Transformation Index BTI 2012: Regional Findings West and Central Africa -  - ebook

Transformation Index BTI 2012: Regional Findings West and Central Africa ebook

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Der politische und wirtschaftliche Entwicklungsstand eines Landes ist messbar: Im internationalen Vergleich lassen sich die Leistungen politischer Entscheidungsträger und die daraus resultierenden Transformationsprozesse gegenüberstellen. Den Entwicklungsstand in 128 Entwicklungs- und Transformationsländern dokumentiert die Bertelsmann Stiftung alle zwei Jahre in ihrem Transformationsindex: Anhand ausführlicher Ländergutachten beleuchtet der Index die Wirkung von Reformstrategien auf dem Weg zu rechtsstaatlicher Demokratie und sozialer Marktwirtschaft. Er gibt damit Akteuren in Politik, Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft und Wissenschaft wichtige Hinweise und Impulse für ihre Arbeit. Der Untersuchungszeitraum des "Transformationsindex BTI 2012. Politische Gestaltung im internationalen Vergleich" (ebenfalls als E-Book erhältlich) reicht vom Frühjahr 2009 bis zum Frühjahr 2011. Die sieben ergänzenden Materialbände "Regional Findings" beinhalten die ausführlichen englischsprachigen Regionalüberblicke und Langfassungen der Länderberichte zu den sieben untersuchten Regionen: Ostmittel- und Südosteuropa; Lateinamerika und Karibik; West- und Zentralafrika; Naher Osten und Nordafrika; Östliches und südliches Afrika; Postsowjetisches Eurasien; Asien und Ozeanien. The Bertelsmann Stiftung's Transformation Index is published every two years. The global ranking measures and compares transition processes worldwide on the basis of detailed country reports. Comparing systematically the status of democracy and market economy on an international basis, the BTI also provides comprehensive data on the quality of political management in 128 transition and developing countries from 2009 to 2011. In addition to the global ranking "Transformation Index BTI 2012. Political Management in International Comparison" (also available as ebook), the seven "Regional Findings"-editions provide the long version material from the BTI-database.

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Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in theDeutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic datais available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.
© 2012 E-Book-Ausgabe (EPUB)
© E-Book Edition 2012 Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh
Responsible: Matthias JägerProduction editor: Christiane RaffelCover illustration: Getty Images; kopfstand GbR, Bielefeld
ISBN : 978-3-86793-449-7
www.bertelsmann-stiftung.org/publications

www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/verlag

Table of Contents
Title Page
Copyright Page
BTI 2012 | Regional Findings - West and Central Africa
Political transformation
Economic transformation
Transformation management
Outlook
BTI 2012 | Benin Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Burkina Faso Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Cameroon Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Central African Republic Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Chad Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Congo, DR Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Congo, Rep. Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Côte d’Ivoire Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Ghana Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Guinea Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Liberia Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Mali Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Mauritania Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Niger Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Nigeria Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Senegal Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Sierra Leone Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Togo Country Report
Executive Summary
History and Characteristics of Transformation
Transformation Status
Transformation Management
Strategic Outlook
BTI 2012 | Regional Findings
West and Central Africa
By Matthias Basedau1
An overview of development and transformation in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (hereafter: CAR), Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (hereafter: COD), Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo (hereafter: COG), Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
This report presents the regional findings of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) 2012 for West and Central Africa. More on the BTI at http://www.bti-project.org.
West and Central Africa saw renewed political turbulence and change between February 2009 and January 2010, the review period of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) 2012. Though these changes were less dramatic than those observed in the previous review period, West and Central Africa remains the region undergoing the most significant developments with regard to political transformation.
The starkest changes took place in the wake of military coups in Guinea and Mauritania. Both countries launched transition processes, though these have yet to achieve sustainable democratization. Nigeria managed to prevent a further deterioration of its political situation, but fell short of realizing its market economy goals.
After a disputed election in December 2010, Côte d’Ivoire spiraled into civil war. Since resolved, the crisis – which saw UN and French intervention – effectively relegated Côte d’Ivoire to the bottom of the table in the area of transformation management.
Compared with the previous review period, economic performance in the region did not decline. The impact of the global financial crisis, if it had any at all, was limited to 2009. Indeed, most economies in the region recovered by 2010.
Overall, the state of transformation in the region remains virtually unchanged in many areas, as several BTI 2010 findings continue to ring true. On the whole, the level of transformation can be described as low. Political deficits in the region fall within the range of the global average and are significantly less grave than shortcomings in economic transformation. In general,West Africa fared better than Central Africa. Management performance was slightly under-average, though one needs to bear in mind that the level of difficulty is higher in West and Central Africa than anywhere else in the world.
Ghana remains the region’s clear frontrunner in all three areas – political transformation, economic transformation and management performance – while countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Chad or the Democratic Republic of Congo (hereafter: COD) regularly feature at the bottom of the table.

Political transformation

In early 2011, five regime types could be identified in West and Central Africa with regards to the development of constitutional democracy. As in the Transformation Index 2010, Ghana stands out as the only democracy in the region without any major deficits, (listed in the overview as a democracy in consolidation) that also enjoys a good record on political freedoms and participation rights.
The group of defective democracies comprises six countries in which democratic development is appreciably more limited. Benin and Mali top the list, followed by Niger, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Niger is an anomaly: Although its president was ousted in a military coup in February 2010, the country was able to maintain its status and even slightly improve it. This is because by the end of the review period it had already successfully implemented a redemocratization process.
The BTI 2012 ranks two of the region’s countries as highly defective democracies: Burkina Faso and Guinea. Burkina Faso has fallen under this classification for many years. President Blaise Compaoré, who has been in power since 1987, may have since instituted a multiparty system, but his leadership has never been called into question. Guinea is a newcomer here, moving up from the group of autocracies after a relatively free and fair presidential election closed the chapter on a military coup and turbulent transition period.
Togo, Nigeria, Mauritania and Cameroon make up the group of moderate autocracies. Nigeria’s marred 2007 elections have had lasting repercussions, without which the country undoubtedly would rank among defective democracies. Elections in April 2011 were far more credible than those in 2007, but cannot be taken into account since they did not fall within the review period.
Togo and Mauritania are regimes in transition which so far have failed to make it into the group of democracies. Togo did not build on the democratic progress achieved with earlier parliamentary elections. Its presidential election in March 2010 fell short of international democratic standards. In Mauritania too, elections held in July 2009 after the previous year’s military coup failed to meet democratic standards.
Table 1: State of political transformation
Once again the group of hard-line autocracies shrunk, though it still counts five countries. In COD and the Central African Republic (hereafter: CAR), deficits in stateness remain so severe that they must be classified as failing states. The Republic of Congo (hereafter: COG), Chad and Côte d’Ivoire on the other hand, are autocratic states. Deficits in stateness are also blatant in Chad and Côte d’Ivoire. Both states narrowly escape being classifed as failing states due to a barely adequate monopoly on the use of force and operational administrations in each.

Stateness

Many West African countries are far from embodying the ideal type of modern state as envisioned by Max Weber. Democratic deficits are often the result of stateness problems. Indeed, almost all of these nations grapple with deficits stemming from the state’s weak monopoly on the use of force and administrative reach.
Even in the absence of violent conflict, none of the countries in this region exercise full control over their territory. Independent of armed uprisings in Niger, Mali and Chad – the largest nations by land area in the Sahel – these countries have expansive, essentially ungoverned (state-free) regions. The government’s administrative reach often barely extends beyond the capital and larger cities. Post-conflict states such as Liberia and Sierra Leone remain dependent on foreign assistance for their state-building efforts.
The November 2010 presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire did not just dash hopes that the government would restore its full monopoly on the use of force. A dispute over which of the two leading candidates won pulled the country back into civil war. Senegal’s secessionist conflict continues to smolder in the Casamance. And whereas violence continues to wrack COD, CAR and Nigeria, it has diminished in COG. The Sahel region has also seen a respite, brought about by a consolidation of many of its states’ monopoly on the use of force. Rebels in Chad’s volatile east, who nearly captured the capital in 2006 and 2008, suffered a string of military setbacks at the hands of government troops. The government also secured a pledge from Sudan that it would stop backing Chadian rebels. The most recent Tuareg uprising in Mali and Niger ended in 2009.
But the Sahel is under increasing threat from militants of Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb. The group was behind killings and kidnappings in Niger, Mali and Mauritania. Religious fundamentalism is also a major problem in Nigeria, where security forces clashed with extremists in the north of the country. In addition, repeated outbreaks of violence between Christians and Muslims in central Nigeria cost hundreds if not thousands of lives.
This should not conceal the fact that secular structures remain largely unchallenged, even in those states with large Muslim populations. In this respect, the generally moderate and syncretic character of African Islam as well as the laical traditions of the mostly French colonial powers have proven beneficial.
Generally, citizenship rights are not a source of friction in most of the region’s states. Though discrimination is common, it results from shortcomings in the rule of law rather than a groups’ right of citizenship being called into question. Even in Côte d’Ivoire, ethnic tension has eased over the concept of “Ivoirité,” or Ivorian-ness, which no longer fuels discrimination against migrants from the north to the degree it did just a few years ago.

Political participation

With regard to political participation it is especially worth noting that democratic transitions in the wake of military coups in Guinea and Mauritania in 2008, and in Niger in 2010 culminated in elections. In this way, all of the examined countries in West and Central Africa have at least formally elected governments. But there were no peaceful transfers of power of the kind observed in Ghana and Sierra Leone during the review period of the BTI 2010. Still, in Niger the veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou won elections in February 2010 organized to end a yearlong military junta.
The quality of elections remains a key indicator in establishing the state of democracy. Aside from pervasive administrative irregularities, only elections in Benin, Mali and Niger were deemed mostly free and fair. A second group of seven countries is characterized by more serious deficiencies, but their elections still meet minimum standards for democratic polls. Considerable irregularities in voter registration put Ghana, a frontrunner in other categories, at the top of this group. Apart from Mauritius, Ghana is the only state in sub-Saharan Africa to repeat the success of a peaceful power transfer through elections. Senegal fared significantly worse in terms of political participation, as did, in particular, Burkina Faso, COD and Guinea. The Democratic Republic of Congo falls out of the group of democracies due to deficits in the rule of law and stateness. The transfer of power has not been completed in Guinea, where parliamentary elections have so far failed to follow the presidential poll.
Elections in the remaining states lack democratic credibility. Hopes of a free and fair election in Togo were dashed during the review period, as they were for Mauritania, where international pressure led to elections that were nevertheless won by the leader of the military coup. The quality of elections in CAR has also deteriorated compared to previous elections, including the last one in 2005. Preferential treatment for ruling-party candidates and administrative irregularities prompted an opposition boycott of the second round. Notorious cases of flawed elections can once again be found in Cameroon, Chad and COG.
Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire merit a special mention. Nigeria’s evaluation is still based on the – non-democratic – elections of 2007. The vote in spring 2011 took place outside the review period. But their improved character justifies the assumption that Nigeria in future will return to the group of (defective) democracies.
After repeated delays, Côte d’Ivoire’s elections in the fall of 2011 initially failed to pass the litmus test. The refusal of the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to acknowledge defeat led to a protracted crisis and escalation of violence. Gbagbo’s subsequent arrest and the swearing-in of his rival Alassane Ouattara at the end of the review period could herald the beginning of a return to normalcy in a country that was once a beacon of peace and prosperity in West Africa.
As a rule, there is a clear connection between the quality of the electoral regime and the realization of civil rights and liberties. Although basic democratic rights such as freedoms of assembly and speech are guaranteed on paper, the reality is frequently very different in practically all of the countries in the region. Deficits are particularly serious in Chad, COD and COG. However, the military coup in Niger served ironically to strengthen freedom of opinion: Unlike ousted leader Mamadou Tandja, the junta demonstrated respect for this fundamental right.

Rule of law

Aside from weak stateness, problems with the rule of law remain a key cause of democratic deficits in the region. This also applies to countries like Ghana as well as, more pronouncedly, Benin or Mali, which place lower in the ranking.
On the whole, the separation of powers in most of the region’s states is significantly limited. In the exclusively (semi-)presidential systems of government in the region, the executive branch tends to dominate the legislative branch. The informal mechanisms of clientelist power structures and dominant-party systems in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Chad only exacerbate unequal relationships between constitutional bodies.
Judiciaries in several countries still fail to provide checks and balances on government powers. Poor pay and education standards, susceptibility to political influence and corruption – even on the part of judges – all serve to limit the judiciary’s efficiency. Abuse of office remains a problem that plagues even countries like Ghana with relatively high rule of law scores.
In Côte d’Ivoire it was the Constitutional Court that rejected results announced by the independent electoral commission and declared incumbent Laurent Gbagbo the winner. Naturally the Court’s judges had been previously appointed by Gbagbo himself. In Niger, then-president Mamadou Tandja disbanded the Constitutional Court after it ruled he had acted illegally by extending his term in office. It was the military and not the courts that intervened to stop both Gbagbo and Tandja.

Stability of democratic institutions

Only nine out of the 18 states in the region have what can be labeled (more or less defective) democratic institutions. Aside from Ghana, Benin and Mali were found to have relatively stable democratic institutions. To a lesser degree so too do Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
The bid by Niger’s subsequently toppled president, Mamadou Tandja, to extend his presidency to a third term is proof that across the region, acceptance of democratic institutions is not a given. It is notable that lawmakers in Nigeria succeeded in staving off a constitutional crisis after the sudden death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, and the transfer of power to his vice president, Goodluck Jonathan, passed off without incident.
On the whole, it remains true that the support of democratic institutions seems to be greater than their actual ability to perform. Key actors in defective democracies generally accept these institutions as the central forum for political debate. Even in the region’s autocratic regimes, political actors are often prepared to use the (albeit) nominal democratic institutions for political activity. Only in Chad did opposition figures boycott the 2011 presidential election. Undoubtedly, incumbent Idriss Déby still would have won even if they had challenged him.

Political and social integration

The region’s interest groups and NGOs are poorly developed. Trade unions and NGOs in particular remain dependent on outside help and fulfill little more than a monitoring function. Party systems likewise fall short of fulfilling their functions. The parties themselves frequently lack a programmatic profile, are poorly organized and characterized by personalism and ethno-regional electoral bases.
But the high degree of fragmentation is not the main obstacle hindering the party systems’ ability to serve a democratic function. Long-held absolute majorities of ruling parties are often the hallmark of autocratic regimes – like those in Chad, Cameroon and, to a lesser extent, Nigeria – or of highly defective democracies, such as Burkina Faso. The democratic top-scorers, in particular Benin and Mali but also Liberia, all exhibit increased fragmentation. Still, this phenomenon should not be overvalued – the party systems in COD, Mauritania and CAR are also highly fragmented.
It remains unclear what shape the party system will take in Guinea, where elections have yet to be held. Sierra Leone and Ghana tend toward two-party systems, a development often cited by scientists as particularly expedient for democratic consolidation, since low fragmentation facilitates the formation of a government. Naturally low fragmentation does not automatically boost a country’s democratic prospects. Low fragmentation in a more bipolar constellation (three major parties contesting elections as two blocs) also characterizes Côte d’Ivoire, where a peaceful transition of power nevertheless proved unattainable because of this polarization.
Relatively up-to-date Afrobarometer data on public acceptance of democracy in the region is only available for seven states. According to the latest results of Afrobarometer surveys from 2008 and 2009, acceptance of democracy is generally high: Above all in Benin (more than 90%), Ghana (79%) and Mali (almost 75%). But large majorities also favor this form of government in Liberia (72%) and Nigeria (also 72%), as well as Senegal (70%). Acceptance of democracy is lowest in Burkina Faso (58%).

Economic transformation

The BTI 2010 findings for economic transformation remain valid for this review period: Contrary to the mixed results on the region’s political balance sheet, its economic situation is far more uniform – if also more negative. Once again, not a single country has come close to establishing a full-fledged market economy. Of all regions, West and Central Africa still have the lowest average scores with regard to economic development and social justice. Table 2 shows that not one country makes it into the top two categories of the index measuring transformation toward a market economic system with sociopolitical safeguards. Only three states, Ghana, Benin and Mali, appear in the middle category of market economies with functional flaws.
The lion’s share of the region’s countries – 14 in all – fall into the category of poorly functioning market economies. Benin and Mali managed to move out of this group into the middle category through rather nominal improvements, particularly with regard to combating inflation. Benin also made some headway, with improvements noted in its banking sector, in conditions for market competition and in the area of equal opportunities. In Mali it was above all the economic output indicators that improved. Nigeria, on the other hand, fell a category, dragged down primarily by lower scores for its anti-cartel policy and ability to protect private property. But macrostability data (growth, inflation) were also generally weaker. Problems in COD remain so serious that its implementation of a market economy can only be described as rudimentary.
Table 2: State of economic transformation
Once again, for the BTI 2012, on average, the region scores poorly in the following areas of economic transformation: socioeconomic development (1.9 points), welfare regimes (3.4) and sustainability (3.2). The region fared slightly better with regard to organization of the market (4.8 points) and protection of private property (4.9), but these scores are still below average compared to other regions. It is worth noting, however, that despite the deterioration in economic performance (i.e., growth and price stability) recorded by the BTI 2010 and fears of the global financial crisis exacerbating this trend, market economies in the region have recovered quite well from 2009’s economic downturn.

Level of socioeconomic development

The low level of development in West and Central Africa is emphatically supported by the Human Development Index (HDI) 2010. Of the countries in the region, COG scored highest in the HDI category of “medium human development,” ranked 126 out of 169. All of the others states are listed under “low human development” – though Ghana, Mauritania, Cameroon and Togo owe their placement here to adjustments in category threshold values. In earlier HDI editions, these countries only barely made it into the middle category. Chad, Niger and COD demonstrate a particularly low level of human development and rank worldwide among the ten countries at the very bottom of the HDI index.
Although comparative data on poverty is only available for some countries, it seems safe to say that social exclusion stemming from widespread poverty is a severe and structurally embedded problem. In 16 of 18 cases, the majority of the population has no more than $2 to live on a day. These figures are particularly drastic in Liberia (almost 95%), Nigeria, Chad, CAR and Burkina Faso (each more than 80%). Only Mauritania (44%) and Côte d’Ivoire (47%) were the numbers somewhat lower, though still at an alarmingly high level.

Organization of the market and competition

The low level of socioeconomic development goes hand-in-hand with the region’s weak market economies. Ghana and, to a lesser extent, Benin, were the only countries in the Transformation Index 2012 to achieve above-average scores in this area (i.e., values above 6.0, the average of all 128 countries examined in the Transformation Index). Competition policy is particularly deficient in CAR, Mauritania and COD and COG, the latter two bringing up the rear.
This assessment is confirmed by the ratings of the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. The 2011 Index listed just one country as “moderately free” (Burkina Faso, at place 85), which is only the third-best category. All of the other market economies were classified as mostly unfree or even repressed.

Currency and price stability

In previous editions of the Transformation Index, the high degree of price stability in many West and Central African countries was one of the bright spots in the area of economic transformation. Within the context of the currency union using the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro, two independent central banks (one for West and one for Central Africa) determine monetary and currency policies for each. The Central Bank of West African states (BCEAO) performs considerably better compared to its counterpart. Generally, low inflation rates make up for the lack of control that members of the monetary union (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the CAR, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) have over their national economies.
In the previous Transformation Index, average inflation rates had risen considerably, and this applied to members of the CFA franc as well. This trend continued in 2009, driven more by higher world market prices for commodities and agricultural products than the international financial crisis. Afterwards, most members of the currency union recorded moderate to low inflation rates. Inflation in non-member states remained significantly higher, and in Nigeria (more than 13%) or COD (more than 25%) it reached double digit figures.
Other macroeconomic indicators of stability such as budget balance and debt level remain problematic. Chad, COD and Côte d’Ivoire are still struggling to ensure macroeconomic stability.

Private property

The protection of private property in West and Central Africa is mired in difficulties. Deficits are particularly apparent in Chad, CAR, COD and COG. Somewhat better scores were achieved only by Ghana and Senegal and, to a lesser degree, Mali. Nigeria’s score on the protection of private property slipped considerably in the Transformation Index 2012. With ownership of all land vested in the state, individuals are merely granted the right of land use. This causes problems whenever natural resources are found or in cases of inheritance, often leading to protracted lawsuits with uncertain outcomes.
In principle, private property is well-defined and protected by law in West and Central Africa, but corruption and administrative failures hinder the effective protection of private property rights. Securing formal land titles can also be difficult because of discrepancies in traditional and modern legal systems. There is often confusion as to which legislation actually applies.
Donors’ privatization demands have boosted role of private enterprise, but the backbone of these countries’ national economies is frequently made up to a much greater extent by the large informal sector rather than the formal sector. There are not enough robust, mid-sized businesses, and the privatization of large state-owned companies has proceeded slowly – for example in Chad and Niger – in part due to a lack of investors. In many places, state-owned companies and multinational corporations dominate the commodities market. The role of private companies is particularly problematic in Central Africa, especially in COD, COG and CAR. Only in Ghana, Senegal and Sierre Leone is the situation for private enterprise improving. Ghana, for example, is today reaping the benefits of free-market reforms by the previous government that simplified private sector licensing and tax laws.

Welfare regime

Poverty is endemic in West and Central Africa, and national safety nets either do not exist or do so on a rudimentary level, as is the case in Ghana and Mali, which received relatively high scores for this indicator. Governments depend on external assistance to fight poverty, in particular on aid programs operated almost everywhere in the region by the IMF, the World Bank or other organizations. But they have had a limited effect on poverty reduction. Often informal or traditional clan- and family-based networks have to step in to mitigate poverty.
Equal opportunities are relatively well-established in Ghana, while the record in Chad, COG, COD and Sierre Leone is very poor. This applies above all to opportunities for women. While prompting by donors has led to quotas for women in public office, women’s access to education and political life remains limited. Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, remains Africa’s first and only elected female head of state. Senegal takes the best place in the UN’s Gender Equality Index (at 113). However, female genital mutilation is still widespread throughout the region.
In addition to gender, ethnicity is another factor responsible for the denial of equal opportunities. Some ethnic groups continue to face systematic discrimination. This applies, for instance, to the Mbenga in Cameroon. In countries such as COG or Chad, preferential treatment is awarded to individuals allied to the president’s own ethnic group. In Mauritania and Niger, some groups continue to be treated informally as slaves. In 2008, the West African Court of Justice convicted Niger for allowing slavery. In an August 2010 report, the UNHCR also pointed to continued cases of slavery in Mauritania. The Haratin, descendents of African slaves, are the group most frequently subject to discrimination.

Economic performance

The economic performance of the market economies in West and Central Africa was less affected by the international financial crisis than initially feared. Like price stability, economic performance also declined in 2009, particularly in Chad, Niger, Mauritania and Guinea. In Niger, Mauritania and Guinea this was of course partly the result of political turbulence.
But the region largely saw a recovery in 2010. While the Economic Intelligence United predicted average annual growth of 1.8 percent in the 18 countries in 2009, that figure was back up to 2.7 percent for 2010.
The EIU forecast particularly strong growth in 2010 in the two oil states COG (more than 10%) and Nigeria (7.9%), as well as Niger (7.5%). Robust growth rates were also projected for Liberia (6%), Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania (all 5% or more). Only Benin and CAR languished under virtually stagnant growth (each less than 1%).
These moderately positive numbers should not hide the fact that economic growth alone will by no means suffice to rectify the region’s structural problems. Given the problematic data on trade balance, public debt, tax revenues and unemployment, it is unlikely that these countries will make substantial progress in the fight against poverty anytime soon.

Sustainability

Despite the drastic toll that climate change is predicted to take on Africa, states in the region neglect environmental concerns. The driving factor here is evidently less urgent poverty issues than the ruthless exploitation of natural resources for maximum profit. Government policy is frequently designed to garner applause from Western donors, or is dictated by those donors. The country that does best in the region in the Environmental Performance Index 2010, Côte d’Ivoire, is ranked at place 102. All of the others come in lower, with Mauritania, CAR and Sierra Leone at the very bottom.
Education and research are still not receiving the necessary funding. Even in Ghana, once again at the top, there are numerous shortcomings. In one-third of the countries (Burkina Faso, CAR, Chad, COD, Guinea and COG), this area is so neglected that even primary school education suffers from major deficits. Although progress has been made by establishing new universities, like in Niger, the lack of resources is keeping standards low at institutions of higher education and research. Local scholars are dependent on Western development cooperation partners and given the chance, leave for Europe or the United States at the earliest opportunity.

Transformation management

The countries of West and Central Africa have mixed results for transformation management. None achieve top scores, and none can be classified in the highest category (i.e, successful management). Almost a third of the states are grouped in the category successful management with weaknesses. As in political and economic transformation, Ghana is the region’s frontrunner, followed by Mali and Liberia. Benin and Niger are also grouped within this top category.
With eight states, the largest group is seen as having moderate success in transformation management. Three countries are newcomers in this group. Guinea and Mauritania moved up two and one category respectively, a reflection of the relatively successful transition to elections after military coups in these countries – whereby Guinea managed the process significantly better than Mauritania. Senegal dropped down a category, a development that can be explained above all by President Abdoulaye Wade’s increasingly authoritarian rule. At the end of the review period, the capital Dakar witnessed large protests against his regime.
Three countries are classified as exhibiting weak management. The governments of Cameroon and COG appear to have little interest in pursuing reforms targeting the goals of democracy and a market economy. The Democratic Republic of Congo moved up into this category, though the gains are merely on account of improved relations with its neighbors.
Côte d’Ivoire and Chad showed lacking or failed attempts to move toward democracy and a market economy. The post-election power struggle in Côte d’Ivoire resulted in a significant drop in management performance. Chad managed to improve its score somewhat. But even after elections in spring 2011 – once again won by the incumbent – there is little hope of substantial improvements in the area of political (and economic) transformation management. President Idriss Déby has been successful in the fight against armed rebels and made overtures to the opposition with an offer of talks. But he has not signaled any intention of steering his country towards a democracy under the rule of law and a market economy with sociopolitical safeguards. Staying in power remains instead his strategic goal.
Table 3: Quality of transformation management
Once again, the findings demonstrate that in no other region in the Transformation Index is transformation management as difficult as it is in West and Central Africa. On average, the level of difficulty is 6.7 on a scale from one to 10, if the quantitative indicators are left out of the equation (otherwise the average is 7.3). Consensus-building efforts were less in evidence (an average of 5.1). Governance capability scored even lower (an average of 4.4). Only resource efficiency received worse marks (4.0).
As seen in previous editions of the Transformation Index, there is a correlation between transformation status and management performance. Improving their scores on political transformation, Guinea and Mauritania also displayed improvements in the area of management. Naturally neither country could achieve a management score higher than “moderately successful.”

Level of difficulty

A combination of structural deficiencies, weak civil societies and pronounced social conflict makes it extremely difficult to achieve political and economic transformation in West and Central Africa. Only Benin and Ghana have a medium level of difficulty, primarily a result of their governments’ transformation achievements since 1990. The remaining countries all have to deal with a high or – as in the case of Côte d’Ivoire and CAR – even severe level of difficulty.
By far the greatest obstacle to transformation in West and Central Africa are structural problems, including extreme poverty, a lack of education, infrastructural deficiencies, natural catastrophes and disease. In seven of the countries in the region, these problems are massive, and they remain grave in seven others. Even in top regional performers such as Ghana and Cameroon, structural deficiencies remain high. Countries in the Sahel (e.g., Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger) also suffer from their landlocked locations and desertification, which also lead to serious problems in the supply of foodstuffs.
The picture is brightened somewhat by the rich mineral wealth in some areas. Still, without consistent and competent management, a country’s natural resources can easily lead to further problems (the “resource curse”). It remains to be seen whether oil production in Ghana leads to the kind of negative effects it has had in Nigeria.
Violent conflicts are often associated with the presence of raw materials such as oil or diamonds. In Nigeria, the connection between natural resources, distributional conflicts and environmental pollution is evident, even if a peace initiative in 2009 helped ease tensions in the Niger Delta to some degree. It remains to be seen whether peace efforts in CAR meet success.
The combination of resource allocation conflicts with ethnic or religious tensions makes for a particularly explosive mix. Violence in Nigeria was seen above all between Christians and Muslims in central states. The crisis in Côte d’Ivoire was also a result of deep division along religious and ethnic lines between the predominantly Muslim north and the mostly Christian south.
Almost all of the ethnically – and often also religiously – diverse societies in the region could be subject to these kinds of ethnic conflicts. However, in order for it to escalate into violence, ethnic or religious diversity always has to be mobilized by elites embroiled in power struggles. During the period under review, eight out of the 18 states in the region were free of violent conflict; in at least four cases, there was a significant de-escalation of violence (Chad, Mali, Niger, COG).

Steering capability

As defined by the Transformation Index, successful steering capability not only demands that elites are able to effectively implement policies, exhibit a certain degree of flexibility and demonstrate the ability to learn and innovate; they must also strive for the goals of a market economy and democracy. Considering the three indicators of the criterion together, only Ghana stands out in positive terms. By and large, this country has continued to successfully implement both political and economic reforms.
The steering capability in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali is limited. This is true even in Liberia, where President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has demonstrated her commitment to the process of post-civil war reconstruction, despite many challenges and obstacles.
This group is followed by five states (Benin, Niger, Guinea, Senegal and Togo) that have severe problems in prioritization, implementation and capacity for political learning. Benin is among the countries which dropped down into this category, while Guinea moved up. Guinea’s transition to democracy was completed with the swearing-in of the presidential election winner, Alpha Condé, in December 2010. After the military coup, all signs had pointed to further turbulence, until the eccentric junta leader “Dadis” Camera was severely wounded by a body guard and replaced by the regime’s second-in-command. Of course it remains to be seen whether Guinea can build a lasting democracy.
The political elite in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mauritania and CAR display little steering capability. In COG, COD and Cameroon, steering capability is thwarted by an array of problems, though these countries still did better than Chad and Côte d’Ivoire. The latter are striving neither for democracy nor a market economy with sociopolitical safeguards. Political decision making is aimed solely at maintaining the grip on power.

Resource efficiency

As in previous editions of the Transformation Index, the countries of West and Central Africa receive their lowest transformation management scores in the category of resource efficiency. None of the governments in the region make optimal use of their resources. Only a scant few of the available resources are managed through programs that are well-conceived and sustainable.
Overall, the more democratic governments continue to use their resources more efficiently than do the autocratic ones. Ghana is once again the top scorer on this item. It is followed by a group including the highly defective democracies and Liberia, Mali, Benin, Senegal, Guinea and Niger, where there are some cases of moderate resource efficiency. In the autocratic states of Cameroon and COG, the efficient use of natural resources is very limited. Bloated cabinets made up of 60 and 35 members respectively are a clear indication of rampant political patronage in both countries. In Chad, CRC and Côte d’Ivoire, the reliance on favoritism to maintain power plays an even greater role in hindering development-oriented efficiency.
In most cases, the fight against corruption is progressing slowly. The elite in COD, COG and Côte d’Ivoire have virtually no need to fear prosecution. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, high-ranking military officers were not punished even after embezzling the salaries of their subordinates. The government of Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf continues to tackle corruption, also in cooperation with civil society organizations. Following a wave of scandals, she dismissed in November 2010 numerous ministers. Niger’s military junta exposed cases of corruption in the political class. Embezzlement charges against former President Mamadou Tandja were only dropped after an appeals court ruled it was not possible to try a head of state after he had left office.

Consensus-building

The countries in the region have the most wide-ranging scores in the criteria of consensus-building. While not a single country has succeeded in forging a lasting social consensus, Benin and Ghana, followed successively by Mali, Liberia and Senegal, performed best in this criteria. A wide midfield led by Sierra Leone and ending with Mauritania encompasses eight states, whereby significant deficits were found in five cases. They include Cameroon, COD, COG and Chad, as well as, with a considerably lower score, Côte d’Ivoire. Moves to create social consensus do not necessarily indicate that a state is striving for a market economy and democracy. While the governments of Benin and Ghana in particular were more or less successful in their pursuit of these goals, Chad and Côte d’Ivoire aspired neither to democracy nor a market economy equipped with sociopolitical safeguards.
In countries like Cameroon, Chad or COG therefore, it’s the rulers themselves who must be singled out as the principal anti-democratic veto actors. Apart from them, it’s above all the military that is a key veto player. While the army’s influence is slight or has dwindled in countries formerly infamous for military coups such as Benin or Nigeria, recent coups in Guinea, Mauritania and Niger show that security forces remain a political force to be reckoned with. There were furthermore attempted coups in Togo and Guinea, as well as army mutinies in Burkina Faso; the events in Guinea and Burkina Faso, however, took place after the conclusion of this editon’s review period.
Army generals do not necessarily always work against democracy. In Niger and Guinea, as well as to a lesser extent in Mauritania, coup leaders introduced transition processes that culminated in relatively competitive elections. The coup in Niger in February 2010 put an end to President Mamadou Tandja’s increasingly anti-democratic course and paved the way to a mostly incident-free transition phase. The process in Guinea was marked by more friction because of the original coup leader’s hesitance to make good on a pledge to initiate a transition. A failed attempt by conservative soldiers to assassinate President Alpha Condé in an attack on his home showed that the new democratically elected government could in no way rely on the security forces. In Mauritania, General Ould abdel Aziz won the elections he called after his coup.
There are big differences when it comes to conflict management. In countries like Benin, Liberia, Mali and Ghana, governments were able to contribute to the de-escalation of brewing conflicts. A temporary end to the Tuareg uprisings in Niger and Mali were brought about by military successes in the former, and negotiations in the latter. However the Algeria-based group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQMI) continues to pose a threat.
Violence in Chad decreased significantly as a result of the government’s military supremacy and a pledge by Sudan to stop supporting rebels. Nigeria’s amnesty for militants in the Niger Delta helped defuse tensions somewhat, but the government appeared powerless to quell unrest in central and northern Nigeria. In fact, attacks by Islamist extremists in the north increased in the summer of 2011. Political dialogue was launched in CAR in late 2008, but whether it succeeds remains questionable.
While conflict management in these cases cannot always be clearly measured, Côte d’Ivoire is an almost paradigmatic example of how a country can be thrown into turmoil by a ruthless power struggle between its elite. The deep division and deliberate escalation of tension between the largely Christian south and Muslim north ultimately led to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to recognize electoral defeat. On the whole, the Ivorian elite’s scores for consensus-building dropped significantly. In the context of building greater societal consensus, it was only the courageous commitment of civil society groups in preparing the election that provided evidence of a stronger inclusion of civil society. Sworn into office in May 2011, President Alassane Outtara faces the difficult challenge of promoting national reconciliation.

International cooperation

As in previous editions of the Transformation Index, international cooperation is the criterion for which West and Central Africa achieves its best scores. However, it must again be underlined that the region’s massive dependence on external assistance is still one of the main reasons for its relatively successful transformation management in terms of international cooperation. Two-thirds of the states in the region continue to attain above-average scores, with Ghana, Mali, Benin and Niger taking the lead.
All of the region’s governments depend on outside support and readily fall back on this source of aid. Nevertheless, democracy and a market economy are rarely the real objectives, and there is little external pressure for democratic reform. The French government is still intent on maintaining its zone of influence, and continues to support authoritarian regimes as in Chad. In Côte d’Ivoire, France joined UN military action aimed at forcing Laurent Gbagbo to hand over power after his stubborn refusal to accept defeat.
The United States has integrated the Sahel states of Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger into its Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCI). This move makes sense in light of the growing threat posed by AQMI in the Sahel, even if critics suspect it is motivated by strategic interests. The discovery of oil in the region means it increasingly functions as an oil supplier to the United States. The region’s raw materials also account for the People’s Republic of China’s increasing involvement across the region (e.g., in Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Niger and Nigeria).
A large majority of the states in the region have an international reputation for being reliable partners. The international community was virtually united in supporting Alassane Outtara, the man recognized by the United Nations as the winner of Côte d’Ivoire’s election. Now that Outtara has led a successful military campaign and taken office, the country’s will likely restore its international reputation. International cooperation was suspended in the wake of the military coup in Niger, but it was quickly reinstated after the launch of a transition process.
Even if regional integration in West and Central Africa has not made any noteworthy progress, a clear asset to transformation management can be found in the participation of several of the region’s states in international regional organizations, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Central African Economic and Monetary Union (CEMAC), the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) and the African Union (AU). Not otherwise renowned as a reliable international partner, COD made lasting improvements in its relations with former war adversaries Uganda and Rwanda, re-opening diplomatic missions there in 2009 and 2010.

Outlook

Once again, transformation toward democracy and a market economy in West and Central Africa made little progress. Though it seems to be improving slightly, the gain is slim. The score for political transformation increased by 0.34 points, while economic transformation was up a negligible 0.07 points and transformation management improved by 0.19 points.
Overall improvements in political transformation and transformation management are largely due to progress in Guinea and Mauritania, as well as to a lesser extent in Togo and Niger. These either moved up from a very low ranking (Togo and Guinea) and/or saw elections at least partially correct authoritarian setbacks resulting from military coups (Guinea, Mauritania and Niger).
Even top-scorers, such as Benin, Ghana and Mali, do not come close to the Transformation Index’s goals of a democracy under the rule of law and a market economy with sociopolitical safeguards. Deficits in stateness and the rule of law as well as social integration must be addressed to complete the process of political transformation. Political participation is the only area to show some encouraging signs of progress. With a still alarmingly low level of development and insufficient structures for free enterprise, the goal of successful economic transformation remains very distant. In many ways, countries such as Chad or COD appear to be doing the exact opposite of pursuing the goals of democracy and a market economy. Moreover, the countries which have met with relative success have laid foundations that must still be viewed as shaky. In view of the situation as a whole, hopes are repeatedly pinned on perceived “model countries” – and almost regularly disappointed. Though assuredly on a positive course, even Ghana must confirm and deepen its commitment to democratic goals, particularly since oil production has begun.
Positive signs and developments should not be understated: In view of the region’s drastic economic problems, accomplishments in the area of political transformation are quite remarkable. Following the transition processes in Guinea, Mauritania and Niger, all of the governments in the region have emerged from multiparty systems. Developments after the review period in Côte d’Ivoire and – rather more ambivalently – in Nigeria give reason for cautious optimism. In addition, the international financial crisis did not take the drastic toll initially feared.
The continuing socioeconomic problems and political volatility witnessed to date underline the need for further – and targeted – commitment. It is should not be up to the people of Africa alone to consolidate transformation achievements and tackle urgent economic problems. Western and other donors are called on to continue providing sustained support of political and economic transformation – with sensitivity and respect.
BTI 2012 | Benin Country Report
Key Indicators
Sources: The World Bank, World Development Indicators 2011 | UNDP, Human Development Report 2011. Footnotes: (1) Average annual growth rate. (2) Gender Inequality Index (GII). (3) Percentage of population living on less than $2 a day.

Executive Summary

Benin’s third democratically elected head of state, Thomas Boni Yayi, continued to rule throughout the period under review with respect for democratic rules and with a commitment to strengthening market-economic principles. However, there were signs of increasing disappointment in the Yayi administration. Many consider his hasty style of decision-making – lacking much in the way of consultation – as too authoritarian. Additionally, the government has been weakened by two major financial scandals in which ministers have been accused of involvement. The president dismissed two.
Several opposition parties have formed an alliance against President Yayi, promoting the former president of the National Assembly and senior minister Adrien Houngbédji as its presidential candidate for 2011. The new alliance has contributed to a greater coherence in the political opposition and, therefore, given a clear democratic alternative to the current government. However, due to the history of relations of its member parties the alliance must be considered fragile. It has been criticized for implicitly revoking the country’s political north-south divide.
After the end of the period under investigation – and thus not considered in this report – Yayi Boni won the presidential elections in mid-March 2011 in the first round, prompting accusations of electoral fraud.

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