Wednesday, October 7, 2015


The latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) doesn’t make for pretty reading.

Seychelles has been nudged out of the top five of the yearly Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) which ranks the quality of governance in African countries, thanks in large part to dismal performances in key indicators including public sector corruption investigation, police services, political violence, freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, customs procedures and soundness of banks. At a time when the country’s press is under fire from the Chief Justice no less, Seychelles’ subpar performance should provide ample food for thought. To be sure, the fact that the trends show that Seychelles performance in the Participation & Human Rights subcategory over the past four years is significantly lower than the African average will doubtless give pause to the authorities and hopefully even help re-establish certain priorities.

The founder of the IIAG, Mo Ibrahim.
“Seychelles’ performance in Participation & Human Rights is noticeable for being both the lowest category score achieved by the country, but also showing the most decline over the past four years (-5.2). The sub-categories of Participation & Human Rights range from scoring 51.8 in Rights, ranking 24th, to scoring 70.8 in Participation, ranking 11th. Meanwhile in Gender, Seychelles scores 68.4, ranking 10th”, the report says. But the most worrying is yet to come: “Seychelles shows it lowest score in Participation & Human Rights since 2000 in 2014, in large part due to the recent deterioration over the past four years (-5.2). Both Rights (-6.0) and Gender (-9.8) contribute to this decline with some dramatic deteriorations in some indicators: Freedom of Expression (-15.2), Freedom of Association & Assembly (-25.0) and Gender Equality in the Workplace (-33.3).

 It’s not all doom and gloom – the country boasts modest improvements in the Sustainable Economic Opportunity (+1.6) and Human Development (+1.5) categories – but the fact that Seychelles has registered its worst performance in 15 years in the Participation & Human Rights category should be a source of great concern for civil society. Indeed, Seychelles seems to be moving in the opposite direction to the rest of the sub-Saharan Africa. This erosion of some of the most basic human rights in this day and age can only be harmful to the country’s image abroad (for example, these “dramatic deteriorations” were reported in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian). Last year, when Seychelles fell from the fourth to the fifth spot in the IIAG, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Paul Adam, attributed the drop to “data gaps”, arguing that the country was struggling to fulfill the data requirements of these indices. 

Now, that may be the case when it comes to highly specialized rankings such as the Global Innovation Index which recently saw Seychelles lose 14 places. But in the case of the IIAG it doesn’t appear that the paucity of data is to blame for the country’s bad performance. Indeed, it draws its information from 33 independent institutions including the African Development Bank, Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, World Bank and Reporters Without Borders. Moreover, contrarily to the global indices that have the unenviable task of ranking around 150 countries, the IIAG specializes on governance in Africa. That’s its stock in trade. Finally, when faced with insufficient data, indices usually mark them as not available rather than giving them shockingly bad scores. Obviously, it’s always easier to shoot the messenger than to engage in the sort of introspection required to improve the country’s performance.

But the former approach can only work for so long before being found out for what it really is.

Source:Today in Seychelles