Over the last decade, Liberia has made great strides toward ensuring that the appropriate systems of good governance are in place to deliver public goods, services, and results for all citizens—but there is still work to be done. To help understand and respond to changes within the country’s governance landscape, the EJS Center hosted ‘Mapping Progress in Liberia: The 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance,’ an event convening 20 of the country’s most influential and accomplished leaders and policymakers. They were joined by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for a day of discussions exploring and assessing Liberia’s past, present, and future governance trajectory.
The event’s proceedings and key takeaways are outlined in a recently published report from the EJS Center. The report explains how panelists analyzed data drawn from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG)¹—a tool that measures and assesses governance performance in African countries across four key categories (Security and Rule of Law; Participation, Rights, and Inclusion; Human Development; and Foundations for Economic Opportunity). When assessed together, these indicators determine a country’s ‘Overall Governance’ score, which rates performance in terms of the “delivery of public goods and services and public policy outcomes.”
With an Overall Governance score of 47.9 points out of a possible 100.0, Liberia ranks 27th among the 54 African countries assessed by the IIAG. While its score has fluctuated over the last decade, on average it has trended upward since 2010. Coming in 22nd place in the ‘Security & Rule of Law’ and 16th in the ‘Participation, Rights & Inclusion’ categories, Liberia’s performance places it in the upper half of the ranking table when it comes to these areas. However, its standing in the ‘Foundations for Economic Opportunity’ (41st place) and ‘Human Development’ (43rd place) categories indicate there is still room for improvement. The panelists agreed that while there is much to be celebrated in terms of Liberia’s successes, strengthening the IIAG sub-category areas of ‘Rule of Law and Justice,’ ‘Inclusion,’ and ‘Equality’ will prove critical to the country’s continued progress.
Consensus also arose among panelists that good governance hinges on accountability, collaboration, and the establishment of more inclusive, gender-sensitive policies and attitudes.
The report highlights some of the most significant points raised during the panel discussions and audience Q&A sessions held throughout the day, showcases statements shared by panelists during their respective sessions, and includes in-depth written contributions from some of the panelists.