This is an index that is put together bTransparency International. They are a global movement whose thrust is to realize a society in which government, business, civil society and daily lives are corruption-free. They have at least 100 chapters globally and are headquartered in Berlin. The index is borne out of extensive research across nations (180 of them) of the world. The CPI 2019 which I shall be delving into in this article carried details that are correct as at January 2020. In terms of the perceived levels of public sector corruption, Zimbabwe has a score of 24 (0 being highly corrupt and 100 being very clean). That places Zimbabwe at number 158 out of 180 countries.

Some Global Highlights

The Sub-Saharan Africa region has been the lowest scoring region in terms of corruption since 2018. It has an average score of 32 out of 100 (0 being highly corrupt and 100 is very clean). It has been noted that corruption is rampant in nations where big money finds its way effortlessly into electoral campaigns. That is also coupled with those nations’ governments only paying attention to wealthy or well-connected people. I am sure you know this to be commonplace in Zimbabwe and Sub-Saharan Africa in general. It is not surprising why the region is riddled with corruption.

Political Integrity – A Pivotal Metric

The CPI 2019 reveals that there must be a closer look at the relationship between politics, money and corruption. It has been noted that nations that enforce strict electoral campaign finance regulations have lower levels of corruption. Such countries have average scores of 70 and those that are not like that average around 34 as their score. Concentrated political power amongst a few select wealthy individuals has been found to be prevalent in countries with low CPI scores.

Sub-Saharan Africa In General

The top 5 highest scoring countries in the region are Seychelles, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Rwanda and Mauritius. They have CPI scores of 66, 61, 58, 53, and 52 respectively. As pointed earlier Transparency International notes with concern that money is a tool used to win elections in this region. It is also used for the consolidation and centralization of power whilst advancing personal interests in the process. It has been noted that virtually all countries in this region have some form of reforms in place to curb corruption. However, it is the implementation that is extremely porous.

A Look At The Global Top Scorers

The top 5 scorers globally are Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland. Their CPI scores are 87, 87, 86, 85, 85, and 85 respectively. Some very interesting things have been unearthed about such countries. Locally these countries are faring well in terms of the low incidence of corruption. Interestingly, these same countries have been found to be playing central roles in transnational corruption – imagine that! Money laundering and private sector corruption are rampant in such nations, especially across borders. It turns out that enforcing legislature aimed at curbing foreign bribery is disturbingly low.

It suffices to say that the area of corruption is a somewhat complex one the world over. Whether a country is a top scorer or a low scorer in terms of the CPI there are burning issues requiring attention. I am now going to conclude by briefly laying out some of the recommendations cited by Transparency International.

Transparency International noted that most countries are failing to show any improvement in tackling corruption. They recommended that the reduction of big money in politics is central to tackling corruption. They also suggested that it is important to promote inclusive political decision-making as that helps annihilate corruption. Transparency International put forward 7 recommendations that can help curb corruption. Managing conflicts of interest, controlling political financing, strengthening electoral integrity, regulating lobbying activities, tackling preferential treatment, empowering citizens and reinforcing checks and balances. Overall, for as long as political integrity is lacking in governments, corruption will rage on.