African Politics and Policy

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Corruption Perception Index 2017

Transparency International just released Corruption Perception Index  for 2017. The results are quite interesting. After a long fight against corruption Kazakhstan has been able to improve its score on the Corruption Perception Index for two consecutive years and, for 2017, it was given a score of 31. This means that TI belives Kazakhstan to have some corruption, but considerably less than it had had in previous years. Kazakhstan’s CPI score is its best ever, which confirms how well Kazakhstani authorities have worked to reduce corruption in the country.

Italy has also improved its CPI score for the second year in a row and for 2017 it was assigned a score of 50, which means that Italy is at the middle point of CPI which ranges from 0 (total corruption) to 100 (no corruption).

At the top of the rankings we have the usual suspects: New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden and in each of these countries, except for Norway and Singapore, the level of perceived corruption has increased.

How did African countries perform in 2017? Some of them, like Botswana, did really well. With a score of 61, Botswana is the 34th least corrupt country in the world. This means that it better than all the other African countries, but that it also did better than several Western European countries. Botswana outperformed Italy, Malta, Czech Republic, Spain,

Seychelles is 36th with a score of 60–again much better than  Italy and Spain. Cape Verde and Rwanda, with a score of 55 (again better than Italy) are tied for 48th position.

Namibia, with a score of 51, is just ahead of Italy, while Mauritius is tied with Italy with a score of 50.

This is the good news.

Sao Tome and Principe scored 46 points, Senegal 45, South Africa 43 while Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Tunisia all scored 42 points.

Ghana and Morocco scored 40 points.

These countries, fall below the mid-point of the CPI, which means that have quite a lot of corruption, but that they are not far off from that mark and they all more transparent than their level of political and socio-economic development would lead one to expect.

This is not good, but in many ways it is good enough.

And then we have the bad and the ugly news. Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world and the situation is deteriorating, South Sudan is the second most corrupt polity in the planet, Sudan is the 6th most corrupt, Libya is the 7th most corrupt, while Guinea Bissau and Equatorial Guinea share the honor of being the 8th most corrupt polity.

Africa has 6 of the 8 most corrupt countries in the world. Sub-Saharan Africa has 5 of the 8. No continent, no region has more corruption than Africa, which needs transparency more than any other region to achieve it developmental objectives.

There are several reasons why there is corruption in Africa and why the level of corruption is increasing. Two of these are particularly problematic: Africa lags behind in terms of political development or institutionalization and because of this it is unable to produce the kind of leaders and leadership style that would be required to curb corruption and promote socio-economic development.

And these twin problems are what, in our not always terribly modest opinion, Africa should, with the help of the international community, try to address. If these problems are not solved, Africa will never be able to capitalize on long spells of strong economic growth, to make progress along the developmental path and in the eradication of poverty.

Riccardo Pelizzo

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