Transparency International has released its annual Corruption index for 2016 and the findings are not encouraging. The Index findings highlight the connection between corruption and inequality which are said to “feed off each other”. Transparency International says, “Not a single country comes close to top marks while over 120 countries score below 50 on the scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). This means less than a third of countries are even above the midpoint.” Corruption has become a global crisis and Jose Ugaz, the Chair of Transparency International has called all parties to action saying, “We do not have the luxury of time. Corruption needs to be fought with urgency, so that the lives of people across the world improve.”
Africa’s Corruption Problems
Sub-Saharan Africa has a low average score of 31 compared to a global average of 46 while only 5 countries of 46 have scores above 50. Transparency International says low ranked countries are plagued by “untrustworthy and badly functioning public institutions like the police and judiciary”. One might add that in these countries, men are bigger than institutions thus creating a culture of impunity. There is no one to bring “the big men” to account so they brazenly loot and enrich themselves at the expense of the poorer masses. The Gambia’s former leader, Yahya Jammeh, immediately comes to mind after he made headlines for giving himself a “windfall” to the tune of millions when he left office. He is only one of a larger number of unpatriotic politicians who steal and loot from their own countries.
Of the 13 countries with scores of less than 20 out of a possible 100, 6 are Sub-Saharan African countries. The bottom two countries in the world rankings are occupied by African countries. Countries like South Sudan saw declines of up to 4 points and even high-ranked Botswana shed 3 points from its 2015 score or 63. Lesotho dropped 5 points from its score while Burkina Faso and Cape Verde saw 4 point improvements on their 2015 scores.
Best Sub-Saharan Performers
For another year, Botswana is the Sub-Saharan region’s cleanest country with an above average score of 60. It is slightly lower than 2015 and 2014’s 63 which was also a decline from 2013’s 64. There is not much to celebrate for Botswana as it is steadily sliding into the cesspool some countries are in. While Botswana should take time for some introspection, Cape Verde is approaching its 60 point high of 2012 and comes second in Africa’s cleanest countries list. Mauritius and Rwanda are third with a common score of 54 while Namibia is the fifth and last country with a scoring above the midpoint in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sao Tome and Principe is 6th and Senegal and South Africa’s 45 point scores are enough for a joint 7th. Ghana is 9th and Burkina Faso is 10th with a score of 42.
Somalia is the worst performer in Africa but it is not without company on the bottom of the Index. South Sudan’s 4 point decline to a score of 11 makes sure Somalia is the only other country which did worse in the world. Guinea Bissau only did better than Somalia and South Sudan in Sub-Saharan Africa while it is 168th in the world. Eritrea and Angola are a joint 4th worst performer in the region while the Republic of Congo, Chad, Central African Republic and Burundi are 5th and 159th in the world. The Democratic Republic of Congo comes in at 10th worst performer meaning it only did better than 9 other Sub-Saharan countries. Only the D.R.C. has a score above 20 in the bottom ten list; other countries have 20s and below. There is a lot of work to be done.