Botswana Ranks Best in Sub-Saharan Africa in Corruption Perceptions Index 2009

As you plan your safari trip, you may be concerned with the safety within the countries you plan to visit.  The following information will supply a small piece of information on your due diligence of the issues.  Transparency International (TI) is a the global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption.  As part of this fight, they have developed a rating system for corruption.  This report is broken into Regions of the World.  Included below is the press release by TI for Sub-Saharan Africa.  Having traveled the region, it came as no surprise to me that Botswana ranked first for the region in the review.  Slightly surprising was the high world ranking, Botswana ranked 37th.  For comparison, The US ranked 19th and Puerto Rico ranked 35thAlso for comparison, here are the ranks within the sub-Saharan grouping for other famed safari countries ranked as follows:

  • South Africa – 5th and 55th globally
  • Namibia – 6th and 56th globally
  • Rwanda – 10th and 89th globally
  • Zambia – 14th and 99th globally
  • Tanzania – 25th and 126th globally
  • Uganda – 27th and 130th globally
  • Kenya – 32nd and 146th globally (tie with Zimbabwe)
  • Zimbabwe – 32nd and 146th (tie with Kenya)

At a time when massive stimulus packages, fast-track disbursements of public funds and attempts to secure peace are being implemented around the world, it is essential to identify where corruption blocks good governance and accountability, in order to break its corrosive cycle” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.

It is clear to anyone reading the news or watching television that no region of the world is immune to the perils of corruption.  With this backdrop, Transparency International has released the 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which is a measure of domestic, public sector corruption.

Regional Highlights: Sub-Saharan Africa

Countries/Territories included:  in the Sub-Saharan Region: 47

Of the 47 countries reviewed in the region (the same as in 2008), 31 scored less than 3 (out of 10), indicating that corruption is perceived as rampant, while 13 scored between 3 and 5, indicating that corruption is perceived as a serious challenge by country experts and businessmen. As in 2008, only three countries scored more than 5: Botswana, Mauritius and Cape Verde.

While some countries appear to improve their scores or ranking in comparison with others in Sub-Saharan Africa, these changes do not reflect substantial and sustainable improvements in local accountability. The overall picture remains one of serious corruption challenges across the region.

As in previous years, the CPI results show that corruption has a particularly stark and devastating effect on countries that face ongoing political instability and high levels of poverty. Somalia, once again, is at the bottom of the ranking with a score of 1.0 as continued conflict and corruption prevent it from embarking on reforms to overcome economic and political collapse.

Others scoring 2.0 or less include resource-rich countries such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Chad and Sudan. Despite their potential for generating huge revenues that could increase social development, these countries have not been able to translate their wealth into sustainable poverty-reduction programs. Instead, high levels of corruption in the extractive industries consistently contribute to economic stagnation, inequality and conflict.

Countries that score 3.0 or above and are perceived as relatively less corrupt, still face enormous challenges in the fight against corruption. While legal frameworks have been increasingly strengthened across the sub-region, their enforcement remains inconsistent.

In Liberia, the post-conflict government has received international recognition for its efforts to stamp out corruption. However, recent scandals affecting government procurement and financial management, and the perception that too many government officials are political appointees, High-profile anti-corruption cases and scandals continue to be regularly reported in countries including South Africa, Ghana and Senegal and risk undermining political stability as well as the governments’ capacity to provide effective basic services in sectors such as education, health and water. In such a context, corruption levels can mean the difference between life and death.

In Kenya, Guinea, Zimbabwe and Niger political leaders have failed to address the vicious cycle that links corruption to poverty. Local anti-corruption activists and whistleblowers courageous enough to publicly expose weaknesses in accountability systems are increasingly at risk as government crackdowns limit democratic opposition and stifle civil society’s ability to express the voice of the people.

Individual cases, such as reports of massive corruption within the Harare City Council in Zimbabwe, are proof that only the introduction of clear and robust accountability systems with independent oversight, risk-management and full disclosure of the use of public funds, can help build systems of accountability that can reduce perceptions of public sector corruption. In Niger, the president’s decision to seize emergency powers and to dissolve both parliament and the constitutional court after it ruled that a referendum to allow him to seek a third consecutive term was unconstitutional, was a blatant disregard by the political leadership of the integrity of Niger’s public institutions.

With government efforts to tackle corruption seen as ineffective across the region, it is clear that there must be renewed commitments to implement anti-corruption reforms and legislation and to introduce preventative measures, including education programs. This will help to restore public trust and contribute to a reduction in the levels of corruption throughout the region.


  • The 2009 CPI is calculated using data from 13 sources from 10 independent institutions. All sources measure the overall extent of corruption (frequency and/or size of bribes) in the public and political sectors, and all sources provide a ranking of countries, i.e., include an assessment of multiple countries.
  • Evaluation of the extent of corruption in countries/territories is done by two groups: country experts, both residents and non-residents, and business leaders. In the 2009 CPI, the following seven sources provided data based on expert analysis: African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Bertelsmann Foundation, Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, Global Insight and the World Bank. Three sources for the 2009 CPI reflect the evaluations by resident business leaders of their own country, IMD, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, and the World Economic Forum.
  • For a detailed explanation of the CPI method please visit
Corruption Index Map of Africa

Corruption Index Map of Africa

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