Most Corrupt Countries In Africa: The 2023 reports from Transparency International on Africa’s corruption index is quite detailed and the opposite of encouraging, especially that of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of many countries rise and fall in the face of various factors including the coronavirus pandemic and economice decline.
Sub-Saharan Africa comprises of countries such as Burundi, Seychelles, Nigeria, Cameroun, Kenya, Cape Verde, Lesotho, the Gambia, Djibouti, Ghana, Angola, Ethiopia, Liberia, etc. which lie to the South of the Sahara desert. They have been recorded to have the lowest Corruption Perception Index in the whole of Africa, show little or no signs of improvement and is in need of speedy intervention.
With COVID-19 came a fresh spread of economic hardship, in addition to exposing the more corruption loopholes in the system. People were told to stay at home by an order of lockdown, and the sick and infected ones among them did not all have access to proper medical care, due to the very poor healthcare systems in place. Despite the fact that this happened as a result of misuse of appropriated funds, a typical example of corruption in modern day Africa, the corruption rate continued to rise, fuelled and fanned to greater heights by the economic decline. Things were so difficult and harsh for many that riots, revolts and protests broke out in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially during the pandemic.
People were not going about their businesses as they used to and so the chain of commerce suffered. A working solution or alleviation would have been the issuance of palliatives to those who need it. However, this too was hijacked and misappropriation by corrupt officials. Prices, especially food prices, skyrocketed. Cases of bribery also increased; reports from the Global Corruption Barometer showed that about one in every four persons in Africa has had to pay a bribe to access essential services supposed to be duly provided by the government in place.
It is no use that a place high up on the corruption radar has only dealt serious harm to the continent of Africa. It is also a huge barrier to the achievements of all their development goals and targets, as well as economic improvement. Only a united and decisive action against the further decay of the system can save the continent from further plunging into the depths of its current state.
Top 16 Corrupt Countries In Africa Currently
Still on the Transparency International reports, the countries with the least Corruption Perception Index include Mauritius, Rwanda, Cape Verde, Namibia, Botswana, Seychelles, etc. They are some of the countries with the least propensity to corruption in the continent of Africa. The most corrupt countries in Africa are listed below.
1. Somalia: Somalia tops the list a most corrupt country in Africa. The high corruption rate in the country is further facilitated by the unrest, state of anarchy and insecurity in the country. Bribery is also the order of the day, as some government officials allow themselves to be bribed, and therefore, look the other way when illegal and unlawful acts are carried out.
Even though Somalia’s constitution clearly prohibits many forms of corruption, the process of implementing said laws is no being carried out.
Institutions and parastatals are in a disorganized state, and unable to support resistance against the cloud of corruption upon the country. There is no framework or set rules for the regulation of state activities, and the economy is bound and unable to grow in such state.
2. South Sudan: South Sudan rank high on the list because it is especially plagued by bribery. It seems like most things, including engaging in commercial activities will not be successful unless bribes are given. To run one’s business without qualms, one has to have some form of government affliation, or rather ‘buy‘ it.
The judicial system in South Sudan is nothing to write home about either. It is crippled by corruption too and unable to help the issue in the country.
3. Equatorial Guinea: Reports have it that the corruption control in Equatorial Guinea is incredibly low. The citizens no longer have faith in the ability and performance of the public officials. This is because these authorities only work for their own public benefits.
4. Sudan: Sudan is on the list of most corrupt African countries because of the profound permeation of corruption in nearly all sectors of the country, particularly the economic sector. The corruption in the country also reigns in the political realm where authorities abuse their powers and favoritism is the order of the day.
5. Libya: Ever since that collapse of Gaddafi’s rulership in 2010, Libya has been thrown into a state of absolute turmoil. The economy fell drastically and the public and industry sectors have taken a nosedive into a deep trench of corruption. The once booming oil sector is now plagued by corruption and vandalism.
The commercial industry is in a constant tug-of-war with businesses run by the state, as the latter arbitrarily and unlawfully takes over the market and stifles any form of competition form private ventures.
6. Democratic Republic of Congo: DR Congo is a country that seems to thrive on oppression and suppression, especially of those who speak out against the corrupt asutem or take measures to curtail it. The democratic system in place is rather frail and doesn’t challenge the corrupt whims of politicians in the country.
The country’s internal security is also in jeopardy, as it is not in control of it’s own armed forces. There’s a constant struggle for control and power tussle between the country’s already depleted forces and local militia both within and along its borders.
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7. Guinea Bissau: Guinea Bissau was listed as 7th on the top ten most corrupt African nations. Corruption has invaded the system and caused a malfunctioning of the otherwise organised government departments.
8. Congo: Congo is the 165 least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, and the eighth most corrupt country in Africa according to the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.
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9. Burundi: It seems to be that only a societal analysis and a review of policies will salvage the state of Burundi. This is because the current policies and agencies put in place to combat the corruption in the country has failed to dent the burden of corruption upon the country. The corruption rate is steadily on the increase and is a deep cause of alarm, so much that it has caused a state of unrest and instability in the country.
10. Chad: In addition to security issues made worse by insurgency, Chad is also pervaded by corruption. Its economy suffers a huge blow as a result, and the rule of law is barely enforceable. Many people act in a corrupt light, in a way that suggests that they are above the way.
There is however, an existence of legislation against corruption with sanctions harsh enough to deter any person. But this doesn’t deter the perpetrators of corrupt acts in Chad; they instead target, entrap and impose these sanctions and punishments on perceived enemies of the government or members of opposition.
11. Zimbabwe: On the 11th place, we have the Republic of Zimbabwe. Research has shown that Zimbabwe is one of the countries that has the highest rate of corruption in Africa since she gained her independence till today. According to Transparency International, Zimbabwe losses over $5,000,000 everyday because of the high rate of corruption in her public sector.
There has also been reports of unaccountability of many public heads for money which were supposed to be for public use. Government of the country has also passed many laws in other to benefit themselves rather than the country at large. For example, the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill.
Of course, there are also several government agencies that was put in place to stop corruption but they all seem not to be working. For example, the Zimbabwean Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) actually has little or no power to stop corruption in the country.
12. Nigeria: In Nigeria, corruption is a persistent problem. According to estimates from 2012, Nigeria has lost more than $400 billion to corruption since becoming independent. South Sudan, which was listed at 180th on the Corruption Index for 2021, was the most corrupt nation, while Denmark had the lowest level of corruption. Due to their ties to Nigeria’s oil and gas sectors, politicians in that country enjoy positions of authority and money.
About 90% of all export earnings from Nigeria come from the sale of oil and gas.
These industries, which receive tax dollars from the energy sector, are under the ownership of many politicians. Every aspect of the Nigerian administration is corrupt. It is claimed that corruption within the state machinery costs the nation billions of dollars annually. This corruption ranges from significant contract fraud at the top to small-scale bribery, criminal enterprises, embezzlement, and snatching salaries from employees.
13. South Africa: In South Africa, corruption is defined as the illicit exploitation of public resources for private advantages, such as bribery as well as unlawful favoritism. In 2017 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index gave South Africa a rating of 43 out of 100, ranking the country 71st out of 180 countries. Both a high score as well as a low ranking show that people trust the public sector of the country. With a score of 44 in 2021, South Africa had made a small improvement and was ranked 70th out of 180 countries.
Although South Africa has a strong anti-corruption framework, laws are not consistently upheld, and accountability in public sectors like healthcare is still subpar. To deter whistleblowers from disclosing corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors, internal punishments have also been used.
14. Mozambique: Mozambique’s republic has deteriorated as the nation deals with deteriorating economic circumstances and rising armed conflict. Corrupt officials are mostly to blame for the rising instability in the economic, governance, environment, as well as security sectors. As a result, the necessity to tackle the problem of corruption and strengthen anti-corruption mechanisms is urgent. In the interim, there was a huge discovery.
Meanwhile, the discovery of abundant natural resources has raised the stakes in the fight against corruption. Incomes from resources can either finance structural change, development, and the reduction of poverty, or they can be used as incentives for grand corruption to continue with disastrous results. The ongoing conflict in Mozambique’s north, which is fueled by a complicated web of intertwined grievances, has increased the case for spending money on restoring faith in government institutions rather than on a unilaterally security-focused strategy.
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15. Cameron: Since the country’s independence, corruption has been rife. Corruption has spread to every aspect of society and the government, affecting the executive, judicial system, police, and even the commercial sector. The insufficient political will to combat corruption and neopatrimonialism are the key contributing factors. Other factors include hidden agendas and a lack of moral obligation, a deficient judicial system and virtually no opposition in the legislative branch, favoritism and nepotism, a weak system of accountability, and some others.
The Cameroonian government has made some actions to combat the issue of corruption in the nation. In late 2013, Cameroon entered the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to improve transparency in the country’s oil sector. Doing business in Cameroon is difficult due to several high corruption risk sectors, including customs and governmental procurement.
16. Uganda: Large-scale theft of public monies, small-scale corruption including public officials throughout all levels of society, and pervasive political patronage structures are all characteristics of corruption in Uganda. Foreign funding has made elite corruption in Uganda through a patronage system worse. Large sums of resources that the government has received through aid have contributed to the corruption that exists in the nation. Gaining allies and support through corruption is a tactic employed by officials to hold onto power. Due to the lack of openness in government transactions, one of the more recent types of corruption is through public procurement.
In Uganda, corruption is nothing new. Governments in Uganda have a lengthy history of corruption. The degree of corruption in some governments was higher than in others.
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It is clear that this deep plunge into the well of corruption is detrimental to the progress of the continent. Transparency International is of the opinion that Africa can tackle corruption by taking certain immediate actions such as: regulating public services and funds injected into the sector for such purpose to curb embezzlement, reinstate the principle of checks and balances as well as the true spirit of democracy.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.