EDITORIAL: Tackle HURDLES to attain set development goals

Sunday October 20 2019


The 2019 Mo Ibrahim Index for African Governance Report is out – and with it are interesting findings covering a period of nine years to-date.

Published on October 15, the Report draws on data from the ‘Ibrahim Index of African Governance’ – and shares new insights on progress towards the African Union Agenda-2063 (AU-2063) and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs-2030).

Also, the Report points out where policy efforts should be focused to tackle governance challenges – and “highlights the urgency of addressing the ‘data gap’ in Africa to ensure that progress can be assessed and shortfalls effectively addressed.”

Mr Ibrahim wryly notes that there’s one ‘SDG’ which is missing from the UN, AU and other development programmes: ‘Sound Data for Governance!’

In Africa, he says, data availability and statistical capacity remain a challenge. The ability and capacity to monitor progress – and, therefore, to swiftly adapt resources and policies accordingly – are critical to effectively implementing Agenda-2063 and the 2030 SDGs. Indeed, without having effective measurement frameworks, assessing and monitoring progress towards the AU and UN Agendas is highly compromised, Mo says.

Data availability and statistical capacity in Africa remain a major challenge. Admittedly, governmental statistical capacities have on average slightly improved in recent years. However, there’re still challenges in data availability and trends – all of which are fundamental to the achievement of Development Agendas, the Mo Ibrahim report states.


Since adoption of Agenda-2063 and SDGs, assessments done by ‘Open Data Watch’ have shown that “coverage of publicly-available data for social, economic and financial statistics in Africa has on average declined. One of the most deteriorated data sub-categories in this assessment is the coverage of population and vital statistics,” the Report says.

Therefore, it adds: strengthening National Statistics Offices (NSOs) is key – stressing that “NSOs need robust strategies, funding – and, more importantly: independence and autonomy!”

Exploring sustainable development opportunities

Tanzania is one of the countries that were surveyed in the latest ‘Mo Ibrahim Index for African Governance Report’ – and, as summarized in The Citizen last Thursday, the country’s “overall governance performance has improved in the last nine years.”

But, Tanzania has also seen “a decrease in sustainable economic opportunities.” And, this is a matter of concern.

Generally, ‘sustainable development is the organising principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend.’ Put more simply: sustainable development is “economic progress without damage to ecosystems.”

Indeed, sustainable development focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In his African Governance Report this year, Mo Ibrahim welcomes continued efforts to improve governance, which he considers crucial to achieving sustainable socio-economic development all-round.

Indeed, the links between ‘general good governance’ and ‘sustainable socio-economic development’ must be strengthened, nurtured and fostered ever and forever-- basically because survival of Planet Earth and all that’s good on it depend on the linkages.