Rwanda has emerged the fourth least corrupt country in Africa and 49th in the world in a global report on graft released by anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International.
The 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released, yesterday, in Germany, saw Rwanda join Botswana, Cape Verde and Mauritius as the four least corrupt countries on the continent.
The 2011 CPI gave Rwanda a score of 5.1 points, ahead of countries like South Africa and beating its East African neighbours by a large margin.
The CPI ranks countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interests.
New Zealand emerged least corrupt in the world scoring 9.5 followed by Denmark and Finland which scored 9.4 while Somalia and North Korea tied on the position of the most corrupt country in the world, scoring 1.0.
Apart from emerging the least corrupt country in East Africa, Rwanda is also one of the few countries that have registered steady improvement from last year, moving from the 66th position with a score of 4.0 to 49th with 5.0 in 2011.
The 5.0 score means that Rwanda crossed to ‘clean countries’ (above the 5.0 mark).
Other countries which improved from 2010 include Norway, Taiwan, Georgia and Chad.
Speaking at a news conference to present the report yesterday, the Chairperson of Transparency Rwanda (TR), Marie Immaculée Ingabire said that the improvement in the ranking is a sign of commitment from both the government and the citizens to fight graft.
“This very positive result is a recognition of all efforts that the country has made in the recent past to curb corruption.”
“We commend the government for its determination and all the ordinary citizens who through their behaviours made this result possible,” Ingabire said.
She noted that there has been political and public will to combat corruption, warning, however, that this should not mean that the efforts slowdown because Rwanda aims to be the least corrupt nation in Africa.
The Executive Secretary of Transparency Rwanda, Apollinaire Mupiganyi, said that the current ranking showed that the efforts to curb corruption have paid off, and is an encouragement to continue the fight.
“Rwanda has registered great progress over the past few years compared to its neighbours in the EAC. There has been an evolution in Rwanda’s ranking between 2007 and 2011,” Mupiganyi said.
In the region, Rwanda is followed by Tanzania at 100, Uganda at 143 and Kenya at 154 while Burundi was ranked at 172, making it the most corrupt country in the region with a score of 1.9.
Rwanda’s score steadily moved from 2.8 in 2007, 3 in 2008, 3.3 in 2009 to 4 in 2010 and now 5 in 2011, a feat which hasn’t been accomplished by any African country.
The Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, noted that the findings of the report are worth acknowledging. He, however, added that the improvement should not be a cause for complacency.
“This result shouldn’t bring about a sense of complacency. It gives us a new task because we haven’t reached the levels we want and there is no guarantee that we can’t decline. Fortunately Rwanda is a country that can think big and achieve big.”
“The more we progress, the higher we aim. Next time we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves with neighbouring countries but rather the least corrupt countries in the world,” Ngoga said.
He called for the role of stakeholders including government institutions, law enforcement organs, the civil society, private sector and the media to step up measures against graft.
“The countries that score highest are the ones in which there is already a culture against corruption. It is not about the aggressiveness of law enforcement. It’s about the society being ready and willing to reject corruption,” Ngoga said.
“When we reach a level where all Rwandans reject corruption and ready to fight it, it will increase efficiency compared to increasing the number of policemen or the budget of Transparency Rwanda.”