Sub-Saharan region experiencing rise in country policy scores – World Bank

World Bank’s latest review of government policies and institutions in Africa reveals eight countries in the sub-Saharan region are experiencing an overall increase in Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) scores.

Eight others, it said in a news release issued Thursday, saw a sharp decline in the overall CPIA ratings. According to the report, the Democratic Republic of Congo had the highest score from 2.7 to 2.9.

A broad-based deepening of policy reforms lifted Rwanda’s CPIA score, putting it alongside Cape Verde and Kenya at the top of the score range, the Bank announced.

Countries transitioning from conflict such as Côte d’Ivoire, recorded solid gains in their policy environment with the Central African Republic attracting a lower score.

And both South Sudan and Eritrea, recorded the lowest score because they were countries struggling with deep policy challenges.

The CPIA evaluates performances of poor countries using 16 development indicators in economic management; structural policies; policies for social inclusion and equity; and public sector management and institutions after which they are rated.

Each indicator rates countries on a scale of one, which represents low while six denotes a high score. The review in Africa reflected a 20 percent improvement on their policy environment, which supposedly boosted growth and cut poverty in 2013.

The overall CPIA score for fragile countries affected by deep governance challenges was 2.8, describing it as much lower than the non-fragile group score of 3.5.

‘Since 1980, CPIA ratings have been used to determine the allocation of zero-interest financing and grants for the 39 African countries that are eligible for support from the International Development Association (IDA),’ the Bank said.

Francisco Ferreira, Chief Economist representing the World Bank in the African Region mentioned that though there were a number of highly performing countries, the African IDA-eligible countries on average, lagged behind those in other regions in their policy and institutional ratings persistently.

‘There is still a lot of work to be done in Africa to meet the region’s needs for effective public services, and transparent and efficient government operations,’ he stressed.

‘The CPIA score for Africa’s IDA-eligible fragile countries continues to be lower than that of fragile countries in other regions. Conversely, the quality of policies and institutions for Africa’s non-fragile countries is now similar to that of non-fragile countries elsewhere,’ the Bank’s review report alluded.

Meanwhile, fragile countries, especially post-conflict countries, the Bank’s Lead Economist for the African Region, Punam Chuhan-Pole stated accounted for over half of the improvement in the overall CPIA scores in the region.

‘The relatively strong performance of CPIA scores for the economic management indicator across countries indicates that these reforms are taking hold in Sub-Saharan Africa. Weaknesses in public sector governance, which include property rights, rule-based governance, and the quality of budgetary and financial management, continue to drag behind all other areas assessed by the CPIA indicators, highlighting the embedded challenges facing Africa country governments as they strive to bring quality lives to all of their citizens.’

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