By on February 18, 2016
Ghana as a country (and Africa as a whole) loses huge sums of money due to corruption each year. Monies that would have otherwise been used for developmental projects, are diverted into the private accounts of some government officials. The scope of corruption is even broader than that. When politicians take decisions that benefit themselves but not the entire populace, it is also termed as corruption. Without a proper definition of the term, we may lose sight of some corrupt acts that need to be noted and addressed too.
According to Investopedia.com, ‘Corruption can include giving or accepting bribes or inappropriate gifts, double dealing, under-the-table transactions, manipulating elections, diverting funds, laundering money and defrauding investors’. There are so many corrupt practices that government officials knowingly or unknowingly involve themselves in. It is understandable - but not pardonable - that sometimes corruption can result from an oversight maybe in a transaction or the signing of some documents. Whatever the case is, we expect our government officials to be circumspect in their dealings and have the interest of the citizens at heart. Therefore practical steps must be taken to curb the occurrence of such acts because they rob a nation of its glory, development and wealth.
Transparency International, created the Corruption Perception Index in 1995. It measures the perceived levels of corruption in countries worldwide. You can also describe it as a ranking of countries according to the extent to which corruption is perceived to exist there (investopedia.com). The corruption perception index is measured with a different methodology each year. This makes it difficult to make yearly comparisons. However, the scores range from 0 to 100 (0 = highly corrupt, 100 = highly clean).
The highest levels of corruption are found in countries plagued with conflict and poverty. These conditions appear to make countries a safe haven for all manner of corrupt practices. Ghana’s score in the CPI 2015 was in the news a few months ago. Most Ghanaians were delighted at the news of Ghana making it to the 7th position on the list of the most corrupt African countries - basically because this is an improvement over the country’s rank in previous years. Nevertheless, it is still not good enough. In 2014, Ghana placed 61 out of 174 countries and 56 out of 170 countries in 2015. This is not good enough. Corruption reduces opportunity for employment in the country; it brings about high standard of living and all these make the ordinary Ghanaian unhappy and agitated. Corruption is a canker that must be dealt with once and for all. To all the government agencies, it is your duty and responsibility to remain accountable to the people of Ghana, especially in the appropriation of public funds. And to all non-governmental organizations and Civil Society Organizations in the country, let’s all strive to keep the government on its toes and demand for the right thing to be done. Lastly, to all citizens of this noble country, do not encourage these acts through your actions. Let us all help to protect our resources.
Below is an interactive map that visualizes the CPI of African countries in 2014 and 2015.
Source: Transparency International