Most African countries are still perceived to suffer from “endemic corruption,” according to an annual survey of perceptions of public sector corruption in nations across the world.
The 2014 edition of the survey, published by the campaign group Transparency International, says that five of the 10 countries of the world in which administrators and politicians are perceived to be the most corrupt are in Africa. They are Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya and Eritrea.
The African country whose public sector is experienced as the least corrupt – Botswana – is ranked only at 31st place on a list of 175 nations surveyed, far behind those whose public sectors are perceived as the cleanest: the Scandinavian countries, New Zealand, Switzerland and Singapore.
African countries are prominent among the countries whose performance has improved the most in the last year. Transparency International reports that Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Mali and Swaziland are among the seven most improved nations.
However, African nations are also among the worst backsliders: Angola, Malawi and Rwanda join China and Turkey as the countries whose performance has declined the most.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Chantal Uwimana, Transparency International’s regional director for Africa and the Middle East, notes that the majority of African countries have a score of less than 50 on a scale of one to 100, “which in our view depicts a situation of endemic corruption. ”
She adds: “In a continent with high level of economic growth rates (compared to many parts of the world), the persistence of widespread corruption is one of the factors inhibiting the transformation of the economic growth into development dividends for all citizens…”
However, she also notes that illicit financial flows from Africa – in which the private sector is deeply complicit – are “quickly draining the continent and depriving African countries of resources for investment and development.”
She adds: “Illicit financial flows are a serious threat to Africa’s economic growth and development. This situation needs to stop and it is a global responsibility to stop it.”
After Botswana, the African countries perceived to have the least corrupt public sectors are Cape Verde (in 42nd place among 175 countries worldwide), the Seychelles (43rd place) and Mauritius (47th). Lesotho, Namibia and Rwanda occupy joint 55th place, with Ghana (61st) and South Africa (67th) next.
Senegal occupies 69th place, Liberia 94th, Ethiopia 110th, Nigeria 136th and Kenya 145th place. Forty-seven African countries are on the list; Transparency International says there are not enough data on others to be included. Equatorial Guinea was in the list last year has been dropped due to insufficient data.