Rwanda graft index falters but ranking unaffected

Rwanda's corruption perception score has dropped slightly but the country is still among Africa's five least corrupt nations according to Transparency International's 2014 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

Rwanda’s corruption perception score has dropped slightly but the country is still among Africa’s five least corrupt nations according to Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The index, released yesterday, shows that this year, Rwanda scored 49 per cent compared to 53 per cent last year and is now ranked 55th out of 175 countries surveyed globally.

However, Rwanda still managed to stay among Africa’s least corrupt countries, tying in fifth place with Lesotho and Namibia, after Botswana, Cape Verde, Seychelles and Mauritius.

Globally, no African country features on the list of the world’s least corrupt countries, which is dominated by northern European nations in the order of Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.

However, South Sudan and Somalia are in the ‘unfamiliar landscape’ of most corrupt countries that also include Afghanistan and North Korea.

Experts said there is a connection between corruption prevalence and conflict, pointing out that all the countries perceived to be most corrupt are also currently suffering from major political instability.

For all the countries surveyed, their rankings were based on scores computed from three out of 12 sources of data, including World Bank, World Economic Forum, African Development Bank and other similar institutions.

Transparency Rwanda executive director Apollinaire Mupiganyi said the country’s decline in global score was due to the absence of data from the World Economic Forum (WEF), which was excluded because of altered methodology.

“WEF is one of the primary sources of data for Rwanda, so the exclusion negatively impacted the ranking and the scoring of Rwanda although other sources utilised showed a positive trend,” Mupiganyi said.

WEF, like the 2015 World Bank Doing Business Report, changed its methodology of data computation but did not consult or notify the countries affected.

This, Mupiganyi said, informed Transparency International’s decision to exclude the WEF data from this year’s computations.

Rwanda remains the least corrupt country in East Africa, with Tanzania, ranked 119 globally; Kenya 145, Uganda 142 and Burundi 159 in descending order of regional performance.

“There’s political will to fight corruption by the government through several reforms among which is the promotion of transparent governance and accountability,” said Francis Kaboneka, the minister for local government.

Rwanda bribery index

Also launched yesterday was the Rwanda Bribery Index, which monitors the level of corruption and challenges in fighting the vice.

This year’s bribery index marks the fifth edition and results collected from a sample size of 2,510 respondents from 11 districts paint an interesting picture.

According to the findings, at least 51.8 per cent of Rwandans say they see their country as having low levels of corruption compared to their 26.2 per cent and 16.3 per cent counterparts who think it’s moderate and very high, respectively.

At least 74.3 per cent of Rwandans sampled told researchers that corruption has reduced in 2014 compared to the 72.4 per cent who believed so in 2013.

Meanwhile, 77.6 per cent of respondents said they believe corruption will reduce in 2015.

The bribery index also found that 97.3 per cent of Rwandans have confidence in the government’s efforts to fight corruption, an increase from 88 per cent last year.

“It shows that Rwandans can see government’s efforts to actually combat the practice and we are happy with this,” said Kaboneka.

While 17.8 per cent of those sampled said they had encountered bribery this year, only 14 per cent had actually paid out bribe and when asked, respondents said they wanted to speed up service delivery from relevant officials.

The report says bribery is most prevalent in Police followed by local government, Judiciary, private sector and the national land centre.

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