Africa is still struggling in its fight against corruption, cites the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, which was released on Monday.
The index is done by global anti-corruption agency, Transparency International and ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.
It uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. More than two-thirds of countries scored below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43.
The index further “reveals that the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis in democracy around the world.”
Denmark and New Zealand top the index with 88 and 87 points, respectively.
Africa once again did not make any significant progress in ending corruption as only eight of 49 countries scored more than 43 out of 100 on the index.
Transparency International said that despite commitments from African leaders in declaring 2018 as the African Year of Anti-Corruption, this has not translated into concrete progress.
The least corrupt country in Africa is Seychelles which ranked 66 out of 100. It was followed by Botswana, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Namibia, and Mauritius.
At the very bottom of the index for the seventh year in a row, Somalia scored 10 points, followed by South Sudan (13) to round out the lowest scores in the region.
Sub-Saharan Africa, with an average score of only 32, is the lowest scoring region on the index, followed closely by Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with an average score of 35.
Despite Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall poor performance, the index was quick to point out a few countries that made notable progress in the fight against corruption.
Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, for the second year in a row, were among the significant improvers on the index. In the last six years, Côte d’Ivoire moved from 27 points in 2013 to 35 points in 2018, while Senegal moved from 36 points in 2012 to 45 points in 2018.
“These gains may be attributed to the positive consequences of legal, policy and institutional reforms undertaken in both countries as well as political will in the fight against corruption demonstrated by their respective leaders,”
Gambia scored 67, improving seven points since last year, while Seychelles improved six points, with a score of 66. Eritrea scored 24, gaining four points.
In Gambia and Eritrea, the anti-corruption agency said political commitment, combined with laws, institutions and implementation helped with controlling corruption.
The African Union, since 2017, has been leading anti-corruption campaigns to curtail corruption yet the problem persists.
Transparency International has blamed this on autocratic regimes, civil strife, weak institutions and unresponsive political systems. Countries like Seychelles and Botswana continue to score high on the CPI because they have relatively well-functioning democratic and governance systems, the anti-corruption agency noted.
Transparency International outlined issues governments in Sub-Saharan Africa must keep in mind when tackling corruption in their countries:
1.Demonstrate visible commitment to anti-corruption from political leaders, notably in Burundi, Congo and Mozambique.
2. Protect human rights defenders, political analysts, anti-corruption activists and investigative journalists and enable them to speak out on corruption issues.
3. Improve the health of democratic institutions. This includes supporting participation, transparency and trust, along with necessary checks and balances.