Editor’s Note: January 31, 2019

Does more corruption always mean less development?

Transparency International has just released its 2018 corruption perception index. It ranks 180 countries globally according to perceived levels of public sector corruption among experts and business people on a scale of 0 – 100, with the latter being the best possible score.

In what has become a ritual since it was first published in 1995, sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s worst performing region with an average score of 32.

The findings will come as news to no one. Corruption has long been linked to underdevelopment on the continent.

But the index raises an awkward issue. More corruption does not necessarily mean less development.

China – the standout success of recent decades – sits below the likes of Ghana, Senegal and Burkina Faso at 87. Eastern Europe and Central Asia score marginally higher than sub-Saharan Africa at 35, while emerging markets like Brazil (105), Vietnam (117) and Turkey (78) have average to poor scores. Yet they outperform their African counterparts on most development indicators.

There is no contradiction here. High levels of corruption have accompanied development in every corner of the globe – including developed economies.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean corruption is not a serious problem for Africa – or desirable. 

It’s a reminder that there is more to economic development than tackling graft.

From The Continent

Nigeria’s leading opposition candidate in presidential elections on February 16, Atiku Abubakar, has said he plans to set up a $25bn fund to boost private sector investment in infrastructure if he wins the vote. Abubakar is hoping to unseat incumbent Muhammadu Buhari, whose record on the economy has been widely criticized. More: Bloomberg

Kenya has said it hopes to launch a derivatives market in the first half of 2019 to help boost liquidity on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. If successful the bourse will become only the second in sub-Saharan Africa to do so after Johannesburg. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat


The amount by which shares in South Africa-based retailer Shoprite fell during trading on Wednesday, the most since 1999, following poor first-half earnings. More: Bloomberg

The Global Perspective

Airtel Africa, the regional operation of India’s Bharti Airtel, plans to raise $200m from the Qatar Investment Authority through a primary share issue to reduce debt. This is part of efforts by Bharti Airtel to fund the roll out of 4G in India amid pressure on revenue and profitability in its home market. More: Economic Times

French car maker Renault is considering setting up an assembly plant in Ghana. This comes after Volkswagen and Nissan announced plans to do so in 2018, part of a wider investment drive by the automotive industry in sub-Saharan Africa. More: News Ghana

The Daily Follow