Botswana Again Ranked as the Least Corrupt Country in Africa

Today, Transparency International released its
annual Corruption
Perceptions Index
. This year, New Zealand and Denmark tied for
the least corrupt countries in the world, and Somalia, North Korea,
and Afghanistan were all given the same ranking at the bottom.

Unsurprisingly, conflict areas have
experienced worsening
corruption, and corruption remains high
in much of the Middle East and Africa.

Map from the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index below:


While much of the survey’s findings might not be especially
striking, it is worth pointing out that Botswana has once again
been ranked as the least corrupt country in Africa. This year,
Botswana was ranked as less corrupt than many countries in Europe
such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece (which has improved upon
its 2012 score).

A press
from the government of Botswana cites a number of
bodies as contributing factors to Botswana’s comparatively
impressive ranking:

Botswana’s success in the annual survey over the years has been
attributed to our zero tolerance approach to corruption buttressed
by the putting into place of multiple oversight institution, such
as the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Public
Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB), the Competition
Authority and the Financial Intelligence Agency.

Botswana, as well as being the least corrupt country in Africa,
is also one of Africa’s freest economies. This year, the Heritage
Foundation ranked Botswana as the 30th most economically free
country in the world in their annual Index of Economic
(the only African country to rank higher than Botswana
in this index was the island nation of Mauritius).

Scott Beaulier
, Associate Professor of Economics at Troy
University, has pointed out, some of the early market reforms
adopted by Botswana’s first president, Seretse Khama, were
motivated in part by a desire to reduce corruption (emphasis

Unlike other African leaders, Khama’s program simultaneously
adopted pro-market policies on several important margins. For
example, Khama’s new government promised low and stable taxes to
mining companies. His government opened the doors both to trade and
to people. Furthermore, he kept marginal income taxes low
to deter tax evasion and corruption.

It should not be a surprise that there is a relationship between
economic freedom and corruption, as Ambassador Terry Miller and
Anthony B. Kim pointed out in Chapter
of the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Economic

Corruption can infect all parts of an economy; there is a direct
relationship between the extent of government regulation or other
government intervention in economic activity and the amount of
corruption. Almost any government regulation can provide an
opportunity for bribery or graft. In addition, a government
regulation or restriction in one area may create an informal market
in another. For example, a country with high barriers to trade may
have laws that protect its domestic market and prevent the import
of foreign goods, but these barriers create incentives for
smuggling and a black market for the restricted products.

More from on Africa, corruption, and capitalism
here, here, and here

from Hit & Run

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