ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
National Governance Little Better
Significant improvements in governance over the past decade occurred in countries as diverse as Indonesia, Tajikistan, Serbia, and Slovakia. And in Africa in particular, countries such as Niger, Sierra Leone, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, and Rwanda showed significant improvements in some dimensions of governance since 1998. Even over the relatively short period since 2002, there have been big improvements in some aspects of governance in countries such as Liberia, Angola, Argentina, and Georgia.
However, other countries have regressed and the picture, overall, is indifferent at best. WBI says research has shown the importance of good governance for aid effectiveness in general, and for the success or failure of World Bank projects in particular.
The full WGI volume, called “Governance Matters VI,” shows how the six aggregate indicators are constructed. They are based on 33 individual data sources and hundreds of variables, capturing the views on governance of tens of thousands household and firm survey respondents, as well as hundreds of nongovernment organizations and public sector experts, and commercial business information providers worldwide.
The indicators measure Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Major Violence and Terror, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption. It is clear where ASEAN states will figure poorly in this list of factors. Lack of accountability in Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, for example, has become a significant factor, while other countries offer only limited or ‘guided’ forms of democracy – as the figures for Singapore reveal.
The figures for control of corruption reveal that Singapore fares best in the region, followed by Malaysia and Brunei. The worst is, not surprisingly, Myanmar, with Cambodia also faring poorly.
The figures for regulatory quality offer a similar picture:
Despite the rapid improvements in the attractiveness of Vietnam, it still ranks quite low according to these indicators and it shows just how badly the Thai interim government has performed that investors would prefer to relocate to the east.
The full text of the press release and access to the data are available at: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:21402561~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html.