The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) published by anti-graft body Transparency International (TI) has ranked Ghana 56th out of 168 countries in the world with a score of 47 in the fight against corruption.
According to TI, Ghana is the 7th least corrupt country in Africa after Cape Verde – 55, Seychelles – 55, Rwanda – 54, Mauritius and Namibia which scored 53.
Ghana performed poorly in the last publication when it was ranked 2nd after South Africa as countries whose governments were perceived to be weak in the fight against corruption.
The latest release is welcome news for the NDC government since it shows a slight improvement in the fight against corruption.
President John Mahama appeared to have received the news with some gladness when he said Ghana had more work to do to eradicate corruption despite the improvement in the latest corruption index ranking.
Mr Mahama, who vehemently denied that Ghana was the 2nd most corrupt country in Africa when a similar report was released, said Ghana’s latest performance is an indication that the country is on the right path in its fight against the canker.
“Transparency International has released its annual Corruption Perception Index for 2015. Ghana ranked 56th out of 167 countries and territories, with an overall score of 47. Although the score is slightly lower than the one for 2014, we moved upward when it comes to ranking—from 61st place in the world in 2014 to 56th place,” President Mahama posted on his Facebook wall.
“Our fight against corruption is visible. In 2008, Ghana was ranked 67th in the world, and in 2012 it was ranked 64th. Since 2008, we are constantly moving upward towards the group of less corrupt countries, and that’s a fact. From 2012 until 2015, Ghana climbed up not less than 8 places in the world hierarchy – which, no matter what others might say, is an unparalleled achievement.
“Ghana today is perceived as less corrupt than important countries like Italy, Greece, Brazil or China. More importantly, Ghana is one of the least corrupt countries in Africa,” he said, adding, “of course, we all know that we still have a lot to do when it comes to fighting corruption. All of us, not only the Government, should be more involved in this fight.
“Without a doubt, Ghana’s results clearly show that we’re on the right path. For this, I thank all of you. God bless you! God bless our Mother Ghana!” the President added.
Interestingly, the report said corruption is still a serious problem in Ghana because, like two-thirds of the rest of the 168 countries or territories ranked by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, Ghana scored below the 50 pass mark.
In the ensuing debate, Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative Vitus Azeem has cautioned the government against rejoicing over the latest ranking but rather do more to bring the situation to a manageable level.
In his estimation, the ranking is not an indication that the country has improved in its bid to fight the canker.
“Yes, Ghana has improved a little in its quest to fight corruption but that should not influence us because it is important for us to be interested in the score and not the ranking,” he said.
Mr Azeem said it was up to the government to provide what he called ‘concrete evidence’ of its fight against corruption to increase the positive perception of its efforts.
“We must all condemn corruption and resist it and government needs to do more and when that is done, there would be a vast improvement,” he added.
He said that per the statistics, Ghana is still performing poorly because “in 2014, 175 countries were covered but in this recent report, only 168 countries were covered.”
In the rankings, “we scored 63 in 2014 and 56 this year, a difference of seven, in terms of ranking, and so it is just that seven countries have been dropped from the report and that is what has pushed Ghana up to 56.”
“So that is not something that we should be focusing on; we should be focusing on the score of 47 that is a lower score than what we scored in 2014…. The higher your scores, the better you are perceived to be doing well in the fight against corruption,” he added.
By William Yaw Owusu