- In the annual corruption index, presented today by Transparency International (TI), Botswana again was named Africa's by far less corrupt country. Nigeria was found at the bottom end, close after Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo Kinshasa, Angola, Kenya and Cameroon. The world's "cleanest" country was found to be Finland, while the most corrupt was Haiti.
- Corruption in large-scale public projects is a daunting obstacle to sustainable development, and results in a major loss of public funds needed for education, healthcare and poverty alleviation, both in developed and developing countries, said TI Chairman Peter Eigen today at the launch of the organisation's corruption perceptions index 2004.
A total of 146 countries had been ranked and corruption was found to be "rampant in 60 countries." The investigation also found that "most oil-producing nations are prone to high corruption." TI estimates that the amount lost due to bribery in government procurement is at least US$ 400 billion per year worldwide.
Sixty countries scored less than 3 out of 10, indicating what TI called "rampant corruption." Corruption is perceived to be most acute in Bangladesh, Haiti, Nigeria, Chad, Myanmar, Azerbaijan and Paraguay, all of which have a score of less than 2. Also the oil-rich countries Angola, Azerbaijan, Chad, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen all had "extremely low scores."
Countries with a score of higher than 9, with very low levels of perceived corruption, are predominantly rich countries, namely Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Iceland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland. "But the poorest countries, most of which are in the bottom half of the index, are in greatest need of support in fighting corruption," said Eigen.
In Africa, there had been considerable movement on the list compared to last year's index. An increase in perceived corruption could be observed for Mauritius and Senegal, TI said. On the other hand, a fall in corruption was perceived in Botswana, The Gambia, Tanzania and Uganda.
Outstanding in Africa, Botswana was given a score of 6.0 out of 10, thus ranking number 31 worldwide, this year even counting in a significantly improved overall score and ranking. "Botswana's score also places it above ten of the member states of the European Union included in the survey," as the country's presidential spokesman, Jeff Ramsay, proudly noted in a statement today.
Only three more African countries are found on TI's top-50 list of less corrupt states. Tunisia scores 5.0 points and is Africa's second less corrupt country, according to TI. Third comes South Africa (4.6) and forth Seychelles (4.4). Mauritius and Namibia follow on a shared 54th place on the index, with 4.1 out of 10 points.
At the bottom end of the scale, Haiti and Bangladesh only scored 1.5 out of 10 points, with Nigeria marginally at 1.6 point. Nigeria has been termed one of the world's most corrupt countries by TI's index for years, prompting protests by the Abuja government. According to Nigerian authorities, the TI index does not recognise the alleged large improvements made by the post-1999 civilian government in fighting corruption.
Almost as badly ranked as Nigeria, oil-producing Chad scored 1.7 point, while Angola, Côte d'Ivoire and Congo Kinshasa scored 2.0 points. Also Kenya and Cameroon, given 2.1 points in the index, have been long-time dwellers at the bottom of TI's corruption list. Kenya has yet to move upwards on the list despite an active programme by the new Nairobi government to fight the recognised rampant corruption in the country.
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