Afrobarometer report sees Mauritius score high on good governance
Afrobarometer, the 34-country survey which is becoming recognised as Africa’s most comprehensive indicator of public opinion, has seen a majority of Mauritians give the public sector a thumbs-up on the provision of basic utilities such as electricity, water supply, health and education. (Image: Afrobarometer report)
Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam ended 2013 by declaring it ‘a year of achievements’ for Mauritius. Bearing out his words, an Afrobarometer survey has seen a majority of Mauritians give the public sector a thumbs-up on the provision of basic utilities such as electricity, water supply, health and education.
According to Afrobarometer’s ‘What People Want From Government’ report, a whopping 95% of Mauritians feel that the government provides reliable electricity supply, while a majority of 62% agree that water supply is adequate for the needs of the population.
Afrobarometer, the 34-country survey which is becoming recognised as Africa’s most comprehensive indicator of public opinion, ranked the island economy at 85%, as second among countries which have improved basic health services. Further, as many as 90% of all Mauritians feel that their country provides adequately for educational needs.
Written by Joseph Asunka, a research associate of the Centre for Democratic Development in Ghana, the Afrobarometer report is based on surveys carried out in 34 African countries between 2011 and 2013. It may be noted that these 34-country results represent the views of approximately three-quarters (76%) of the continent’s population.
However, while Mauritius gets the public vote for good governance, most other African countries feel let down by their governments.
While as many as 69% of the countries surveyed for the report feel that their governments’ performance in tackling HIV and AIDS problems is efficient, when it comes to basic services – water, electricity, and sanitation – as well as education and health, a majority of the public feels that their governments do not show any improvement in these fields.
Only 38 percent say their governments do fairly or very well in guaranteeing a reliable supply of electricity, and only 41 percent in providing water and sanitation services.
Governments in Algeria, Botswana, Mauritius and South Africa get good marks for supplying water, sanitation and reliable electricity, while that in Nigeria rates poorly. So do the governments of Liberia, Uganda, Guinea and Zimbabwe for those countries’ lack of reliable power, and of Togo, Tunisia, Cameroon and Egypt for the paucity of water and sanitation.
However, while quality of services is suspect, ease of access to health and education services has been achieved by most governments in Africa. Moreover, the introduction of free access to primary education has enabled many Africans to obtain basic education.
In relation to basic health services, 57% of all Africans feel that their governments are improving basic health while as many as 59% say that the government is doing very well for the education sector.
However, it was a mixed scorecard for health, with 77% stating that there are long wait times, and 69% stated that public clinics and hospitals do not own sufficient medicines. And, what was worse, nearly one in five told interviewers they had to pay bribes to get service.
The people of Burundi, Mauritius, Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia give the highest ratings for health services, while those of Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan and Guinea the lowest.
On the education front too, quality of services was lamented by respondents, with a majority voting that classrooms are overcrowded and 57% stating that schools lack textbooks and supplies.
In education, the governments of Burundi, Mauritius, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia get the highest marks from their people, while those of Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan and Senegal get the lowest.
Low marks are given to the government by those countries that paid a high cost of education, faced poor teaching, and were confronted by a poor quality of facilities.
“Governments would therefore be well advised to concentrate on upgrading both access to and quality of primary education, health care and basic services; providing infrastructure alone will not meet the public’s needs, or win its praise,” concluded Joseph Asunka in the report.