Corruption perception index rank: how perceptions are hurting Zimbabwe

On Tuesday, the 3rd of December, Transparency International (TI) launched this year’s results of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The CPI is a tool developed and used by TI to rank countries and territories in accordance with the perceived levels of corruption in the public sector.

A score of 100 means the country is perceived as clean and 0 is perceived as very corrupt. Covering 177 countries, the 2013 index paints a worrying picture. While a handful perform well, not one single country gets a perfect score. More than two-thirds score less than 50.69% of countries in the world scored less than 50%. In Sub Saharan Africa, 90% of countries scored below 50

A country’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries and territories included in the index. This index is informed by data sources in the form of experts that are in business and governance sector and secondary data sources that include but are not limited to the World Bank, Transparency International and Global Insight Country Ratings.

What is remarkable about the CPI is that it targets the public sector and this in any nation is the largest sector, providing goods and services to the whole populace at one point or the other. The index therefore acts as the whistle blower to the rot taking place in a nation. This is so because the CPI provides the early system warnings that there is abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery that continues to ravage societies. It shows that in fighting corruption the public sector is still the largest shareholder. This is not to say the private sector is very clean, but the scope of the CPI does cover the private sector.

The CPI is worth taking seriously because the way a nation is perceived indicates and determines investor influx. If Zimbabwe is perceived as corrupt that perception serves to deter serious investors and this means the economy will stay as it is or else it will deteriorate even more. The environment therefore has to be conducive in order to stimulate direct foreign investment. Any serious investor will check a country/companies’ history before it releases it funds; this is after all the practice of good business.

Of the 177 countries included in the Index, Zimbabwe ranked as number 157 thereby rendering the nation as the most corrupt country in the SADC region. Of the 100 points, that Zimbabwe could attain, the country got a score of 21. 21 out of 100 is not a good score, whichever lens one uses. This clearly indicates that a lot of work and effort needs to be coordinated to restore Zimbabwe’s image. What is also needful is a demonstration of the rule of enforcement. Zimbabwe seems to be lacking in this regard as indicated by the litany of allegations that are levied towards high ranking officials as was reported in the Daily News, 18 September on the former ZMDC boss who was accused of defrauding investors to the tune of US $6million, there was also another piece in the Daily News (Top cop’ scandal explodes, Oct 2011) and the AG’s report in the NewsDay that indicated a lot of anomalies in the previous parliament. The rule of enforcement therefore needs to be demonstrated so that individuals can be held accountable for their acts of corruption.

High performing countries therefore, provide lessons for other countries and a lot can be gleaned from their performance. Learning from these countries will enable low performing countries to turn around the negative perceptions that plague their governments. If this negative perception continues then efforts into universal aspirations like the Millennium Development Goals will face bottlenecks and society’s potential will never be realised.

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