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At a standstill

Botswana unmoved on Global Corruption Index

In his first speech on assuming the presidency almost two years ago, President Mokgweetsi Masisi declared his intention to fight corruption in the country.

Although there have been efforts, including the introduction of Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Bill, which has since been signed into law, the country has shown little progress in the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The annual study is conducted by Transparency International, a world renowned non-government organisation committed to stamping out corruption across the globe.

The CPI scores 180 countries across the world, rating them from a score of zero to 100, with 100 being ‘very clean’ and zero declared ‘highly corrupt’.

It rates the countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people.

For the third year in a row, Botswana scored 61. The score was enough to rank the country as the 34th least corrupt out of the 180 rated.

According to the report published this week, the CPI 2019 indicates that a number of countries are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption.

In its analysis, Transparency International advises that reducing big money in politics and promoting inclusive political decision-making are essential to curbing corruption.

Addressing the media this week, Masisi admitted he was unimpressed with Botswana’s score.

The President revealed that during the World Economic Forum (WEF) held last week in Davos, Switzerland, he suggested holding the conference on corruption in Botswana.

“Part of the fight against corruption is to talk about it, it is to give validity that it exists in many forms,” declared Masisi, who in the past has named fighting corruption as his number one priority.

According to the Transparency International report, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on the 2019 CPI, with an average score of just 43.

Just like in previous years, the data shows that despite some progress, a number of countries are still failing to tackle public sector corruption effectively.

The research highlights the relationship between politics, money and corruption, warning that unregulated flows of big money in politics make public policy vulnerable to undue influence.

Despite Masisi’s displeasure, Botswana is actually ranked the second least corrupt country in Africa, with only Seychelles, rated at 66, scoring higher.

Whilst the island nation was perceived as the cleanest country on the continent, for the seventh year running Somalia was declared the most corrupt with a score of just nine.

In order to effectively fight corruption in the public sector, Transparency International has made a few recommendations. These include: managing conflicts of interest, controlling political financing, strengthening electoral integrity and empowering citizens.

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