Corruption remains a key challenge for West Africa
The 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index, published by Transparency International, draws a disturbing picture of the perceived level of corruption in West Africa. Admittedly, the region has an average score that is slightly more positive (score 31.7) than that of sub-Saharan Africa as a whole (score 31). It also includes Cabo Verde, which is second on the list of best-rated African countries after Botswana. But in general, the situation is worrying. Of the 17 West African countries (including Chad and Mauritania), 13 rank in the bottom half of the table, and six of them in the last quarter. Seven countries regressed in the ranking compared to 2015, some dramatically. This is the case of Mauritania, which went down 30 places. This is also the case in Ghana, which is considered to be one of the most stable countries on the continent, but lost 16 places in the ranking. Corruption was at the heart of the debate during the last presidential election. The Gambia also lost 22 positions in the ranking. However, the report does not yet take into account the final outcome of the presidential election crisis in January 2017. Apart from Cabo Verde, only Burkina Faso recorded a simultaneous improvement in its score and ranking – by four points and four places since 2015. This performance is encouraging for the country’s on-going democratic transition.