Measuring political accountability in Africa using a multi-item index
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This paper examines political accountability in Africa since the fight against corruption began to gain traction in the continent during the 1990s. The standpoint adopted here is that well-functioning political accountability depends on three key factors: the prominence of civil society in governance; the existence of sanctions for the abuse of public office; and lastly, media impartiality. Given these indicators, a multi-item index measuring and ranking political accountability in 54 African countries was constructed using data from the 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. I found that on the index, Eritrea ranked lowest and Mauritius highest, while West Africa had more high scorers, Southern Africa had mixed results and Middle Africa and North Africa were worse off. Overall, from the index, political accountability in Africa is brittle. While this fragility is not tantamount to a lack of progress in the fight against corruption in the continent, the article recommends that regional and continental stakeholders should design and implement carefully tailored anti-graft programmes and that national governments should strengthen the administrative capabilities of anti-graft agencies to ensure greater accountability in the implementation of anti-graft projects.
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