Mozambique, Senegal and Burkina Faso are among the most improved countries globally in the Corruption Risk Index (CRI) produced by Maplecroft, the risk analytics company.
Mozambique recently introduced a range of anti-corruption measures that will encourage greater probity in the public sector; afford whistleblowers greater protection; and simplify the process for establishing a new business. The coal-producing country has shown the most progress amongst 197 surveyed nations, moving from 51st to 71st place in the CRI (where a lower number rank indicates higher risk of corruption) and from ‘extreme’ to ‘high risk’. Senegal and Burkina Faso have both climbed 14 places, rising to 48th and 54th place respectively.
Mozambique’s improvement can be explained by the passage in November 2012 of a public probity law, which increases the scrutiny of potentially improper personal connections of politicians and civil servants, as well as the possible use of public office for self-benefit. It also requires a declaration of assets, as well as the disclosure of financial relationships and the receipt of gifts and gratuities. In addition, an August 2012 law was introduced to protect whistleblowers, which includes the provision of a witness protection programme.
The measures can be seen as a clear declaration of intent. Strengthening the anti-corruption legal framework will increase clarity and transparency for international investors and donors.
Botswana (154th), meanwhile, remains the African economy with the strongest governance framework, a decisive factor in the more equitable contribution of mineral wealth to development – something that has not been witnessed in other parts of the continent.
But despite strong individual advancements on tackling corruption, the issue remains a grave problem in sub-Saharan Africa, which is host to 28 of the CRI’s 70 ‘extreme risk’ countries, including six of the 10 worst performers – the Democratic Republic of Congo (1st),Somalia (2nd), Sudan (4th), Zimbabwe (5th), Equatorial Guinea (6th) and Guinea (7th). This is largely due to the continued weakness of government, poorly defined regulatory systems, and a dearth of civil servant capacity. Prevalent cronyism has also fostered a lack of transparency and has resulted in unqualified people holding key positions. In the absence of serious advances in democratic governance, the outlook for any improvement remains poor for a majority of the region.