African Countries Not Winning the War Against Corruption

Adedoyin Shittu
20% Complete
 04-Feb-2019

On January 29, 2019, Transparency International (“TI”) published its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (“CPI”) for 2018, a survey which ranks perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories according to experts and business people on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Corruption index is used to score a country on how corrupt the government are.

This year CPI paints a gloomy picture of a net decline of perception of corruption around the world and also decline in democracy. “More than two-thirds of countries scored below 50 on the 2018 index, and the average was 43”, said TI.

This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) paints a worrying picture for Africa, despite commitments from African leaders at the African Union (AU) declaring 2018 as the African Year of Anti-Corruption with the continent theme for the year 2018: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.  Yet this did not translate into a concrete progress noticeable by the TI and attempt to combat corruption is moving at a snail pace in the continent.

“Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, who chairs the global civil society group.

African Countries ranked from Top to Bottom World Ranking out of 180 countries Score/100% Comparison of report to 2017 CPI report
Seychelles 28 66 Significant improvement in CPI score from 60 to 66 and also improvement in TI ranking from 36th to 28th
Botswana 34 61 No improvement in CPI score and ranking
Cabo Verde 45 57 Improvement in CPI score from 55 to 57  and also move up the TI ranking from 48th to 45th
Rwanda 48 56 Improvement in CPI score from 55 to 56 but no improvement in ranking
Namibia 52 53 Improvement in CPI score from 51 to 53 and improvement in ranking
Mauritius 56 51 Improvement in CPI score from 50 to 51 but a drop in the TI ranking from 54th to 56th
Sao Tome and Principe 64 46 No improvement in CPI score and  no  change in the TI ranking
Senegal 67 45 No improvement in CPI score and  drop in ranking from 66th to 67th
Morocco 73 43 Significant improvement in CPI score from 40 to 43 and improvement in ranking
South Africa 73 43 NO improvement in CPI score and decline in TI ranking from 71th to 73th
Tunisia 73 43 Improvement in CPI score from 42 to 42 and improvement in ranking
Burkina Faso 78 41 Decline in CPI score from 42 to 41 and drop in TI ranking from 74th to 78th
Ghana 78 41 Improvement in CPI score from 40 to 41 and improvement in TI ranking from 81th to 78th
Lesotho 78 41 Decline in CPI score from 42 to 41 and drop in TI ranking from 74th to 78th
Benin 85 40 Improvement in CPI score from 39 to 40 and no change in TI ranking
Swaziland 89 38 Decline in CPI score from 39 to 38 and drop in TI ranking from 85th to 89th
Gambia 93 37 Significant improvement in CPI score from 30 to 37 and also move up in TI ranking from 130th to 93th
Tanzania 95 36 No improvement in CPI score but moves up theTI ranking from 103th to 95th
Algeria 105 35 Improvement in CPI from 33 to 35 and also move up in transparency ranking from 112th to 105th
Cote d’Ivoire 105 35 Decline in CPI score from 36 to 35 and drop in TI ranking from 103th to 105th
Egypt 105 35 Significant increase in CPI score from 32 to 35 and also move up the TI ranking from 117th to 105th
Zambia 105 35 Decline in CPI score from 37 to 35 and drop in TI ranking from 96th to 105th
Ethiopia 114 34 Decline in CPI score from 35 to 34 and drop in TI ranking from 107th to 114th
Niger 114 34 Improvement in CPI score from 33 to 34 but also a drop in TI ranking from 112th to 114th
Liberia 120 32 Improvement in CPI score from 31 to 32 and also move up the TI ranking from 122th to 120th
Malawi 120 32 Improvement in CPI score from 31 to 32 and also move up the TI ranking from 122th to 120th
Mali 120 32 Improvement in CPI score from 31 to 32 and also move up the TI ranking from 122th to 120th
Gabon 124 31 Decline in CPI score from 32 to 31 and also drop in the TI ranking from 117th to 124th
Togo 129 30 Decline in CPI score from 32 to 30 and also drop in the TI ranking from 117th to 129th
Sierra Leone 129 30 No change in CPI score but moves up the TI ranking from 130th to 129th
Guinea 138 28 Improvement in CPI score from 27 to 28 and also move up the TI ranking from 148th to 138th
Comoros 144 27 No change in CPI score  but moves up the TI ranking from 148th to 144th
Kenya 144 27 Decline in CPI score from 28 to 27 and also drop in the TI ranking from 143th to 144th
Mauritania 144 27 Decline in CPI score from 28 to 27 and also drop in the TI ranking from 143th to 144th
Nigeria 144 27 No change in CPI score but moves up the TI ranking from 148th to 144th
Uganda 149 26 No change in CPI score but moves up the TI ranking from 151th to 149th
Central African Republic (CAR) 149 26 Significant improvement in CPI score from 23 to 26 and moves up the TI ranking from 156th to 149th
Cameroon 152 25 No change in CPI score but moves up the TI ranking from 153th to 152th
Madagascar 152 25 Improvement in CPI score from 24 to 25 and also moves up the TI ranking from 155th to 152th
Eritrea 157 24 Significant improvement in CPI score from 20 to 24 and moves up the TI ranking from 165th to 157th
Mozambique 158 23 Decline in CPI score from 25 to 23 and also drop in the TI ranking from 153th to 158th
Zimbabwe 160 22 No change in CPI score but drop in the TI ranking from 157th to 160th
Democratic Republic of the Congo 161 20 Decline in CPI score from 21 to 20 and TI ranking remain the same for both year
Angola 165 19 No change in CPI score but drop in the TI ranking from 167th to 165th
Chad 165 19 Decline in CPI score from 20 to 19 but TI ranking remain the same for both years
Republic of the Congo 165 19 Decline in CPI score from 21 to 19 and also drop in the TI ranking from 161th to 165th
Burundi 170 17 Decline in CPI score from 22 to 17 and also drop in the TI ranking from 157th to 170th
Libya 170 17 No change in CPI score but a drop in the TI ranking from 171th to 170th
Equatorial Guinea 172 16 Decline in CPI score from 17 to 16 and also drop in the TI ranking from 171th to 172th
Guinea-Bissau 172 16 Decline in CPI score from 17 to 16 and also drop in the TI ranking from 171th to 172th
Sudan 172 16 No change in CPI score but moves up the TI ranking from 175th to 172th
South Sudan 178 13 Improvement in CPI score from 12 to 13 and moves up the TI ranking from 179th to 178th
Somalia 180 10 Improvement in CPI score from 9 to 10 but still the least in the table (180th/180th).

Table 1: List of African Nations ranked by the TI for year 2018 from the Top Scorers to the Bottom Scorers

Corruption and a Crisis for Democracy

Corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy in many part of the world especially in African nations as countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest scoring region on the index with an average score of just 32.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains a region of stark political and socio-economic contrasts and many long standing challenges. Though a large number of countries have adopted democratic principles of governance, several are still governed by authoritarian and semi-authoritarian leaders.

Democracy does not consist of only a free and fair election but includes other civil and political rights like freedom of speech, right to protest and strong independent institutions.

Many African leaders do not want to be in the news or investigated or face justice so democracy is undermined in these countries.

Autocratic regimes despite democratic elections, civil strife, weak institutions and unresponsive political systems have continued to undermine anti-corruption efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. This only mean that democracy cannot flourish in this region.  

Significant Improvers

Notwithstanding Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall poor performance, there are a few countries that push back against corruption, and with notable progress.

For the second year in a row, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal have seen significant improvement on the CPI. 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 improved significantly by seven points since last year, while Seychelles and Eritrea improved by six points and four points respectively.

Political commitment combined with laws, institution and implementation helped greatly in controlling corruption in Gambia and Eritrea.

Also Seychelles made significant progress in tackling corruption because the nation anti-corruption act of 2016 came into force in 2017 and the commission recorded three cases of corruption and out of these two has been sent to the Attorney-General office to be analyzed.

The Transparency Initiative Seychelles, a non-governmental organisation, was also launched in April last year to help fight against corruption and bribery. It is part of the global entity Transparency International.

 

Significant Decliners

Several countries have experienced sharp declines in their CPI scores over the last few years, including Burundi, Congo, Mozambique, Liberia and Ghana.

Comparism of the CPI score of 2017 and 2018 shows that Burundi, Congo, Mozambique, Burkina Faso have seen a decline in 2018 rating.

Mozambique has consistently seen a decline and over the last 6 years, the country has dropped 8 points, moving from 31 in 2012 to 23 in 2018.

This is because the country has seen an increase in abductions and attacks on political analysts and investigative journalists which creates a culture of fear, which is detrimental to fighting corruption.

The country is also home to one of Africa’s biggest corruption scandals. Recently Mozambique faced indictments of several of its former government officials by US officials. The former finance minister and Credit Suisse banker, Manuel Chang, was charged with concealing more than US$2 billion dollars of hidden loans and bribes.

Also Read: Nigeria 2019 Elections: NYSC Boss Charges Corps Members on Neutrality

Countries that has not made significant progress in the past year

South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal and Angola have not made significant progress on the table, though it might seem that they have moved in ranks.

Corruption has been one of the biggest topic on the agenda for this present administration in Nigeria and a number of positive steps have been taken by the administration including the the improvement of the anti-corruption legal and policy framework in areas like public procurement and asset declaration, and the development of a national anti-corruption strategy, among others. However, these efforts have clearly not yielded the desired results.

Also Read: Buhari’s Administration: The Invisible Change

8 Sub-Saharan countries ranked better than South Africa in the TI and that is a daunting news for the country though the country scored averagely in the index.  South Africa have seen a significant improvement from the Zuma administration and this present administration is taking additional steps to address anti-corruption on a national level, including through the work of the Anti-Corruption Inter-Ministerial Committee.

Also citizens are engaged on social media to inquire into corruption abuses. Social media has played a big role in driving public conversation around corruption in South Africa and also in Kenya.

Angola on the other hand have increased four points since 2015. The president, President Joao Lourenco, has been tackling corruption and championing reforms since he took office in 2017. He fired over 60 government officials, including Isabel Dos Santos, the daughter of his predecessor, Eduardo Dos Santos.

Recently, the former president’s son, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, was charged with making a fraudulent US$500 million transaction from Angola’s sovereign wealth fund. The problem of corruption in Angolan goes far beyond the dos Santos family and it is very important that the current leadership shows consistency in the fight against corruption in Angola.

This year; Nigeria, South Africa and Senegal are going to the polls to vote in a general election and this will test the corruption perception of these country, though free and fair election is just a minute aspect in scoring a country CPI.

 

Differences in Policies between the Top Scorers and the Bottom Scorers

Seychelles scores 66 out of 100, to put it at the top of the region, followed by Botswana and Cabo Verde, with scores of 61 and 57 respectively.

Countries like Seychelles and Botswana, which score higher on the CPI than other countries in the region, have a few attributes in common. Both have relatively well-functioning democratic and governance systems, which help contribute to their scores. However, these countries are the exception rather than the norm in a region where most democratic principles are at risk and corruption is high.

At the very bottom of the index for the seventh year in a row, Somalia scores 10 points, followed by South Sudan (13) to round out the lowest scores in the region.

Many low performing countries have several factors in common, including few political rights, limited press freedoms and a weak rule of law. In these countries, laws often go unenforced and institutions are poorly resourced with little ability to handle corruption complaints. In addition, internal conflict and unstable governance structures contribute to high rates of corruption.

A lot has happened in many African countries that might have pushed countries upward or downwards such as the removal of some cabinet members in South Africa and the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by the president of the country.

However, African government must wake and start reforming weak institutions such as the police forces and give the people freedom of speech and association without fear of consequences. Also media houses should be given access to independence of operation without any interference from the government.

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