At the 32nd Summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa on 10-11 February, heads of state and government will discuss the continent’s pressing issues. The focus will be on addressing migration and displacement in Africa – from providing shelter and care for refugees to long-term measures to combat the underlying causes of forced migration. Behind the scenes, leaders are also likely to discuss the future political role of the regional organization which, despite the differing interests of its 55 member states, has recently shown itself to be surprisingly capable of action.
Since 2006, the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) has analyzed the political and economic conditions for transformation and the governance quality in developing and transitional countries worldwide. The newly published regional report on African transformation processes comes to an ambivalent conclusion: The region is divided between democratizing countries and authoritarian regimes and between economic success stories curbing corruption and crisis prone states vulnerable to conflict.
The situation is particularly complicated because the borders between these two worlds are fluid and sometimes inconsistent, as the example of Rwanda shows, which combines high and sustained economic growth with harsh political repression.
The landlocked state of Botswana and the island state of Mauritius are the undisputed success stories of Africa in the Transformation Index, which show that democratization and sustainable economic and social policy can succeed with prudent and strategic political planning.