Ghana has lifted itself to its highest ranking ever on the table of African countries with good governance. The ranking, issued by the World Bank in its annual report on governance entitled, Good Governance 2007, reflected the quality of public and the civil services and their degree of independence from political pressures and noted that the high marks scored in that category stemmed from the credibility of the government and its commitment to good governance.
In the rating, Ghana and South Africa received the highest marks of any African nation from the World Bank. The aid agency's global report for 2006 showed mixed progress dating back to 1996 of Ghana's performance in the six governance dimensions. However, overall governance has improved and Ghana is proving superior to its peers in the rankings. The survey combines data from 33 publicly available sources to calculate worldwide governance indicators.
It said Ghana had improved its civil freedoms, government effectiveness and political stability and had made extraordinary progress on corruption over the past decade. Yet, the rule of law has declined and lags behind figures from 2000. The ability of the government to formulate and implement both sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development has also fallen. The survey moulds indicators such as political stability, democracy, business environment and corruption into an annual snapshot of how the world’s 6.6 billion people are governed.
Moreover, it "demonstrates that governance can be measured, that poor governance is not an exclusive challenge of the developing world, and that reforming countries can make significant improvements in governance and in curbing corruption in relatively short periods of even less than a decade," according to a 2006 World Bank press release. Among the six categories listed in the report, Ghana is making improvement in four. The categories of Voice and Accountability, Government Effectiveness, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption all received a higher rating than in 2005.
Regulatory Quality stayed the same, while Political Stability and Absence of Violence declined from its 2005 level. In the category of Voice & Accountability, Ghana ranks in the 60th percentile worldwide. The figure has risen over 20 per cent since 1996 and 10 per cent in the last two years alone. The areas within the category in which Ghana rated highest include human rights and press freedom.
Political Stability & Absence of Crime climbed steadily since 1996, with the exception of a sub 40 per cent score in 2000, and Government Effectiveness rose from 1996-2000 and then fell sharply until 2004. Since then, it has been increasing steadily and is likely to continue to do so. Though Rule of Law is lower than several of the other indicators at around the 50th percentile, it has declined slowly since seeing a dramatic increase between 1998 and 2000. Currently, the rating in this category is behind that of the year 2000.
Kenya, Algeria, Sierra Leone and Tanzania are examples of African countries making strides towards good governance, but "other African countries still face enormous government and development challenges", a summary of the report said. However, global efforts to cut corruption and improve government quality have made little progress in the last 10 years, despite bright spots in Africa and Eastern Europe.
The report shows several regions backsliding or stagnating since 2004 in the fight against graft. These include East and South Asia, Latin America and even the rich nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The World Bank says companies and individuals pay an estimated $1 trillion in bribes annually. Ghana has long been affected by bribery, but the increased figures in the Control of Corruption category suggest that the government is fighting to control such actions.