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Africa Regional Programme for Improved Empowerment and Accountability in Africa

The proportion of people in Sub-Saharan Africa living in extreme poverty (on less than $1.25/day) remains stubbornly high – 58% in 1990, only falling to 52% in 2005 and 47% in 2008.  However, it is expected that this should fall to below 36% by 2015, based on economic growth averaging approximately 5% per year for the last 10 years and expectations of comparable continued growth to 2015. 

In sharp contrast, other data shows trends of underlying political governance deteriorating across Africa. According to Freedom House, taking population into account, the number of people living in credible electoral democracies has actually fallen by more than half during the last decade, and political and civil liberties have also slightly declined. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance reports that political participation declined dramatically towards the end of the last decade. The World Bank Institute World Governance Indicator set’s Voice and Accountability component also points to sluggish voice and accountability. Other analysts have noted persistent autocratic political governance and state-dominated governance processes in Africa with only superficial citizen participation. Citizen voice is most absent at the regional or continental level where national governments take key decisions through multilateral institutions (for example on the integration of economies), and make commitments to work together on common problems and to reach common standards.