Corruption expert debunks Namibia's improved rankings

05 February 2019 | Crime

Speaking at an event hosted by the Finnish embassy in Windhoek last week, local commentator Dr Johannes Coetzee critiqued that international indices are often simplistic and fail to perceive and tackle corruption holistically.

He shared that reflective of the Transparency International (TI) rankings, indeed Namibia has always been one of the top five least corrupt countries in Africa.

However, this allegedly indicates mediocrity as the ranking is just below five out of ten, which in essence reflects as neither good nor bad, “just hanging in there” since 2004.

Coetzee further critiqued that Namibia's average rating over 18 years is 4.8 and for the last 10 years it has been 4.7. This can be interpreted from a statistical perspective to mean that the mode (which is the value that occurs the most) is 4.5 and is of more value than the average, as it is the value often sampled.

Hence the median (which is the middle value of the ratings) is equally 4.5.

As such, considering the similar mode and median ratings for Namibia, the accurate conclusion is that “Namibia is 45% corruption-free and 55 % corrupt”.

Hence, “provided that the most dependant variables stay the same, the country is more likely to be corrupt in the near future than less corrupt,” he explained.

This, according to Coetzee, implies that Namibia is actually “failing to tackle corruption” from an international perspective. Also speaking on corruption indexes and rankings, Finnish ambassador Pirrkko-Liisa Kyöstilä said: “The indexes and rankings are of course very important, but they can sometimes also lull us into thinking that there is no room for improvement. However, it is important to continue efforts to eliminate corruption-inducing opportunities, incentives and loopholes.”

The ambassador enthusiastically noted Namibia's improved TI rankings to 52nd least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, and for placing as the fifth least corrupt country in Africa and second least corrupt country in southern Africa.

She further reflected that despite Finland being ranked as the third least corrupt country by Transparency International, Namibia is ahead of Finland in the policy side as the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had launched its National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan in 2016, whilst the Finnish Anti-Corruption Network was still waiting for its anti-corruption strategy to be tabled in parliament.

“Our two countries could learn from each other and benefit from the best practices in striving towards a corruption-free society,” she added.

The lunch event was attended by local development partners of the Finnish government, spanning from governance, health, education, arts and cultural sectors in Namibia.

*Rakkel Andreas is a research associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).


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