By ETimes

Zimbabwe’s ranking remained unchanged at 157 out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) with CPI score dropping to 23 from 24 in 2020, a global league table released by Transparency International (TI) showed on Tuesday.

Each year, the Berlin-based watchdog TI releases an index of public perceptions of corruption in public institutions.

While the southern African nation’s CPI score stood at 23, it is below the regional (sub-Saharan Africa) average score of 33.

Since his ascension to power President Emmerson Mnangagwa made declarations promising to attack corruption in the country as it was a “cancer” undermining national development. Though some high profile members of the society have been arrested for corruption, they are free on bail while their cases are stuck in courts.

Poverty levels rose to unprecedented levels with about 7.9 million Zimbabweans now living in extreme poverty, under the food poverty line of US$29.80 for each person a month, according to the World Bank. At the same time, the Zimbabwe Fight Inequality Alliance indicated that the rich and political elites and wealthy corporations registered an incredible rise in wealth and assets.

“Most of this wealth and assets is part of the massive transfer of wealth from the public sphere into private hands through primitive means of accumulation including unjust and corruption that enable corporates, the rich and political elites to hide their wealth and avoid paying their fair share of taxes,” it said.

In 2021, a Maverick Citizen report estimates that Zimbabwe could be losing up to US$5 billion annually due to corruption related dealings.

Analysts raise the need to tackle high-level graft as it is one of the reasons foreign companies are hesitant to invest in the country.

Previously the country registered its worst ever CPI performance in 2008 when it ranked 166 while 1998 ranks as the best performance ever.

SSA was the lowest scoring region in the world while Western Europe and European Union with an average regional score of 66 was the highest.
TI revealed that with an average score of 33 out of 100, SSA shows no significant improvement from previous year.

With a score of 70, the Seychelles consistently earns top marks in the region, followed by Cabo Verde at 58 and Botswana at 55. At the bottom of the index are Equatorial Guinea at 17, Somalia 123 and South Sudan 11.

“The gains made by top scorers are overshadowed by the region’s poor performance overall – 44 out of 49 countries still score below 50,” reads the report.

“This reinforces the urgent need for African governments to implement existing anticorruption commitments if they are to alleviate the devastating effect of corruption on millions of citizens living in extreme poverty.”

This year, the top countries are Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, each with a score of 88. Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany complete the top 10 – Harare

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