Could a governance scorecard reduce corruption and improve governance in Africa? In Nigeria? Could it hold leaders accountable and improve government performance? Could it reduce corruption and ensure that citizens participate in important decisions that affect their lives? It’s a lot to ask of a scorecard, but Rwanda, which pioneered such a model, has seen an astonishing improvement in its economic, political and social development. This progress is due, in large part, to a number of “local initiatives” that track government performance, engage ordinary citizens in this monitoring, and hold leaders accountable for achieving measurable progress in their communities and countries. . The results from Rwanda indicate that holding leaders accountable with a measurable scorecard could do all of these things in Nigeria and Africa.
Since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda has achieved impressive development results, including rapid economic growth and poverty reduction. At 61.3%, Rwanda has the highest proportion of women in parliament of any country in the world. Innovative use of technology, such as drones, is being used to deliver medicine to remote areas. With a very high immunization rate, near-universal insurance coverage, and a focus on gender equity and female education, Rwanda has seen a rapid and significant drop in infant, child and child mortality. maternal.
Life expectancy for women in Rwanda is 71 years; in Nigeria it is 56. For men it is 67 in Rwanda and 54 in Nigeria. In Nigeria, the infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) is 74. In Rwanda, it is 26. In Nigeria, 1,222 women out of 100,000 die during pregnancy or childbirth. In Rwanda, this maternal mortality rate is 297. This is despite the fact that Nigeria is, by all measuressignificantly richer than Rwanda.
How did this happen when Rwanda was devastated in 1994; essentially, there was no one country, only death and destruction everywhere.
To effect rapid and impressive change like this requires at least four things: a shared vision of a better future, a plan to implement the vision, a way to track progress (or not) towards that vision , and the responsibility of the people in charge of implementing the vision. All of these elements are in place in Rwanda.
After the 1994 genocide, Rwanda developed what they call local solutions to address some of its enormous societal challenges. All of these local solutions engage citizens in the evaluation of public services such as education, health and leadership, and all are based on traditional practices. Simply put, they hold leaders accountable for the common good. Few people outside of Rwanda understand or appreciate the importance of these citizen efforts and the level of citizen participation in governance.
Three of the most important are called Ubudehe, Imihigo and the Rwanda Governance Scorecard. Ubudehe is a participatory process developed from a traditional concept of collective work in agriculture. Ubudehe took place when all social and ethnic groups prepared the fields together before the rains came and the sowing season arrived. It now refers to a participatory budgeting and planning process at the village level, in which citizens themselves allocate decentralized funds based on village priorities. Imihigo is a traditional ritual that took place when a group of people came together and publicly engaged in activities that tested their bravery. The community was tested as well as the individual. Imihigo is now used in Rwanda at all levels to represent a performance management contract. It is used to define and assess progress in all areas – education, health, governance, food security, business, etc. It is a powerful tool used to hold leaders accountable and transparent.
The Rwanda Governance Scorecard, produced by the Rwandan Governing Council was launched ten years ago to assess the state of governance in Rwanda. The scorecard assesses performance on eight key ‘pillars’: rule of law, political rights and civil liberties, participation and inclusiveness, safety and security, investment in human and social development , economic and corporate governance, the fight against corruption. In each pillar, data is collected from the most trusted international and national data sources, including IMIHIGO, as well as national citizen satisfaction data from the Citizen Report Card. The Citizen Report Card is a public audit tool where citizens provide feedback on service delivery in agriculture, livestock, infrastructure, land and private sector, education , Health, Hygiene and Sanitation, Social Welfare and Family Matters, Gender Based Violence, Local Administration, Justice, Governance and Human Rights and Security.
The Governance Dashboard uses data from the Citizen Report Card as well as many other indicators and data sources. This is a complex and statistically sound undertaking. The data is compared to national and sectoral targets and commitments, to determine where progress is – or is not – being made against these commitments. Scoreboard results are taken very seriously in Rwanda. Leaders are held accountable for achieving agreed goals. Many senior leaders have lost their positions for not advancing in their specific industry. This year, the safety and security pillar which emphasizes personal and property security, national security and reconciliation, social cohesion and unity, received the highest score of 95.5%, a certainly a very enviable score from a Nigerian point of view.
According to Emmanuel Nibishaka, deputy director general of the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) which coordinates all these efforts, the dashboard “has helped us to monitor, evaluate and improve our social, economic and political development. This has consistently triggered key policy actions and strategies that have helped us improve underperforming sectors. »
These local data-driven initiatives have helped foster a culture of accountability and transparency. Each community knows the common goals because they helped identify them, and through the dashboard, each community can see if their leaders are achieving measurable results.
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There are performance dashboards in Nigeria and Africa, but they are not institutionalized and leaders are not held accountable. They are mostly from civil society and non-governmental organizations. The most popular and referenced is the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation). Nigeria has consistently scored below 50% and ranks in the bottom 20% despite being Africa’s largest economy.
There have been four coups in West Africa in the past two years. A common thread is that governments are not performing well for ordinary citizens. Corruption, poor performance and citizen frustration are common denominators in all those countries where the military has taken over. Could regular self-assessment and holding leaders accountable for why they were elected help prevent coups and lead to development improvements, as has happened in Rwanda?
At AUN, I teach a course on development for all our incoming students. Last week, I compiled a table listing some basic development indicators for Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia and Rwanda. I asked them which country they thought had the best development results. The data was clear. The students’ response was Rwanda. Although incomes were lower, as the students pointed out, life expectancy was longer and maternal, infant and child mortality was lower. Their choice was reasonable.
It is certainly clear: holding leaders accountable is the only way for Nigeria and other countries to advance much-needed human development at this special time in history. Scoreboards, in addition to other fundamental reforms, seem to be a very useful tool for this purpose.
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