Another Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer is out. And it’s not good news for the East African Community (EAC) and Africa in general.
The only silver lining for the bloc is that Rwanda continues its impressive, albeit solitary, strides in the battle against corruption, and is now the least corrupt country in Africa, according to the 2013 TI Barometer.
Rwanda ranked in the category of countries whose corruption incidence range between 10 per cent and 14.9 per cent – the only African nation in that class.
Sudan and Tunisia are the African countries that came closest to Rwanda, having scored between the 15 per cent – 19.9 per cent category.
Closer to home, the majority of Rwanda’s EAC partners came in a distant 50-74.9 per cent category.
In the recent years, the story of the campaign against corruption among EAC partner states has been of mixed fortunes, with some countries making significant improvement, while others have practically stagnated.
The TI’s report came out at a time delegates from across the EAC region were in Kigali attending a conference on good governance, where talk of the worrying trends of corruption levels among the partner states was rife. Indeed, participants urged partner states to take decisive action against graft, saying it was a major impediment to the bloc’s integration agenda.
According to the AU, corruption costs Africa an estimated $148 billion each year. Needless to say the poor is the one who is hit the hardest. The price is too high to afford.
In EAC, given the interconnectedness of our countries, it is almost impossible for one country to succeed in the battle against corruption – at least in the long-run – without the other partners playing their part.
As such, the EAC members need to devise a common approach in the fight against corruption, and be willing to learn from each other in the customary spirit of sharing and replicating best practices.
And the same should happen with other policies. That would be a major step towards full integration.