For this blog post I will do a close reading of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report of the year 2019 provided by Transparency International. The CPI ranks a total of 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The countries are ranked on a scale of zero to 100, with zero being the most corrupted and 100 being clean of corruption. The global average score is 43/100 and over 2/3 of the countries score well below 50/100.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the lowest score on the CPI and its average score is 32/100 since 2018. As of 2019 the top countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are Seychelles (66/100), Botswana (61/100) and Cabo Verde (58/100). These countries not only surpassed the average regional score of 32/100 but also are well above the CPI average which lies at 43/100. This shows that African countries can overcome the stigma of Africa being a continent overridden with diseases and corruption. In comparison Italy which belongs to Western Europe CPI’s best scored region, has a score of 53/100 although above the average it still scores rather poorly next to the African countries mentioned above.
Nonetheless, the bottom of the regional score also partly represent the overall bottom of the index, Sudan scores 16/100 while South Sudan scores 12/100. Finally, Somalia sits at the bottom with a score of 9/100. According to CPI the countries that have scored the lowest still are facing issues of bribing and corrupt elections. ‘Money is used to win elections, consolidate power and further personal interests.’ (CPI Report, p. 22) Efforts such as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption have shown to be weak and it appears that overall little to no efforts are being made by the countries to improve their situation.
It still reveals to be important to mention that there are some improvements noticeable in Sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, Senegal has improved since 2012 and is now above the regional score with a score of 45/100. This is certainly due to the political will demonstrate by the leader of the country and should be an example for countries such as Congo that has experienced a significant decline these past years and now scores at 19/100.
Overall the CPI report shows a non-biased approach in the interpretation and analysis of these numbers. Instead of focusing on the fact that most corrupt countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa it also equally talks about the improvement of some countries even if they are minimal. However, what the index does not take into account, is the influence of some western countries in the corruption of other countries that score poorly. The index in fact does not consider the political and financial influence of these countries, that score well above the global average score, in facilitating corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa. This poses ethical concerns as it fails to consider the long influence Europe has had in the underdevelopment of African countries, from facilitating coups d’états to financing civil wars. The question there then is, why are transnational corruption not considered in the measuring of the CPI?http:/https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2019