Global anti-corruption agency Transparency International has released its latest 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people.
There was little progress in ending corruption as about two-thirds of the countries scored below 50, with an average score of 43. New Zealand and Denmark were ranked the least corrupt countries in the world.
Africa was the worst performing region in the 2017 Index with average scores lower than 50. The least corrupt country in Africa was Botswana which ranked 34 out of 180. Senegal (66) and Cote d’Ivoire (103) were the countries that made great strides towards alleviating corruption.
Botswana (34), Seychelles (36), Cape Verde (48), Rwanda (48) and Namibia (53) scored better than some European countries like Spain (42), Italy (54), Greece (59) and Hungary (66) due to their political leadership that was committed to anti-corruption, says Transparency International.
The most corrupt African countries are Somalia and South Sudan ranking 180 and 179 respectively. Their drop was attributed to significant governance challenges like Malawi and Guinea Bissau that continue to decline significantly. South Sudan officially joined the East African Community (EAC) in 2016 and Somalia is poised to join the regional economic group.
The African Union (AU) has led anti-corruption campaigns since last year to curb the endemic problem. Angola became the 39th State Party to the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption on Wednesday. Over a dozen African countries are yet to sign the treaty.
— African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (@info_auabc) February 21, 2018
Below is the full list of countries and their ranking.
Transparency International gave these five recommendations to help curb corruption:
Governments and businesses must do more to encourage free speech, independent media, political dissent and an open and engaged civil society.
Governments should minimise regulations on media, including traditional and new media, and ensure that journalists can work without fear of repression or violence. In addition, international donors should consider press freedom relevant to development aid or access to international organisations.
Civil society and governments should promote laws that focus on access to information. This access helps enhance transparency and accountability while reducing opportunities for corruption. It is important, however, for governments to not only invest in an appropriate legal framework for such laws, but also commit to their implementation.
Activists and governments should take advantage of the momentum generated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to advocate and push for reforms at the national and global level. Specifically, governments must ensure access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms and align these to international agreements and best practices.
Governments and businesses should proactively disclose relevant public interest information in open data formats. Proactive disclosure of relevant data, including government budgets, company ownership, public procurement and political party finances allows journalists, civil society and affected communities to identify patterns of corrupt conduct more efficiently.