Botswana, Africa’s longest standing democracy, is losing its glorified spot as one of the continent’s poster boys, with latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance indicating that its status is deteriorating.
Botswana which was ranked 2nd and 3rd in 2013 and 2016 respectively now ranks 5th in Africa with an overall score of 66.9. Cabo Verde, Seychelles and Tunisia have overtaken Botswana, with the report indicating that there are concerns about Botswana’s regress. Meanwhile, Mauritius has remained at the summit in ranking, with a reduced score despite the report indicating that they have generally been an improvement in governance standards in Africa over the past 10 years.
Other five countries that complete the top 10 are: Ghana, Senegal, Morocco and neighbouring countries South Africa and Namibia. The ranking is based on four key pillars; Security & Rule of law, Foundations for Economic Opportunity, Participation, Rights & Inclusion, and Human Development.
Based on regional outlook, governance in Southern Africa is alarming with decline experience, while Eastern Africa and Northern Africa improving. Western Africa is showing a slow improvement while Central Africa is declining. Botswana ranks find itself underperforming in the Foundation to Economic Opportunity category with a ranking of 13, while its best ranking is the category of Security & Rule of Law with 3rd ranking. Botswana ranks 6th and 5th in the categories of Participation, Rights & Inclusion, and Human Development respectively.
The report indicates that the continent’s path towards sound governance is uneven, with economic opportunity and human development improving at the expense of worrying declines in participation, rights, inclusion, rule of law and security.
“This is all the more concerning with COVID-19 set to worsen already existing challenges and reverse any positive gains and with Africa’s citizens already expressing increasing dissatisfaction with governance delivery in their countries,” noted the report.
The 2020 IIAG results show that governance in Africa has improved over the last decade (2010-2019), with more than 60 percent of Africa’s population in 2019 living in a country where governance has improved since 2010. However, according to the report, progress has slowed down over the last five years.
“Concerningly, the 2019 African average score for Overall Governance even registers a decline for the first time since 2010, while between 2010 and 2018 it had either improved or remained constant year on year,” the report stated.
While more than half of the countries have improved their governance within the last decade, the report raises concerns that the progress appears unbalanced. 20 countries improved in Human Development and Foundations for Economic Opportunity, which are the main drivers of Overall Governance progress. But at the same time their performance in Security & Rule of Law and Participation, Rights & Inclusion declined.
Only eight countries have managed to improve in all four governance categories over the decade. “This growing imbalance might threaten the sustainability of overall governance progress,” the report warned. The report observed that some high-ranking countries, such as Mauritius, Botswana or South Africa, though still currently ranking 1st, 5th and 6th, follow a concerning path of deterioration since 2015.
In contrast, some lower-ranking ones such as Gambia (16th), Côte d’Ivoire (18th) and Zimbabwe (33rd) feature among the five largest improvers over the decade. Somalia, ranking 54th, is the 7th most improved country over the last ten years.
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) — established in 2007 by Sudanese billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Mo Ibrahim, through his foundation — provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in African countries. Compiled by combining over 100 variables from more than 30 independent African and global institutions, the IIAG is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.