Published on Africa Can End Poverty

Country policy and institutional assessment: How well are African countries doing?

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ImageEvery year, the World Bank’s country teams and sector experts assess the quality of IDA countries’ policy and institutional framework across 16 dimensions to measure their strenght and track progess.  

The latest country policy and institutional assessment (CPIA) results show that despite difficult global economic conditions, the quality of policies and institutions in a majority of Sub-Saharan African countries remained stable or improved in 2011.

DOWNLOAD the indicators here:

For several countries the policy environment is the best in recent years. Of the 38 African countries with CPIA scores, 13 saw an improvement in the 2011 overall score by at least 0.1. Twenty countries saw no change, and five witnessed a decline of 0.1 or more. The overall CPIA score for the region was unchanged at 3.2.  

In short, despite a challenging global economic environment, African countries continued to pursue policies aligned with growth and poverty reduction. 

 This pattern was observed in the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008-09.  During the global crisis, the payoffs to market-oriented, pro-poor economic reforms fell, prompting a concern that countries may backtrack on important policy gains.  Yet policymakers continued with prudent policies, even in the face of contradictory policies elsewhere.

Overall CPIA score of African countries (Click on the graph to see it larger)
2011Source: CPIA Africa (2012)

Policies and institutions in African countries, excluding fragile states, compare well with those in similar countries in other regions, with the average scores being 3.5 and 3.6, respectively.  For these countries, there is close comparability even in the all important areas of governance.  The opposite is true for the region’s fragile states, which exhibit much weaker performance than non-African fragile countries across all policy and institutional categories of the CPIA.


CPIA cluster scores by country group, 2011

Note: CPIA scores are in a range of 1 to 6, with 6 being the highest.


This is the first year that the CPIA scores for 38 African countries are being presented in one easy-to-read document and on an interactive website--> Both seek to provide broader access to the analysis of the main findings and the data underpinning it.


Punam Chuhan-Pole

Lead Economist, Corporate IDA & IBRD Department (DFCII) at the World Bank

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