Mauritius emerged with top honours among non-extractive industry countries on an Afrobarometer survey on transparent and accountable governance.

Afrobarometer, which measures the social, political, and economic atmosphere in Africa, recently surveyed 34 African countries on the topic of oil and mining, of which 22 countries count mineral or oil production as critical to economic development.

The island economy also came third overall among both extractive and non-extractive countries with Botswana and Ghana leading the tables in the survey covering 34 African countries.

The island economy notched up a 1.04 score on transparent and accountable governance, while Botswana came first with a score of 1.15 and Ghana emerged at second place with a score of 1.07.The Afrobarometer Transparent and Accountable Governance Index (TAGI) scores ranged from 0.49 to 1.15 with a mean (or average) of 0.84 across all countries surveyed.

Further, Mauritius comes high in the list of countries which believe that officials who commit crimes are least likely to go unpunished, with only 27% agreeing that officials get away with crimes. Botwsana followed close on its heels with 28% and Namibia came next at 33%.

On the other hand, as many as 79% in Morocco, 69% in Egypt, 68% in Zimbabwe, 67% in Nigeria, 67% in Sudan and 60% in Senegal felt that officials who commit crimes often or always go unpunished, against an African average of 54%.

The primary outcome of this survey was to find out how African governments perform on managingoil and mining revenues while keeping up stable democracies.

In the survey, six out of ten people from African countries said that there was lack of transparency on how sizeable oil and mining revenues are spent by their governments.

A whopping 62 per cent of African countries with extractive industries say it is difficult to know how the government uses revenues from taxes and fees.

Guinea performed most unfavourably, with 77% participants stating they encountered difficulties in finding out how the government uses the revenues from people’s taxes and fees. On the contrary, Botswana obtained the most favourable score with only 43% of the respondents saying they were unawareof how the government spends such crucial revenues.

Also, among the countries which took the survey, 59 percent of the participants stated that their president never or rarely ignores the laws of the country.

Overall, the survey found that perceptions of corruption among tax officials in the extractive industry countries are higher than in the 12 non-extractive countries with as many as 37% of survey respondents in extractive resource economies saying most or all tax officials are corrupt.

This compares unfavourably to just 29% in the 12 countries whose economies are less dependent on oil and minerals (the 34 country average is 34%).

The report also outlines that there is an issue over freedom of speech in extractive countries where 64 per cent said they must always be careful when talking of politics.

Several key indicators of open democracies such as free and fair elections, and freedom to join political parties are given high rates in majority African countries. On the other hand, the media is considered successful in monitoring government mistakes or corruption by six people in ten.

The report concludes with the noticeable progress across the board in election reliability and some aspects of personal freedom.

“If African governments are committed to using the promising extractive industry wealth to secure substantial social and economic transformation of their societies in the coming years, the government impunity among public officials need to be reduced,” noted the report.

Image (RNW Africa): The island economy also came third overall among both extractive and non-extractive countries with Botswana and Ghana leading the tables in the survey covering 34 African countries.

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