No credible assesments of corruption in Africa: Schlettwein

04 Apr 2016 09:20am
WINDHOEK, 04 APR (NAMPA) - Institutions such as Transparency International, the World Bank and Mo Ibrahim Foundation have not provided credible assessments of the problem of corruption in Africa.
This was said by Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein during the launch of the African Governance Report IV titled ‘Measuring Corruption in Africa: the International Dimension Matters’ on Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The event formed part of the ninth joint African Union Commission and UN Economic Commission for Africa (AUC-ECA) annual meetings of the African Union (AU) conference of Ministers of the Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the Inaugural African Development Week.
“We are concerned that these existing perception-based measures and mixed indices of corruption are methodologically flawed and fail to provide a credible assessment of the problem of corruption in Africa. By focusing on individual perception, attitudes and judgment on the prevalence of corrupt acts, they do not present a reliable picture of the phenomenon in Africa; by being heavily underpinned by sample bias, they are ill-suited for cross-country comparisons over time,” the minister said.
He went on to say because the indices focus on country rankings which “only serve to name and shame”; resultant assessments do not provide useful insights nor practical recommendations to adequately inform policy reforms.
By way of example, Schlettwein stated that South Africa had different rankings on various government-related indices in the year 2013. The country was ranked second in Africa by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index and its Africa Competiveness Report, second to Mauritius. It was ranked sixth, excluding North America, by the Heritage foundation’s Economic Freedom index. South Africa was ranked 10th by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, and it was ranked fourth in the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Ibrahim’s Index of African Governance.
“These wide variations in rankings depending on the governance-related index convey different messages about South Africa, illustrating differences in methodology, analysis and ultimately conclusions about the governance situation of this particular country,” he stated.
Schlettwein went on to say many corrupt practices taking place on the continent are generated and facilitated by non-African players. He made reference to the recent report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, chaired by former President Thabo Mbeki.
The report highlights the scope of the problem, providing ample evidence on how and why the operations of foreign players on the continent are causing significant illicit financial outflows.
“In the African context, targeted interventions are still needed to strengthen institutions in key sectors and areas of policymaking, including development planning, private sector development and macro-economic management,” Schlettwein said.
The AGR-IV focuses on the importance of accurately measuring corruption. It enhances and reemphasises an understanding of the international dimension of corrupt acts and practices, and it highlights the compounding implications for fostering Africa’s structural transformation in a globalised world.