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Decline in Africa’s Business Environment Index Worrying–Report

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Decline in Africa's Business Environment Index Worrying--Report

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A new report released on Monday by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has expressed serious concerns about the declining Business Environment index in Africa, which it said runs counter to the growing working age population of the continent.

The 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance noted that the African average score for Business Environment went down by almost -5.0 points over the last 10 years, emphasising that “this is a worrying trend given that the number of working age Africans (15-64 years old) is expected to grow by almost another 30 percent over the next 10 years.”

According to a statement made available to Business Post on Tuesday, “This will increase demand for jobs in an environment where on average progress in Sustainable Economic Opportunity is almost non-existent. Such demographic figures create a further striking contrast with the drop of -3.1 points in Satisfaction with Employment Creation since 2008.”

The report further said, “Additionally, the indicator measuring Promotion of Socio-economic Integration of Youth registers an average continental decline of -2.3 over the last decade.”

The 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance pointed out that public governance progress in Africa was lagging behind the needs and expectations of a growing population, composed mainly of young people.

For example, the report said over the last decade, Overall Governance has on average maintained a moderate upward trajectory, with three out of four of Africa’s citizens (71.6%) living in a country where governance has improved.

African governments have struggled to translate economic growth into improved Sustainable Economic Opportunity for their citizens

Since 2008 the African average score for Sustainable Economic Opportunity has increased by 0.1 point, or 0.2%, despite a continental increase in GDP of nearly 40% over the same period.

There has been virtually no progress in creating Sustainable Economic Opportunity, meaning it remains the IIAG’s worst performing and slowest improving category.

Defined as the extent to which governments enable their citizens to pursue economic goals and prosper, the almost stagnant Sustainable Economic Opportunity trend strikes a concerning contrast with demographic growth and youth expectations. Africa’s population has increased by 26.0% over the last ten years and 60% of the continent’s 1.25 billion people are now under the age of 25.

A diverging picture across Africa

African countries show increasing divergence in Overall Governance performance. Continental progress is mainly driven by 15 countries that have managed to accelerate their pace of improvement over the last five years.

Progress is most striking in Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and Kenya. Divergence is also reflected in Sustainable Economic Opportunity trends. While 27 of Africa’s countries have shown some improvement, in 25 countries, accounting for 43.2% of Africa’s citizens, Sustainable Economic Opportunity performance has declined over the last ten years.

There is no strong relationship between the size of a country’s economy and its performance in Sustainable Economic Opportunity. In 2017, four of the ten countries with the highest GDP on the continent score below the African average score for Sustainable Economic Opportunity and sit in the lower half of the rankings, namely: Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, and Sudan. Meanwhile two of the smallest economies on the continent, Seychelles and Cabo Verde, reach the 5th and 6th highest scores in providing Sustainable Economic Opportunity for their citizens.

Education outcomes are worsening

Further cause for concern is Education. While Human Development is one of the bigger success stories of the 2018 IIAG, driven by improvements in Health, the stalling progress in Education seen in last year’s IIAG has now turned to decline.

For 27 countries, Education scores registered deterioration in the last five years, meaning that for more than half (52.8%) of Africa’s youth population, education outcomes are worsening. This drop is driven by a fall in the indicators measuring whether Education is meeting the needs of the economy, education quality, and citizens’ expectations of education provision.

Civil society space is shrinking

Progress in Participation & Human Rights has been made on average. Almost four out of five of Africa’s citizens (79.6%) live in countries that have progressed in this dimension over the last decade. However, ‘free and fair’ executive elections do not always translate into a better participatory environment. Alarmingly, citizens’ political and civic space in Africa is shrinking, with worsening trends in indicators measuring Civil Society Participation, Civil Rights & Liberties, Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association & Assembly.

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A new report released on Monday by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has expressed serious concerns about the declining Business Environment index in Africa, which it said runs counter to the growing working age population of the continent.

The 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance noted that the African average score for Business Environment went down by almost -5.0 points over the last 10 years, emphasising that “this is a worrying trend given that the number of working age Africans (15-64 years old) is expected to grow by almost another 30 percent over the next 10 years.”

According to a statement made available to Business Post on Tuesday, “This will increase demand for jobs in an environment where on average progress in Sustainable Economic Opportunity is almost non-existent. Such demographic figures create a further striking contrast with the drop of -3.1 points in Satisfaction with Employment Creation since 2008.”

The report further said, “Additionally, the indicator measuring Promotion of Socio-economic Integration of Youth registers an average continental decline of -2.3 over the last decade.”

Business Post reports that the 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance pointed out that public governance progress in Africa is lagging behind the needs and expectations of a growing population, composed mainly of young people.

The report said over the last decade, Overall Governance has on average maintained a moderate upward trajectory, with three out of four of Africa’s citizens (71.6%) living in a country where governance has improved.

African governments have struggled to translate economic growth into improved Sustainable Economic Opportunity for their citizens

Since 2008 the African average score for Sustainable Economic Opportunity has increased by 0.1 point, or 0.2%, despite a continental increase in GDP of nearly 40% over the same period.

There has been virtually no progress in creating Sustainable Economic Opportunity, meaning it remains the IIAG’s worst performing and slowest improving category.

Defined as the extent to which governments enable their citizens to pursue economic goals and prosper, the almost stagnant Sustainable Economic Opportunity trend strikes a concerning contrast with demographic growth and youth expectations. Africa’s population has increased by 26.0% over the last ten years and 60% of the continent’s 1.25 billion people are now under the age of 25.

A diverging picture across Africa

African countries show increasing divergence in Overall Governance performance. Continental progress is mainly driven by 15 countries that have managed to accelerate their pace of improvement over the last five years.

Progress is most striking in Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and Kenya. Divergence is also reflected in Sustainable Economic Opportunity trends. While 27 of Africa’s countries have shown some improvement, in 25 countries, accounting for 43.2% of Africa’s citizens, Sustainable Economic Opportunity performance has declined over the last ten years.

There is no strong relationship between the size of a country’s economy and its performance in Sustainable Economic Opportunity. In 2017, four of the ten countries with the highest GDP on the continent score below the African average score for Sustainable Economic Opportunity and sit in the lower half of the rankings, namely: Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, and Sudan. Meanwhile two of the smallest economies on the continent, Seychelles and Cabo Verde, reach the 5th and 6th highest scores in providing Sustainable Economic Opportunity for their citizens.

Education outcomes are worsening

Further cause for concern is Education. While Human Development is one of the bigger success stories of the 2018 IIAG, driven by improvements in Health, the stalling progress in Education seen in last year’s IIAG has now turned to decline.

For 27 countries, Education scores registered deterioration in the last five years, meaning that for more than half (52.8%) of Africa’s youth population, education outcomes are worsening. This drop is driven by a fall in the indicators measuring whether Education is meeting the needs of the economy, education quality, and citizens’ expectations of education provision.

Civil society space is shrinking

Progress in Participation & Human Rights has been made on average. Almost four out of five of Africa’s citizens (79.6%) live in countries that have progressed in this dimension over the last decade. However, ‘free and fair’ executive elections do not always translate into a better participatory environment. Alarmingly, citizens’ political and civic space in Africa is shrinking, with worsening trends in indicators measuring Civil Society Participation, Civil Rights & Liberties, Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association & Assembly.

Welcome progress in Rule of Law and Transparency & Accountability, which are key to sound governance performance

Although Personal Safety and National Security continue to show average decline over the last decade, Rule of Law and Transparency & Accountability have begun to register welcome progress. Rule of Law is the most improved sub-category in the IIAG over the last five years. African average performance in Transparency & Accountability has also improved, though more needs to be done as it remains the worst performing sub-category.

The IIAG highlights that citizens’ rights and welfare are key to progress in public governance. Overall Governance scores are strongly correlated with citizen-centred measures, including property rights, civil rights & liberties, government accountability and social welfare policies.

The IIAG results also confirm that Rule of Law and Transparency & Accountability are key pillars of good governance. These two sub-categories show the strongest relationships with Overall Governance scores in Africa, with strong performance in these areas being the most common components of countries that perform well. Transparency & Accountability is also strongly related to the Sustainable Economic Opportunity category and Business Environment sub-category, indicating that improvements in these areas will support progress and economic opportunity in Africa.

Commenting on the report, Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Mr Mo Ibrahim, stated that, “We welcome progress in Overall Governance, but the lost opportunity of the past decade is deeply concerning. Africa has a huge challenge ahead. Its large and youthful potential workforce could transform the continent for the better, but this opportunity is close to being squandered.

“The evidence is clear – young citizens of Africa need hope, prospects and opportunities. Its leaders need to speed up job creation to sustain progress and stave off deterioration. The time to act is now.”

Although Personal Safety and National Security continue to show average decline over the last decade, Rule of Law and Transparency & Accountability have begun to register welcome progress. Rule of Law is the most improved sub-category in the IIAG over the last five years. African average performance in Transparency & Accountability has also improved, though more needs to be done as it remains the worst performing sub-category.

The IIAG highlights that citizens’ rights and welfare are key to progress in public governance. Overall Governance scores are strongly correlated with citizen-centred measures, including property rights, civil rights & liberties, government accountability and social welfare policies.

The IIAG results also confirm that Rule of Law and Transparency & Accountability are key pillars of good governance. These two sub-categories show the strongest relationships with Overall Governance scores in Africa, with strong performance in these areas being the most common components of countries that perform well. Transparency & Accountability is also strongly related to the Sustainable Economic Opportunity category and Business Environment sub-category, indicating that improvements in these areas will support progress and economic opportunity in Africa.

Commenting on the report, Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Mr Mo Ibrahim, stated that, “We welcome progress in Overall Governance, but the lost opportunity of the past decade is deeply concerning. Africa has a huge challenge ahead. Its large and youthful potential workforce could transform the continent for the better, but this opportunity is close to being squandered.

“The evidence is clear – young citizens of Africa need hope, prospects and opportunities. Its leaders need to speed up job creation to sustain progress and stave off deterioration. The time to act is now.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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General

Group Reports Lagos Government to Buhari

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Shangisha Magodo group

By Mohammed Kerimu

The Shangisha/Magodo Landlords Association of Nigeria has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over the refusal of the Lagos State Government to execute the ruling of the Supreme Court on the return of 549 plots of land to its original owners by the state.

In a document submitted to the Presidency and sighted by this reporter, the association expressed optimism that Mr Buhari would do justice to the matter he has demonstrated that a strong judiciary is a sine qua non for the operation and sustenance of democracy which he had vowed to defend.

The group further noted that since their story is similar to that of Mr President, who faced several denials in his electoral victories before God intervened in his fourth outing, he will finally lay their matter to rest since he was the Head of States about 37 years ago when they were forcefully evicted from their land.

It will be recalled that after its first judgement, the Supreme Court on March 1, 2016, again voiced out its displeasure with Lagos State Government and the state Chief Judge over their refusal to execute its earlier judgement; warning of the dangers it portends for the state to deliberately refuse to carry out its order concerning the Shangisha/Magodo land.

However, analysts are of the view that the refusal by the Lagos State Government to execute the judgement of the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the land, is sending wrong signals to foreign investors who needed assurance of a strong judicial system before committing their resources for investment in the country.

They warned that if nothing was done to compel the state to toe the line of law and order, the country may be up for doom as no serious investor will consider a country with a weak legal system in their investment decisions.

Following the refusal of Lagos State to execute the ruling of the Supreme Court on the return of Shangisha/Magodo land which it forcefully acquired from its owners without building any public interest institution on it, the question many are asking is when did Lagos State secede from Nigeria that the ruling of the country’s apex court could no longer be binding on it?

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We Cater for Over 17.5 Million Nigerian Orphans—SOS Children’s Villages

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SOS Children's Villages

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

Over 17.5 million orphans in Nigeria are being catered for under the watch of the SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria.

The independent, non-governmental, non-profit international development organization, in addition, runs family strengthening programs, where children and families in need benefit from vocational training, care, medical and food assistance.

The National Director of the SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria, Mr Eghosa Erhumwunse, recently disclosed this in Isolo, Lagos, while receiving food items donated by Crown Flour Mill (CFM) Limited, producers of the popular Mama Gold flour and semolina brands and Crown Pasta food products.

Thanking the firm for the humanitarian gesture, he said, “By making this food donation to bring relief to the children at the Villages, Crown Flour Mill Limited has demonstrated that it is a business that values the wellbeing of its host communities.

“We cater for over 17.5 million orphans in Nigeria. Our in-country strategic partners have been instrumental in ensuring the vulnerable segments are able to survive the various shocks of the ongoing global crises and local challenges.”

Some of the food items donated included Crown Premium Spaghetti bags of Mama Gold Semolina and Crown Supreme Semolina and a range of sanitary products and toiletries.

In addition to these, a cookout for over 480 students of Biyamusu Primary School, Ajingi, Kano was also organized by the firm along with the donation of food products and toiletries to the wards of Nasarawa Children’s Home an orphanage also in Kano state.

These contributions supported by the flour milling firm were in line with its series of activities lined up to commemorate the 2021 World Food Day (WFD) tagged: Our actions are our future – Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.

Speaking during the visit, the Managing Director of Crown Flour Mill Limited, Mr Ashish Pande, lamented the gap that exists between many children and their access to a healthy future.

He reiterated the firm’s determination in providing consumers, the underprivileged, and people affected by food shortage with access to affordable and nutritious food options.

On her part, the Corporate Affairs Manager at Olam Nigeria, Ms Damilola Adeniyi, said, “No one, most of all children, deserves to suffer hunger or lack access to good food.

“Therefore, we are taking actions that align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of achieving zero hunger in the world in our business operations, which lay emphasis on food safety, fortification, security, and Corporate Social Investments (CSI) such as this.”

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200 Retirees in Jigawa to Share N331.7m

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Invest Jigawa Roundtable

By Adedapo Adesanya

No fewer than 200 retirees in Jigawa State will share N331.7 million, the Executive Secretary of the Jigawa State and Local Government Contributory Pension Scheme, Mr Kamilu Aliyu, has disclosed.

Speaking on Wednesday in Dutse, Mr Aliyu stated that the beneficiaries were retired from the service in the state, local government and Local Education Authorities (LEAs).

He said that the payment comprises retirement benefits, death benefits, death pension balance and refund of eight per cent contribution.

Breaking down the figures, Mr Aliyu said that 83 of the beneficiaries were from state service, 72 from local government service and 45 from LEAs.

He said that a total of N331.698 million would be paid to 200 retirees in the disbursement exercise.

“Forty-seven beneficiaries from the state service will be paid N99.709 million as retirement benefit, and 52 retirees of the local governments will receive the sum of N72.653 million, while N26.753 million will be paid to 22 beneficiaries from LEAs.

“For the death benefits, 15 retirees from the state will be paid N38.721 million and 14 retirees from the local government will be paid N27.270 million while 18 others from LEAs will get N47.645 million,” he said.

Mr Aliyu said that under the death pension balance, nine beneficiaries from the state would be paid N9.2 million, six retirees from the local government will receive N1.613 million while five others from LEAs will get N6.9 million.

According to him, 12 beneficiaries will receive N1.25 million as a refund of the eight per cent contribution.

The executive scribe reiterated the commitment of the state government to ensure prompt payment of pension and other entitlements to improve the wellbeing of pensioners.

To achieve this, he said, the board had adopted proactive modalities to hasten payment processes of the retirees whenever their number reached about 200.

“We no longer have to wait until we have a large number of retirees.

“This will enable the retirees not wait for long or suffer before they start enjoying their benefits after disengagement from the service,” he stated.

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