Rwanda’s response to the Index of African Governance 2008 report

On January 14th, 2009 a high level workshop on the Index of African Governance was convened in Kigali. The aim of this seminar was to provide a platform for an in depth discussion on the 2008 report of African Governance between governance stakeholders in Rwanda and experts of the index who came for the occasion from Harvard University.
Source: elaborated by GAC on the basis of findings of Transparency Rwanda, independent study on Corruption and Governance in Rwanda, 2008 (unpublished), sample size: 2400 respodents from 80 (out of 416) sectors of Rwanda
Source: elaborated by GAC on the basis of findings of Transparency Rwanda, independent study on Corruption and Governance in Rwanda, 2008 (unpublished), sample size: 2400 respodents from 80 (out of 416) sectors of Rwanda

On January 14th, 2009 a high level workshop on the Index of African Governance was convened in Kigali. The aim of this seminar was to provide a platform for an in depth discussion on the 2008 report of African Governance between governance stakeholders in Rwanda and experts of the index who came for the occasion from Harvard University.

For the first time on the continent, experts of the index directly discussed the results of index with African leaders in such a format.

The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Local Government in collaboration with the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council and was attended by Cabinet Ministers and other high ranking government officials, Development Partners, members of Civil Society, Private Sector, Media and Religious leaders participated in that conference. Some of the points reflected in this paper were raised by this workshop.

How does Rwanda perform in the Index over time and how does she score by category? 

As the following table shows, Rwanda made tremendous progress over time both in terms of overall scores and rank. And this progress refers to her overall score and to her overall rank amongst her peers.

From 2000 to 2006, Rwanda improved her overall score over 10 points (out of 100). In 2005 and 2006, her overall score has turned above 50 points (respectively 57.6 and 59.0) while in the two previous rankings her overall score was bellow 50. 

Her overall rank also improved over time. In two first ranks, Rwanda was ranked among the last 15 countries, while in the 2005 and 2006 years, she ranked among 20 top African states best governed.

When you look at Rwanda’s scores by category over time, you see three evident observations. In one category, Rwanda has scored very high over time (above 90 points) and that is in Safety and Security category.

In a another category, Rwanda has tremendously improved her score over time from less than 25 points in 2000 and 2002 to 66.5 and 69.5 respectively in 2005 and 2006, and that is in Participation and Human Rights category.

In 3 remaining categories, Rwanda scores are bellow 50 points over time.

How does Rwanda compare to her neighbors of the East African Community (EAC) and Sub Sahara Africa in the 2008 report of African Governance?

The following table sheds light on Rwanda’s performance in 2008 in all 5 categories of the Index, compared to her peers in EAC and in Sub Sahara Africa.

With 98.4% Rwanda leads the EAC and is among the top four on the whole continent in safety and security.  On participation and Human Rights Rwanda is number one in the EAC region but scores only 69.5% which make her behind on the continent scale.

However, on the 3 remaining categories Rwanda’s scores are low and she ranks twice second last and once last in the EAC.

Why Rwanda scores so low on these categories? Do these poor scores reflect poor performance on the ground? In other words, do the results of the index match up with locally-conducted studies of governance in Rwanda?

The next section attempts to respond to these questions.
Comparison between the Index results with the findings of locally-conducted studies The comparison between the index of African governance results and those of locally conducted studies shows that on some sub- sub- categories the index scores the same or near the same  with local sources data while on some others, not only the two do not only match up but also some times their difference is very big. And in almost all the cases, the index values are lower than local values.

The most affected categories are those where Rwanda has got poor scores in the index, namely Human Development; Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption.

The above mentioned workshop on Ibrahim Index of African Governance in Kigali has noted these data discrepancies and recommended the use of local sources in the index. 
Results of index found similar or close to local data are mainly values of SSC of the category of safety and security.

A study commissioned by the Regional Center on Small Arms (RECSA) has  shown 96% and 94% respectively of Civil Society (CSO) and the General Public (GP) declare high level of trust and satisfaction about security organs and their effectiveness in providing security to citizens.

The comparison also reveals that in the categories affected by data discrepancies, some SSC’s values match up with local sources. In the category of Sustainable Economic opportunity the following SSC are the same or close to local sources: GDP per capita (715.4), inflation (8.8), computer usage per 100,000 inhabitants (0.3), internet usage per 100,000 inhabitants (1.08 for the index against 1.00 for local source).

The category of Human Development shows the identicalness with local sources on the following SSC: poverty rate at 1$ per person per day (57); poverty rate at national poverty line (56.9); inequality- GINI index- (51); HIV Prevalence (3.0) and adult literacy rate, female (59.8 for the index against 60 for local sources). Where do we have data discrepancies and how significant are they?

Values’ difference doesn’t look big for 2 SSC namely, electricity installed and deficits as % of GDP. It must be noted however that data discrepancy for the GDP is overwhelmingly big (near 12%). 

The same situation is also observed with Human Development category as shown bellow.

Despite possible slight differences in the local versus index calculation of some SSC, major values’ differences are noted in the SSC of maternal mortality (-550 of difference), primary school completion (16.2%) and life expectancy (5.4 years).

The categories of Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development have suffered important underestimation of SSC’s data which in return impacted significantly on the value of the whole category. 

In our view, although there might be slight differences in how some of the indicators are calculated locally versus in the index, the data discrepancy (data source) can explain poor scores for Rwanda in some categories of the Index of African Governance.

It is quite evident that if the index used these updated local data, the score of Rwanda on this category could have significantly improved and her overall score as well. 

The category of Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption raised more debate during Kigali workshop. In our view, the origin of the controversy is of three sorts.

Firstly, the three parts of the index are so important to governance that they should be split into two at least (Rule of Law one hand and Corruption and Transparency on the other).

Secondly, corruption, which is an important indicator of governance, is underweighted in this category of the Index and therefore the scores are likely to miss data on the arm of corruption and thus misrepresent the reality.

Thirdly, the results of the index do not match up with findings of locally conducted studies. 

The fact that on this category Rwanda is ranked last in the EAC region and yet Rwanda is generally recognized the leading nation in the EAC and even beyond on anti-corruption issues constitutes a particular controversy.

The addition of all these factors concurs to the mismatch of the local reality and its representation in the index.   Following diagrams tell more about data discrepancies on this category.

Respondents clearly indicated that corruption phenomenon is regressing. And for them, this regression is a result of an anti-corruption culture growing in government organs and institutions of accountability as well government effectiveness in fighting corruption.

It is also worth to note that the same study revealed that corruption indices were only 0.07 and 0.06 respectively for public and private sector.

Governance Trends in Rwanda

Governance in Rwanda keeps improving and Rwanda’s governance stakeholders continue to be mobilized for good governance.

Security and safety indicator is likely to maintain its high level or even increase, especially with the impact of the newly adopted by the Parliament National Policy on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) as well as the NAP on SALW currently in the approval process by the Cabinet. 

The 2008 Parliamentary elections have conferred 52.5% of the seats to women, which makes Rwanda the only country in the World with more than 50% of members of Parliament.

This is likely to improve Rwanda’s score on the Participation and Human Rights category.

Rwanda’s standards on the categories of Human development and Sustainable Economic opportunity should increase as well given reforms and campaigns for girls education and improved health conditions, coupled with current pro- vibrant private sector reforms by the newly established Rwanda Development Board.   

The anticipated positive trend in the overall governance of Rwanda is also evident through various governance innovations, actions and institutional development.

The Imihigo, the Joint Governance Assessment, gender representation and the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council are only few indicative examples. 

Known also as Performance Contract, Imihigo has mobilized government, and in particular the local government authorities, towards rapid results in achieving good governance, poverty reduction and national development.

Combining elements of competitiveness and performance, Imihigo is catalyzing good governance at local level and intensifying rural transformation.

Together with her Development Partners, Rwanda developed a Joint Governance Assessment (JGA) in 2008. This assessment noted the progress made in advancing good governance in post genocide Rwanda.

The JGA report also provides a set of agreed indicators that will be used by Rwanda and her Development Partners to assess, monitor and report on governance in the country.

JGA is globally resourced and locally sensitive and is made of 15 indicators and 45 variables grouped into three areas, namely Ruling Justly, Government Effectiveness and Investment Climate and Corporate Governance.

Many institutions of accountability have been created to boost up good governance in the country. In particular, the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council has been recently established and mandated, among others, to assess and evaluate the progress of JGA indicators, and provide recommendations for actions and policy reform likely to raise governance standards in civic, political and corporate domains.


At the Kigali seminar, Rwanda governance stakeholders expressed their appreciation to the Index of African Governance. They appreciated the methodology of the experts of index, especially their willingness to bring it closer to the African stakeholders and to improve it basing on Africa’s feedback.

As far as Rwanda is concerned, data discrepancies identified in three out of five categories of the 2008 report of the index of African Governance have weakened its scores.

There is a need to use of locally generated and authentic sources in coming reports to have values of the index reflect as accurately as possible the reality on the ground.

In the same line, local opinion surveys on governance standards need to be given more importance in the index as they will stand for people’s appreciation of governance provided to them as a political and public good.  

Given its importance in and its challenge to governance in Africa, corruption weight need to be revisited and better represented in the related category.

Another option to address that issue would be to consider corruption (and transparency) as a separate category standing on its own, with a set of its SSC.


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