Published on Africa Can End Poverty

How have policies and institutions in low-income African countries fared?

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ImageLast Friday, the World Bank released its Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) of low-income countries.  While the assessments are mainly used to determine the allocation of concessional IDA resources to poor countries, they can also provide a useful picture of the evolution of policies and institutions in Africa, as a recent note by my colleagues Delfin Go and Vijdan Korman shows.  They find that:

  • Over the past eight years, African countries’ performance is about average compared with East Asia and South Asia.
  • Within Africa, Cape Verde, Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana have consistently had strong CPIA scores, while Zimbabwe, Comoros, Central African Republic and Eritrea seem to be stuck at the low end of the scale.
  • Over the past five years, the biggest improvements in CPIA scores were registered by Ghana, Rwanda, Zambia and Mozambique, while Eritrea, Chad and Zimbabwe experienced the largest deterioration.  Seven of Africa’s nine oil exporters (Angola and Nigeria were the exceptions) saw their CPIA scores decline.
  • For Africa as a whole, most of the improvement in policies and institutions was in the category called “economic management”—essentially macroeconomic and fiscal policies.  The average scores on the other dimensions—structural policies, equity and social inclusion, and public management—stagnated.  While some countries showed improvements along these other dimensions, an equal number of countries saw their scores go down.


Shanta Devarajan

Teaching Professor of the Practice Chair, International Development Concentration, Georgetown University

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