resources while improving the provision of services.
  • A few new initiatives are currently aiming to address business development priorities.

Looking forward, stronger accountability and oversight processes will be crucial to identifying and solving cross-cutting challenges. Good oversight can also help reduce institutional fragmentation and duplication of effort across governments.