Monrovia, Liberia – February 18, 2019: The fight against public corruption in the West African country of Liberia appears to be a losing exercise in addition to lackluster support from the George M. Weah Administration.
West Africa- January 30, 2019: The 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 180 countries worldwide, including those of the Mano River Union (MRU) sub-regional economic grouping in West Africa have been released by Transparency International (TI).
Cote ‘Ivoire showed relatively highest among the four countries with a CPI of 35 and a global score of 105. Although in comparison to other countries in the MRU, Cote d’Ivoire remained higher, it dropped 1 base point from the prior year. Nine sources were used to determine the CPI of Cote d’Ivoire and consist of the African Development CPIA, Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Ratings, Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, PRS International Country Risk Guide, World Bank CPIA, World Economic Forum EOS, World Justice Project Rule of Law Index and Varieties of Democracy Project.
Next is Liberia whose CPI rose to 32 – an improvement of 1 base point over the prior year using eight sources including African Development Bank CPIA, Bertelsman Foundation Transformation Index, Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, PRS International Country Risk Guide, World Bank CPIA, World Economic Forum EOS, World Justice Rule of Law Index and Varieties of Democracy Project. Liberia’s global ranking is reported at 120.
Sierra Leone’s CPI was reported at 30 with no change from the prior year. Based on the assessment of nine sources including African Development Bank, Bertelsman Foundation Transformation Index, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Ratings, Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, PRS International Country Risk Guide, World Bank CPIA, World Economic Forum EOS, World Justice Project Rule Index and Varieties of Democracy Projects . The global ranking of Sierra Leone is 129.
At the bottom of the list is Guinea which came in with a CPI of 28 – improving 1 base point from 2017. Six sources were considered for its score and include the African Development Bank CPIA, Bertelsman Foundation Transformation Index, Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, PRS International Country Risk Guide, World Bank CPIA and Varieties of Democracy Projects.
According to TI, “ Since its inception in 1995, the Corruption Perception Index, Transparency International’s flagship research product, has become the leading global indicator of public sector corruption. The index offers and annual snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries and territories from all over the globe. In 2012, Transparency International revised the methodology used to construct the index to allow for comparison of score from year to the next…”
In his assessment of the report, Mr. James T. Fiske, a Liberian medical professional who is currently in his doctoral nursing residency at Arizona University told the West African Journal Magazine that, “ To improve corruption perception requires transforming the conditions that create those perceptions. In other words, the impression that Africa and African countries are poor is a fallacy that should be replaced by a more realistic appraisal of what is occurring. That is, African countries are not poor but extremely mismanaged! I call this the paradox of poverty. African governing class do not hold themselves or are being held accountable for making sure that the variables that make the current rich environments that persist in many African countries work for the betterment of its people. No one fought to decolonize Africa but Africans and no one will transform the wealth of Africa for Africans, but Africans. There is no third world, but one world divided between one group of people who hold themselves accountable for their development (developed nations) and those waiting for others to do it for them (underdeveloped countries).”
A social media commentator and political analyst in Monrovia Mr. Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei, in his analysis of the TI report noted that, “MRU countries must build institutions and enforced institutional rules to constrain regulate the behavior of public officials. Fighting corruption has been a campaign pledge of every contemporary African politician but they always fail to build the necessary institutions to support them in fighting corruption, some of them end up witch hunting. To improve their CPI scores they must govern according to the law, deliver services with transparency and hold people accountable for their actions.
Globally, Denmark and New Zealand scored a CPI of 87.The 2018 CPI draws on surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
“Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption,” Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International says.
Public corruption in the West African sub-region and across the continent harms democracy and national growth and governance.
By Emmanuel Abalo
West African Journal Magazine
Philadelphia, PA USA – Transparency International (TI), an organization dedicated to the global coalition against corruption, in a just released report entitled Combatting Corruption in Mining Approvals: Assessing the Risks in 18 Resource-Rich Nations details how corruption can get a foothold in mining approvals processes before ground is even broken.
TI defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain” and furthers adds that this recognizes that all actors in the mining approvals process – not just government officials-have the potential to engage in corrupt conduct.
TI, in its report, also listed examples from a range of diverse countries and identities including some in Africa, important roles for government, the mining industry and civil society to identify, prevent and mitigate these risks.
In order to understand and identify the corruption risks in the mining sector of the countries examined, TI urged the following questions be asked:
- Who benefits from mining approval decisions?
- How ethical and fair is the process for opening land to mining?
- How fair and transparent is the licensing process?
- Who get the right to mine?
- How accountable are companies for their environmental and social impacts and
- How meaning is community consultations? The 102 page report, TI utilized what it refers to as the Mining Award Corruption Risk Assessment (MACRA) tool which undertakes a rigorous and consistent approach to identifying and assessing corruption risks in various contexts.
- The steps in the tool include:
- Defining the assessment
- Mapping the approvals process and practice and identifying vulnerabilities
- Analyzing the approvals context and identifying vulnerabilities
- Determining priority corruption risks for action and
- Assessing corruption risks and validation of the assessment.
The TI report details the top seven risks from the MACRA tool and standings of some African countries which undertook risk assessments.
- What is the risk that community leaders negotiating with a mining company will not represent community members’ interest? Kenya, South African and Zimbabwe were listed a “very high” in the report.
- What is the risk that mining laws have been, or will be, if reform is planned, written to favor private interests before the public interest? Zimbabwe was listed as “very high” while Liberia was assessed as part of a group of risks.
- Assuming consultation with communities or land holders is required, what is the risk that negotiations for landholders or community agreements can be manipulated? Kenya and Sierra Leone were listed as “very high”.
- What is the risk that criteria for awarding licenses, etc will not be publicly knowable? Kenya, South Africa and Sierra Leone were listed as “very high”.
- What is the risk that applicants for licenses, etc will be controlled by undeclared beneficial owners? Zambia and Zimbabwe were rated as “very high” while Kenya was assessed as part of a group of risks.
- What is the risk that, in practice, that there is no due diligence on applicants claims regarding their capacity and financial resources? Kenya, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe were listed as “very high”.
TI is urging governments, civil society and industries around the world to ask the following questions in their own countries, utilize their own examples and context to better understand the risks in their own context to building corruption- free mining processes.
|Political and administrative context||1. Who benefits from mining approval decisions?||Corruption is more likely to occur when:
|Land allocation||2. How ethical and fair is the process for opening land to mining?||Corruption is more likely to occur when:
|Mining licence application and approval||3. How fair and transparent is the licencing process?||Corruption is more likely to occur when:
|Environmental and social impact assessment||4. Who gets the right to mine?||Corruption is more likely to occur when:
|5. How accountable are companies for their environmental and social impacts?||Corruption is more likely to occur when:
|Community consultation||6. How meaningful is community consultation?||Corruption is more likely to occur when:
Some of the African countries listed in the TI report are taking steps to mitigate corruption risks as it relates to the land and mining sector.
Kenya has recently taken steps to protect customary land rights. South Africa has been working to streamline its mining approval process but not without some lingering bureaucratic hurdles. Zimbabwe is moving to install an online presence to ensure accuracy and ease of application in the mining sector.
Zambia has opportunities to de-politicize the mining committee to avoid undue influence and abuse from political appointees as is the case presently. Sierra Leone, in spite of legal requirements for the mining sector, has weak enforcement regimes which must be strengthened and include implementation of the Community Development Agreements which benefit local communities. Presently, the country’s National Minerals Agency is taking steps to be more transparent and is not publishing contracts on a dedicated website.
TI says governments, mining industries, the public must first understand the sources of corruption and then implement effective solutions and mitigating measures.
“Countries with robust approvals regimes can attract higher quality investments from major players who avoid corruption-prone jurisdictions, improve economic returns to their citizens and reduce rates of social conflict around mining projects,” the global corruption watchdog organization says.
By Emmanuel Abalo
West African Journal Magazine