Rwanda joins ranks of 'clean' African states

1st December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Rwanda on Thursday joined the thin ranks of African nations seen as fairly free of graft, in a closely watched global list of countries perceived to be the most corrupt.

Botswana, Cape Verde and Mauritius are still top among African nations on the list compiled by global watchdog Transparency International, but Rwanda ranked fourth after scoring a 5.0 on the chart that ranks countries from sleazy zeroes to virtuous 10s.

Rwanda is still recovering from the horror of the 1994 genocide, but in recent years has made strides in rebuilding its economy and promoting itself as a regional business hub.

President Paul Kagame's government four years ago began a campaign against economic crime, which has led to the conviction and imprisonment of several government ministers, members of parliament and senior civil servants.

When that campaign started in 2007, Rwanda ranked 111th on the Transparency list, with a dismal score of 2.8.

Over the same period, South Africa has made a steady slide downward. In 2007, Africa's largest economy ranked 43rd, with a tidy score of 5.1. This year it rated 64th, with a score of 4.1.

The country has been roiled by a series of high-profile corruption cases. Former police chief Jackie Selebi was found guilty last year of taking bribes from a convicted drug trafficker.

His successor Bheki Cele was suspended last month over questionable leases, while two ministers were sacked as President Jacob Zuma launched his own anti-corruption drive.

Zuma, who has himself survived criminal and corruption investigations, also launched a new probe into a $5-billion arms deal that has tainted South African politics for more than a decade.

Africa's two largest oil producers, Nigeria and Angola, are still mired among the nations seen as the world's most corrupt, ranking 143rd and 168th -- little changed from past showings.

© 2011 AFP

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