• Experts have called on the rest of the East African Community to ensure political will and follow the footsteps of Rwanda to succeed in fighting corruption.

    This they said during the release of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2015 in Kigali, Rwanda.

    Although the report acknowledges the myriad of threats Africa faced in 2015 including Ebola and the rising terrorism, it points out that corruption exacerbated the causes of crises, and undermined the response.

    “This year’s index presents a worrying picture – with 40 of 46 countries showing a serious corruption problem and no improvement for continent powerhouses Nigeria and South Africa. Indicators for rule of law and justice score particularly badly. While some governments are reducing risks for business, there’s little change for citizens – as systemic corruption leaves many countries struggling to uphold basic rule of law,” part of the report on Sub Saharan Africa says.

    But Rwanda’s improvement, is a thing that other African states can learn from. The report shows that Rwanda’s percentage score increased from 49 to 54.

    Released by Transparency International (IT) the CPI, placed Rwanda fourth least corrupt country in Africa and 44th globally.

    Botswana claimed the top position followed by Cape Verde, Seychelles, Rwanda, as Mauritius came in fifth and Namibia sixth in sub-Saharan Africa.

    CPI notes that there has been particular improvement around transparency in financial management – good news for the companies operating in the region.

    “Overall a number of countries have all improved in recent years, notably Senegal, which has risen significantly since the government introduced a series of anti-corruption measures. Regional high- performer Botswana scores 63 out of 100 in the index. As the new Sustainable Development Goals act as a catalyst for strengthening governance, there’s hope other countries could follow.”

    The report underpins that there is no country is free of corruption, thus, they should remain vigilant and ensure a smooth flow of business between public and private sector to close the existing loopholes.

    Performances in East Africa

    Tanzania came in the 117th position globally, behind Rwanda- a very large gap- then Kenya and Uganda managed position (139), while Burundi was placed at position 150. Somalia was last in Africa and among the 168 countries surveyed.

    To make East Africa corruption free, Rwanda should explain its good practices to regional members. Corruption however is not about making ‘well written documents’, but rather establishing legal frameworks and policies targeted to change perception and restore integrity in government institutions.

    Corruption not only affect the economic growth of a country and region by discouraging investors, it also challenges the way in which good governance is delivered to the deserving citizens.

    “But corruption continues to deny citizens justice and security. As conflict-ridden Somalia lands at the bottom of the index again, many other countries are let down by a failure to uphold rule of law.  Reinforcing our African public survey – which found police and courts have the highest rates of bribery – law enforcement isn’t always working to protect citizens. In many countries, including low-scorers Angola, Burundi and Uganda, we’re seeing a failure to prosecute corrupt public officials on the one hand, and intimidation of citizens who speak out against corruption on the other,” the IT argued.

    Africa can be saved through transparency with accountability

    “If corruption and impunity are to ‘be a thing of the past’ as boldly stated by the African Union in Agenda 2063, ‘The Africa We Want’, governments need to take bold steps to ensure rule of law is the reality for everyone. Prosecuting corruption will restore faith among people who no longer believe in the institutions that are supposed to protect them. Transparency and accountability must go hand in hand when tackling corruption – as these results show, this is still far from the norm in Africa.”