A recent UNECA conference as well as specialised reports have focused on rising corruption in Southern Africa. What is the solution?
Despite the 15 Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states being signatories to the African Union (AU) Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) of 2013 and the SADC Protocol against Corruption (SADCPC) of 2001, the level of corruption in Southern Africa has reached alarming proportions. It can now be said to be a major threat to socio-economic transformation, sustainable development and stability in the region.
A conference sponsored by the UNECA sub-regional office for Southern Africa, in collaboration with the AU's sub-regional office for Southern Africa, themed: 'Corruption and the Challenge of Economic Transformation in Southern Africa' was held in Gaborone, Botswana in July and highlighted the disconcerting corruption in the region and Africa.
The 2017 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI) shows that of the 15 countries in the SADC bloc, 11 countries are below the average CPI score of 50/100, out of a total of 180 countries surveyed. Angola is perceived as the most corrupt In the SADC at number 167/180 (with a score of 19), followed by DRC at 161/80 (score 21), Zimbabwe 157/180 (score 22) and Mozambique at 153/180 (score 25).
Only four African countries, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles stand above the 50/100 score and they are the least corrupt in Africa. Botswana ranks at number 34/180 (with a score of 61). The TI-CPI is based on expert opinion and measures the level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Corruption is often defined as the misuse or abuse of office for private gain (World Bank, 1997, UNDP, 1999). Common in both the private and public sectors, it is most endemic in the public sector.
The major driver of corruption in the region has been cited as non-performing economies, resulting in increasing levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality. Other factors such as poor governance, a weak institutional framework, abuse of political power and failing moral fabrics have all combined to drive corruption up in the region.
The late former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, aptly summarised matters thus: "Corruption Is an Insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects in societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts...