Poor debt management and fiscal policies have seen Nigeria take a back seat in latest World Bank policy and institution assessment rankings.
In a report titled Assessing Africa’s Policies and Institutions released on Wednesday, Nigeria scored 3.2 points, out of 5.0 points.
While the scores are meant to guide countries on policy formulation and monitoring, World Bank’s chief economist Punam Chuhan-Pole said better scores boost a country’s concessional financing from the lender.
The ratings were done on a scale of one to six with the average score standing at 3.2 points. Overall, slightly more than half of the regions beneficiaries of World Bank funds posted a relatively weak performance of below 3.2..
Rwanda was rated the best country with 4.0 points, Senegal was rated the second best country with 3.8 points while Kenya tied with Tanzania and Cape Verde in position three. Uganda came in fourth with 3.6 points with Ethiopia scoring 3.4 points.
Fragile countries had difficulties to face the challenges posed by their environment regarding the high risks of conflict, commodity price shocks, or climate threat. This saw Sudan, South Sudan and Burundi scoring 2.4, 1.5 and 2.9 points respectively.
Currently, Nigeria’s combined domestic and foreign debt stands at $73.21 billion as at June, 2018., Compared to June 2016, the debt has increased by $16.48 billion.
The report also warned of rising public debt relative to gross domestic product (GDP) saying that it could disrupt economic growth and employment creation in African countries that are already experiencing a youth bulge.
Experts said that a regular appraisal on quality and resilience of policy and institutional frameworks in Africa is key to attract development aid and stimulate economic growth..
“The CPIA is important for African countries not only because a better score leads to an increase in concessional financing from the World Bank, but also because it is an excellent tool for policy formulation and monitoring,” said Albert Zeufack, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa.
“Our countries should pay more attention to this important tool and use it accordingly,” he added