Botswana has been ranked 34 out of 180 countries and placed among countries to watch in this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released on Tuesday by Transparency International. The country comes second at a score 61 out of 100 after Seychelles which tops the Sub-Saharan region at score 66 out of 100. Cabo Verde follows Botswana closely at 57 out of 100.

The report presents a largely gloomy picture for Africa with only eight out of 49 countries scoring more than 43 out of 100 on the index, despite commitments from African leaders in declaring 2018 as the African Year of Anti-Corruption. According to the report, countries like Seychelles and Botswana, which score higher on the CPI than other countries in the region, have a few attributes in common.

Both have relatively well-functioning democratic and governance systems, which help contribute to their scores. The report underscores that these countries are the exception rather than the norm in a region where most democratic principles are at risk and corruption is high.

Botswana alongside Angola, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are countries to watch, given some promising political developments. However, Transparency International pins hope on whether these new administrations will follow through on their anti-corruption commitments moving forward. At the very bottom of the index for the seventh year in a row, Somalia scores 10 points, followed by South Sudan at 13 to round out the lowest scores in the region.

With an average score of just 32, Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest scoring region on the index, followed closely by Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with an average score of 35. Sub-Saharan Africa remains a region of stark political and socio-economic contrasts and many longstanding challenges.

While a large number of countries have adopted democratic principles of governance, several are still governed by authoritarian and semi-authoritarian leaders. Autocratic regimes, civil strife, weak institutions and unresponsive political systems continue to undermine anti-corruption efforts. 

Notwithstanding Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall poor performance, there are a few countries that push back against corruption, and with notable progress.Two countries – Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal – are, for the second year in a row, among the significant improvers on the CPI.

In the last six years, Côte d’Ivoire moved from 27 points in 2013 to 35 points in 2018, while Senegal moved from 36 points in 2012 to 45 points in 2018. These gains may be attributed to the positive consequences of legal, policy and institutional reforms undertaken in both countries as well as political will in the fight against corruption demonstrated by their respective leaders.

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