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Africa’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index Released

A man holds bills of Moroccan dirham on January 23, 2018 in Casablanca. – After years fighting to evict tenants he believes are backed by corrupt officials, Slimane Brihmi called a much-heralded anti-graft hotline in Morocco — but it made no difference. Like many countries struggling with endemic corruption, the North African kingdom has launched various initiatives to tackle the phenomenon. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP) (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to struggle with corruption despite efforts by various governments to rid their countries of the vice.

A report published on Tuesday by global corruption watchdog, Transparency International, indicates that over the past year, many countries on the continent either stagnated or backslid in their war against graft.

The 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows that the continent averaged a score of 33 percent, with 44 out of 49 countries assessed on the index scoring below 50.

The watchdog points out that the past year was very challenging for the continent in its war against corruption, with other issues like the covid-19 pandemic, armed conflicts and rising terrorist threats pulling its focus away from the struggle to eradicate graft.

Transparency International pointed out that to keep corruption out of the public eye, governments across the region have limited information and cracked down on independent voices calling out abuses of power.

Seychelles is the best ranking African nation on the 2021 CPI with a score of 70 percent, while Cabo Verde (58) and Botswana (55) are the distant runners-up.

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Seychelles’ strong performance is attributed to substantial open government and anti-corruption reforms achieved over the past decade.

The archipelago ranks 23rd amongst 180 countries worldwide.

“This is a clear indication that small as we are, Seychelles is on the right path towards fighting corruption in our country. It further demonstrates the efforts of government and the hard work of some our key institutions such as the National Assembly through the Finance and Public Accounts Committee, the Judiciary, the police, the office of the Auditor General, the Anti-Corruption Commission and others,” said President Wavel Ramkalawan in response to the CPI publication.

Mauritius (49) and Rwanda (52) complete the continent’s top 5 nations on Transparency International’s CPI.

The continent’s biggest economy, South Africa, ranks 70th globally with 44 percent.

The country’s former president, Jacob Zuma, is one of the few heads of state in Africa to face corruption charges in their own country.

Transparency International acknowledges that there have been positive steps taken to expose and address high-level corruption in the country, such as the commission of inquiry into state capture, known as the Zondo Commission. It however notes that weakened law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies that were hollowed out during years of state capture have contributed to the erosion of public confidence that corrupt officials will be held accountable.

Nigeria on the other hand hit a historic low on the 2021 CPI, ranking 154th globally with 24 percent.

The country was over the past year smeared with corruption allegations against influential citizens. The West African country saw more than 100 powerful individuals exposed as having used anonymous companies to buy millions of dollars in property in the United Kingdom. Secretive dealings among Nigeria’s powerholders were also previously reported as part of the infamous Panama Papers and FinCEN Files investigations.

Transparency International says the 2021 CPI should serve as a wake-up call for the continent and has called for bolder responses to corruption.

The watchdog notes that sustainable progress on anti-corruption can only be achieved if societal and institutional checks on power are ensured.

It also calls upon governments to provide accountability through anti-corruption agencies and justice institutions when allegations of abuse emerge.

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Written by PH

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