Transparency International on Tuesday released its 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) that shows that most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have failed to make progress against corruption. Over 90 per cent of countries in the region scored below 50, and only four nations scored better than 50 out of 100.
The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The Sub-Saharan Africa average remains the lowest in the world, dropping a point this year to 32.
Transparency International noted that it isn’t a coincidence that Sub-Saharan Africa is also one of the least peaceful regions in the world, according to the Global Peace Index, as corruption and conflict “exacerbate each other in a vicious cycle, so countries in conflict become more corrupt and corruption then fuels conflict.”
The Central African Republic (24), Sudan (22), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (20), South Sudan (13) and Somalia (12) are five of the ten least peaceful countries globally and rank in the bottom 30 countries of the entire CPI.
“Right now, people across the African continent are facing difficulties from every direction – with food shortages, rising living costs, an ongoing pandemic and numerous ongoing conflicts. Yet despite the role it plays in fuelling every one of these crises, most governments in the region continue to neglect anti-corruption efforts,” said Samuel Kaninda, Africa Regional Advisor of Transparency International. “Africans need their leaders to go beyond words and commitments and take bold, decisive action to root out pervasive corruption at this key moment – or the situation will only continue to deteriorate.”
Releasing its report on Tuesday, Transparency International called on governments in the region to prioritize anti-corruption commitments, reinforcing checks and balances, upholding rights to information and limiting private influence to finally rid the world of corruption – and the violence it brings.
“The good news is that leaders can fight corruption and promote peace all at once. Governments must open up space to include the public in decision-making – from activists and business owners to marginalized communities and young people. In democratic societies, the people can raise their voices to help root out corruption and demand a safer world for us all,” said Daniel Eriksson, CEO of Transparency International.
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA CORRUPTION HIGHLIGHTS
- Seychelles (70) tops the region, with Cabo Verde and Botswana both distant runners-up at 60.
- Burundi (17), Equatorial Guinea (17), South Sudan (13) and Somalia (12) score lowest in the region.
- Lesotho (37), Eswatini (30), Gabon (29), Liberia (26) and Comoros (19) are all at historic lows this year.
- Since 2017, only Angola (33) has significantly improved on the CPI.
CORRUPTION, CONFLICT AND SECURITY
High levels of corruption leave governments weak, without resources or public support and unable to prevent conflict at a time when people across the continent are struggling to deal with the impacts of the pandemic and increasing costs of living. High levels of violence and instability – which plague many countries in the region, from military coups to extremism, terror and crime – further fuel corruption.
- In the Sahel region, ongoing violence fuels instability and facilitates corruption. Terrorist groups have gained support in part by exploiting public discontent with governments – especially calling out corruption. The ongoing conflict has sparked multiple coups, with two in Burkina Faso (42) just in 2022 and one in Mali (28) the previous year. This authoritarian military control in turn allows space for corruption to fester.
- After decades of conflict, South Sudan (13) is in a major humanitarian crisis with more than half of the population facing acute food insecurity – and corruption exacerbating the situation. A report from investigative policy organisation Sentry last year revealed that a massive fraud scheme by a network of corrupt politicians with ties to the president’s family siphoned off aid for food, fuel and medicine.
- Violence by illegal armed groups continues to plague the Democratic Republic of the Congo (20). Corruption among public officials allows such groups to plunder the natural resources of the country, funding their brutality and leaving the government without resources and the people without basic necessities.
- Somalia (12) is at the bottom of the CPI, and continually ranks as one of the least peaceful countries in the world. For three decades, violence and instability have decimated the country, leaving many Somalis in dire humanitarian conditions. Corruption is rampant, yet public officials continue to ignore the problem, as newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud dissolved two key anti-corruption bodies in October. .