CPI releases 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index; Ghana gains two points


The 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released today by Transparency International (TI) scored Ghana 43 out of a possible clean score of 100 and ranked the country 75 out of 180 countries/territories included in this year’s index. This CPI score indicates that Ghana gained 2 points compared to its 2019 score of 41. Ghana’s score also exceeds the Sub- Saharan African (SSA) average score of 32 and is equal to the global average score of 43.

The TI 2020 CPI scores and ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The CPI draws upon 13 data sources which capture the assessment of experts and business executives on a number of corrupt behaviours in the public sector. It uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Global Highlights

In the 2020 CPI, Denmark and New Zealand topped with 88 points each. SyriaSomalia and South Sudan are at the bottom with 14, 12 and 12 points respectively. The highest scoring region is Western Europe and the European Union with an average score of 66, while the lowest scoring region is Sub-Saharan Africa with an average score of 32.

Significant changes –

Since 2012, the earliest point of comparison in the current CPI methodology, twenty-six (26) countries have significantly improved their CPI scores, including Ecuador (39), Greece (50), Guyana (41), Myanmar (28) and South Korea (61). Twenty-two countries significantly decreased their scores, including Bosnia & Herzegovina (35), Guatemala (25), Lebanon (25), Malawi (30), Malta (53) and Poland (56).

Nearly half of countries have been stagnant on the index for almost a decade, indicating stalled government efforts to tackle the root causes of corruption. More than two-thirds of countries scored below 50.

Ghana’s performance vis-a-vis other Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries

Ghana’s score of 43 placed her 10th in SSA. Seychelles is ranked highest with 66 points followed by Botswana with 60, Cabo Verde with 58, Rwanda with 54 and Mauritius scored 53 as the top five countries in SSA. Ghana also performed better than 39 other SSA countries including Benin, Lesotho, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia, etc.

Table 1: Extract of 2020 CPI Scores for SSA countries

Cabo Verde58413
Sao Tome and Principe47637
South Africa44699
Burkina Faso408613

Corruption and Emergency Responses

The 2020 CPI focuses on the relationship between corruption and emergency responses. Corruption poses a critical threat to citizens’ lives and livelihoods, especially when combined with a public health emergency.

According to Transparency International, the 2020 CPI reveals that, persistent corruption is undermining health care systems and contributing to democratic backsliding amid the COVID-19 pandemic. TI says, countries that perform well on the index invest more in health care and are better able to provide universal health coverage and are less likely to violate democratic norms and institutions or the rule of law.

In a statement to launch the 2020 CPI, Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International intimated “COVID-19 is not just a health and economic crisis, it is a corruption crisis and one that we are currently failing to manage”. She further stated that “the past year has tested governments like no other in memory, and those with higher levels of corruption have been less able to meet the challenge. But even those at the top of the CPI must urgently address their role in perpetuating corruption at home and abroad.”

It is important to note that, eighty per cent (80%) of the countries that significantly have improved their CPI scores since 2012 also have the percentage of their health expenditure to GDP above five per cent (5%).

The above correlation applies in the case of Ghana as the World Bank’s report on the average percentage of health expenditure to GDP1 between 2000-2018 shows that, the nine (9) SSA countries that performed better than Ghana in the 2020 CPI also spend higher on health (between 9.5 – 4.0 percent of GDP) as compared to Ghana’s 3.9 percent of GDP.

Though in Ghana, Government’s measures at managing the pandemic and its related impact in 2020 was generally commendable, still outstanding is the issue of accountability. To reduce incidences of corruption and better respond to current and future crises, Ghana Integrity Initiative recommends that Government:

  1. Strengthens oversight institutions to ensure resources reach those most in need. Anti-corruption authorities and oversight institutions must have sufficient funds, resources, and independence to perform their duties in real time to identify and prevent diversion of government support
  2. Enforces procurement rules to all contracts. Government must stay within the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act 663 while preventing the abuse of single source procurement during emergencies like COVID-19
  3. Ensures open and transparent contracting to combat wrongdoing, identify conflicts of interest and ensure fair pricing
  4. Publishes relevant data and guarantee access to information to ensure the public receives easy, accessible, timely and meaningful information including – (i) COVID- 19 procurement contracts above a minimum value, (ii) names and beneficial ownership of companies awarded contracts, (iii) validating delivery of services and goods, and (iv) developing specific budget lines for COVID-19 reporting
  5. Speeds up the digitisation of the economy to facilitate more efficient and transparent delivery of key services in the pandemic period and also facilitates the ease of doing business and prevent artificial opacity
  6. Defends democracy and promote civic space and rights to create the enabling conditions to hold governments accountable.