Sub-Saharan Africa Ranked As Most Corrupt Region In The World

Concerns regarding corruption across the world have arisen after Transparency International published their analysis of 2022

<p><strong>IN FILE - Former lawmaker Bon Kalindo (C) gestures as he leads demonstrators in Lilongwe on November 26, 2021. Police in Malawi fired teargas to disperse thousands of protestors demonstrating on November 26, 2021 against the cost of living, corruption and nepotism in government. PHOTO BY AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES</strong></p>

Sub-Saharan Africa ranked as the lowest scoring region on the Corruption Perception Index in 2022; an analysis published by Transparency International on January 31st, 2023. 

Having been given an average score of 32/100, it could be argued that this region has the highest levels of corruption anywhere in the world.

The recently published Corruption Perception Index for 2022 could dampen an optimism that efforts to alleviate poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa are effective. “Extensive funds are needed to address the consequences of economic, ecological and healthcare challenges, and they must not be lost to corruption.” said Transparency International, commenting on the findings of their annual survey.

IN FILE – Demonstrators Protest in Libera, West Africa on Jan 6, 2020. The demonstration follows two mass rallies against the footballer-turned-president as the impoverished West African country, Liberia, struggles with corruption and rising prices – File. CARIELLE DOE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The United States, ranks 24th out of 180 countries, having improved its ranking two places over the last year. Its CPI score is 69/100, placing it among the countries with the best scores. However, there is a concern that among the best scoring countries there appears to be a stagnation that does not reflect a positive trajectory.

Among many of the countries that were analyzed, little improvement has been made over the years, which could indicate either a growing normalization of corruption or lethargic progress in curbing it. “Unfortunately the overall picture of the countries is disappointing. 155 countries remained stagnant or did not improve their indicators.

The rating alone does not mean anything absolute, there may have been some drastic changes that will be seen in the coming years. But the crises around the world, whether they concern the pandemic or socio-economic phenomena, do not show optimism.” said Angelos Kaskanis, a senior member of Transparency International.

Beside mentioning conflict and security challenges as reasons corruption remains unaddressed in Sub-Saharan Africa, Transparency International has also cited compromise in national politics as an inhibition toward improvement. 

“Opposition figures or activists have been intimidated, smeared or arrested – at times under the pretense of anti-corruption crackdowns and enabled by heavily politicized judicial systems.” said Transparency International in their survey.

The survey shows that Seychelles leads the region with the best score of 70/100, followed by Botswana with a score of 60/100. The worst ranked country is Somalia who attained a score of 12/100, making them the lowest ranked country in the world.

Botswana has been among the best ranked countries on the CPI for several years. Transparency International ascribes a well functioning democracy as a reason for their success.  “Botswana continues to be one of the top performers in the region due to a robust democratic system in which the legislative and policy frameworks have continuously been improved. The strengthening of opposition parties has allowed anti-corruption measures to be implemented, most notably the 2016 Whistleblowers Act followed by the 2019 Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act.” said Transparency International.

For the third year in a row, the Sub-Saharan African country of Zambia has been ranked with a score of 33/100. This score may come as a surprise for many who expected a better figure after almost two years of a new civil government that has publicly claimed to be making ground in their fight against corruption. Having liberated and mobilized a commission to actively confront and prosecute public corruption, this latest score puts into question whether efforts to fight off corruption have been real or an elaborate publicity stunt.

In the immediate wake of Zambia receiving its CPI ranking, Zambia’s anti-corruption commission appears to have a ‘glass half-full’ perspective on the matter. “The Commission notes with concern the score of 33 points for Zambia in this survey and that it has maintained the score for the third consecutive year. This score indicates that the state of corruption in Zambia has not deteriorated from the previous years. It also means that the avenues or opportunities of corruption are slowly being contained as the score is not getting worse” said the Zambian Director of the Anti Corruption Commission, Tom Shamakamba. “We need a law to regulate political funding to fight corruption.” Shamakamba said further. 

 Former lawmaker Bon Kalindo (C) gestures as he leads demonstrators in Lilongwe on November 26, 2021. Police in Malawi fired teargas to disperse thousands of protestors demonstrating on November 26, 2021 against the cost of living, corruption and nepotism in government in this file photo.  AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The prevalence of corruption in judicial systems and civil governments prompt whether state regulated institutions should be trusted to confront and curb corruption within its own quarters.

“Institutions responsible for supervision and anti-corruption must be independent and have access to sufficient funding. To reduce the possibility of corruption in the defense and security sectors, governments should improve institutional controls.” said Kaskanis, in his attempt to offer solutions to the compounding problem of corruption at a global level.

A man holding up a phone with a Transparency International logo displayed on the screen in Brazil on Oct 28, 2022. (Rafael Henrique/Getty Images)

While much of the published data provides a measure and scale of corruption across the world, a robust diagnosis of why this problem persists appears to be wanting from experts in the field.

For as long as an adequate diagnosis is lacking, poverty and anarchy will persist in their rampant destruction of nations and republics across the world.