Kazakhstan governance indicators improve but there is a lot of room for progress: World Bank
ALMATY. July 13. KAZINFORM. The report, Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006 launched by the World Bank Institute and the World Bank Development Economics Vice-presidency, shows that a number of countries in the world are making progress in improving governance and fighting corruption. This is encouraging given that good governance and corruption control are fundamental for long-term growth and reducing poverty. This year’s report represents a decade-long effort by the researchers to build and update the most comprehensive cross-country set of governance indicators currently available to the public. The selected six indicators cover 212 countries and territories, drawing on 33 different data sources to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors, Kazinform refers to the press service of the World Bank. According to the report, in the last four-five years Kazakhstan has been making some strides on the path to better governance but there is still a lot of room for further improvements. Thus, on the indicator "government effectiveness," Kazakhstan moved from below 20th percentile in 2002 to above 30th percentile in 2005-2006. On “regulatory quality”, it moved from 20th percentile in 2002 to almost 40th percentile in 2005-2006. On "control of corruption," it moved from 10th percentile to 20th. For "rule of law," progress is more moderate, but still positive. However, the positive trend noticed since 2002 in Kazakhstan on almost all the indicators has somewhat stagnated in the last year - there was virtually no progress between 2005 and 2006. Current reform initiatives in the area of governance in Kazakhstan have very good motivation, and the record of the several last years proves that the country’s efforts are paying off, but the seeming lack of progress in 2006 relative to past few years needs to be addressed. Kazakhstan could be performing better relative to other countries, and the momentum needs to be re-established. The report, authored by the World Bank’s Daniel Kaufmann, Aart Kraay and Massimo Mastruzzi, builds on research on the importance of governance and its impact on development over the past decade. Good governance matters for other human development outcomes such as infant mortality, illiteracy, and inequality, as well. Good governance has also been found to significantly enhance the effectiveness of development assistance in general, and of World Bank funded projects in particular. “The hopeful news is that a considerable number of countries, including in Africa, are showing that it is possible to make significant governance progress in a relatively short period of time. Such improvements in governance are critical for aid effectiveness and for sustained long-run growth.” says Daniel Kaufmann, co-author of the report and Director of Global Programs at the World Bank Institute. Bribery around the world is estimated at about US $1 trillion dollars, and the burden of corruption falls disproportionately on the bottom billion people living in extreme poverty” The report shows that: Emerging economies are matching rich countries on key dimensions of governance. Over a dozen developing countries such as Slovenia, Chile, Botswana, Estonia, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Costa Rica score higher on key dimensions of governance than industrialized countries such as Greece or Italy. Improving governance helps fight poverty and improves standards of living. 10 years of research show that improved standards of living are largely the result of improved governance, and not the other way around. When governance is improved by one standard deviation, infant mortality declines by two-thirds and incomes rise about three-fold in the long run. Such an improvement is within reach as it is just a fraction of the difference between the worst and best performers. For example, in the dimension of Rule of Law, one standard deviation is all that separates the extremely low rating of Somalia from Cote D’Ivoire, or Cote D’Ivoire from El Salvador, or El Salvador from Italy or Botswana, and Botswana from the United Kingdom. Where there is commitment to reform, improvements in governance can take place relatively quickly. While not the norm, a number of countries have made significant progress even in the very brief five-year period since 2002, as for example in Ukraine, Kenya, and Liberia in Voice and Accountability; and Angola and Algeria in Political Stability. Some African countries are making significant strides on the path to good governance. Over the period from 1998 to 2006, Kenya, Niger, Sierra Leone have shown marked recent improvements in Voice and Accountability, while Algeria and Liberia have strengthened their Rule of Law. Countries like Algeria, Angola Libya, Rwanda and Sierra Leone have made improvements in Political Stability and Tanzania has recorded gains on Control of Corruption. The report also shows however that other African countries still face enormous governance and development challenges. On average the quality of governance around the world has not improved much over the past decade, despite individual country improvements. For the countries that have done well, there have been a similar number that have experienced deteriorations in a number of governance dimensions, including Zimbabwe, Cote D’Ivoire, Belarus and Venezuela. And in many other countries no significant change in either direction is yet apparent.