The main message of this second edition of the African Governance Report (AGR II) is that Africa has made modest progress in improving governance using the benchmarks of the first edition of the report (AGR I). Though marginal, this progress has had positive spin-offs for the continent: declining levels of violent conflicts and civil wars, consolidation of peace and security, economic growth averaging 5% in recent years, modest improvement in the living standards of the African people and fewer deaths from the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Africa also continues to post remarkable progress in economic governance and public financial management. African economies are better managed, with improvements in the tax system and revenue mobilization, improved budgetary management and a more conducive environment for private investment and private-sector growth.
These gains in governance across the political, social and economic spheres must be consolidated and built upon. Several challenges still need to be addressed, including strengthening the confidence of the people in the electoral process and improving the capacity of electoral commissions to conduct free, fair and transparent elections. Similarly, issues such as unequal access to electoral resources and electoral malpractices must be addressed. While respect for human rights and the rule of law is on the ascendance, there are incidences of rights violations that must be overcome. In addition, the free flow of information is needed in the public sphere to further increase.