African countries are still in the red. Embarrassing scandals like the ongoing Manuel Chang fiasco in Mozambique are not helping matters. Mozambique's ex-finance minister, Manuel Chang, was arrested in South Africa over his involvement in a $2 billion dollar fraudulent loan scandal in his home country. It is one of Africa's biggest corruption scandals and its economic repercussions have been severe. The IMF and other donors cut off support and the Mozambican economy is still recovering from the currency collapse and debt crisis that resulted.
The silver lining is that some action is being taken against the culprits but the rot runs deep. The latest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index shows that many other African countries might not be stealing headlines for graft but they are no better than Mozambique.
Seychelles, Botswana and Cabo Verde, the cleanest trio
2018 was the African Year of Anti-Corruption but Transparency International says, "this has yet to translate into concrete progress". However, despite the underwhelming state of affairs, high flying states like Seychelles which scored 66 out of a possible 100 are proving that with enough willpower, graft can be eliminated.
Botswana's 61 points and Cabo Verde's 57 are equally impressive especially considering the regional average score is a shamefully paltry 32 points out of a possible 100. Rwanda is forth with a strong showing of 56 points while Namibia completes the Sub-Saharan region's cleanest five with 53 points.
Mauritius' 51 points are good enough for sixth in the region while Sao Tome and Principe's 46 points earn the country the seventh position. Senegal has been a star performer over the past few years as it has gained 9 transparency points since 2012 to get 45 points and earn the eighth position.
South Africa follows closely with 43 points and Burkina Faso, Ghana and Lesotho are tied at 41 points. Cote d'Ivoire is also a worthy mention as it has risen from 2013's negligible 27 points to 35 points in the 2018 list.
Low standards and shameless leaders
It is disturbing that Africa's top performers include countries that failed to breach the halfway mark of possible transparency points. The standards are so low that Sao Tome and Principe, with 46 points can make it onto what should be a list of very transparent countries. It is shameful. The continent should do better. Transparency International says, "Autocratic regimes, civil strife, weak institutions, and unresponsive political systems continue to undermine anti-corruption efforts."
The argument is further confirmed by the high performing countries which predominantly have "relatively well-functioning democratic and governance systems, which help contribute to their scores". Leaders are letting this continent down. Lip service, promises and branding years "Anti-Corruption Year" without putting in the work are clearly not working. This continent cannot continue to indefinitely postpone implementing the needed reforms when it is being milked dry to the detriment of the common citizens.
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