Prospects of Government Effectiveness For Economic Sustainability in Africa

Photo credit: International Crisis Group

Author: James Ndukwe |

Governance is a complex topic that affects politics, economy, and institutions. The indicators with the most significant economic implications include corruption (abuse of public office for private gain), government effectiveness (quality of public policies and services), regulatory quality (ability of the government to formulate and implement business-friendly policies and regulations), the rule of law (respect for contract enforcement, property rights, and law enforcement), and voice and accountability (the extent to which citizens participate in selecting their government as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free media), Marshall Mills et al., 2022. 

Assessing the prospects of Government Effectiveness captures perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and its degree of independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies (World Bank). Furthermore, Economic Sustainability is the approach whereby economic activities are conducted in such a way as to preserve and promote long-term economic well-being. In practice, it aims to create a balance among economic growth, resource efficiency, social equity, and financial stability. Government effectiveness is a source of concern because of its potential to strengthen economic sustainability, which is an important component in establishing a pathway to economic growth through effective policies.

The trends in government effectiveness poses a question of whether economic sustainability can be achieved in Africa.  This is why improving governance and combating corruption are essential components of Africa’s economic and developmental strategies. In 2018, the African Union picked “Winning the Fight against Corruption” as the topic for the year, emphasizing that winning the fight against corruption is dependent on the degree of strong government performance. Although, many prospective African presidents frequently prioritize excellent governance to lay the groundwork for long-term economic viability. However, the impact of globalization and regional integration has enable Africa to reaped the advantages of high productivity and economic growth, but there are some institutional inefficiencies that is limiting African countries to boost and manage economic sustainability at this critical time of global warming, which is Government Effectiveness. 

The ratings of the government effectiveness index provide comprehensive insights into a country’s performance. The scores range from -2.5 (poor) to 2.5 (strong). This presents an annual assessment of the countries (, 2020). As of 2022, only four African countries (Mauritius, Seychelles, Botswana, and Rwanda) out of 53 had non-negative scores on the government effectiveness index, indicating great government effectiveness in these countries. In contrast, 49 African countries have limited government effectiveness. However, a small number of countries have emerged as high-governance performers in Africa while also achieving relatively great economic sustainability. These performers include Mauritius, Seychelles, Botswana, and Rwanda. Furthermore, Seychelles, Botswana, and Rwanda share similarities, with all three countries experiencing reasonably excellent economic development.

In addition, achieving economic sustainability is strongly reliant on the government’s ability to harness and strengthen public policies and services. With a large majority of African countries receiving a poor score for government effectiveness, it is clear that the quality of public services and other indices constitutes fleeting dangers to Africa’s economic sustainability. At this point, the vital role of government effectiveness is a critical phenomenon that African countries must quickly leverage to build solid policies to increase economic sustainability and development for the future.

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