Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Rethinking how we measure corruption

Rethinking how we measure corruptionSince the 1990s, perception-based measures have been influential in determining levels of corruption on the continent. The fourth Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) African Governance Review report, argues that such measures misrepresent realities in Africa and are misguiding policymakers and investors.     

The report, titled Measuring corruption in Africa: The international dimension matters, says that many existing indicators are highly subjective and based on the opinions of elites. They are not suited for making country comparisons and ignore the international aspects of corruption.    

"We are concerned that these existing perception-based and mixed indices measures of corruption are flawed," said Namibian Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, at the launch of the Report, which was held during African Development Week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.    

A range of perception-based measures of corruption, such as Transparency International's well-known Corruption Perception Index, compile information from sources and surveys, which are used to determine a country's perceived level of corruption, and rank countries alongside each other.    

Measuring Corruption in Africa argues that the measurements used to 'name and shame' countries can have a dire impact on development, sometimes negatively influencing aid allocations and foreign direct investment. Chantal Uwimana, Transparency International's regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa, said that the Corruption Perception Index was designed as an awareness tool and was never meant to be used for policymaking. "It's really like criticising a car for not flying," she said.     

Olajobi Makinwa, head of Anti-Corruption and Transparency Africa at the United Nations Global Compact, said: "Generally, measuring corruption is fraught with difficulties." While perception-based measures don't work, objective data is difficult to attain as, by nature, corruption is secretive. Read more....

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