Somalia sits at the bottom of the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index by Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International that surveyed 180 countries.
The never-ending conflict in the Horn of Africa country remains the leading cause of the runaway corruption, as terrorism, suppression of press freedom, political, social and economic instability, and suppressed freedom of speech have created fertile grounds for the vice to thrive.
“Corruption undermines governments’ ability to protect people and erodes public trust, provoking more and harder to control security threats. On the other hand, conflict creates opportunities for corruption and subverts governments’ efforts to stop it,” says the survey.
Why Somalia is the world’s most corrupt nation
It has been consistently experiencing extreme levels of poverty, battling its worst drought in 40 years but having created an environment where corruption thrives has made Somalia unattractive to relief food agencies.
For the most part, the resultant dysfunctional institutions take the blame for the continuing corruption because they enable misrule. A lack of any form of regulatory mechanisms to address the situation means corruption continues to remain rampant.
Somalia’s corruption virtually runs throughout the regime. From its judicial system, to public services, administration, police, tax and customs administration, legislation, natural resources, public procurement, and the civil society, the scourge remains unabated.
“Leaders can fight corruption and promote peace all at once. Governments must open up space to include the public in decision-making—from activists and business owners to marginalized communities and young people,” says Daniel Eriksson, CEO of Transparency International in the report.
In December 2021, former Somalia president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed suspended the then country’s prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, over corruption and misuse of land.
Then in May 2022, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was re-elected as the country’s president despite being heavily criticized for massive corruption, restrictions on the media and abuse of power during his previous term in office.
Africa just cannot root out corruption
Continentally, Botswana, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Niger, Mauritania, Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have seen the most marked improvement in their corruption perception scores.
The rest of the countries in the continent have either stagnated or deteriorated in their ratings as Africa keeps struggling to kick out corruption.
Seychelles, however, remains the least corrupt country in the continent. It is ranked 23rd in the world, one point ahead of the US.
Globally, Denmark leads in the index, followed by Finland, New Zealand, Norway, and Singapore. Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen join Somalia and South Sudan at the bottom of the list as the world’s worst performing countries in stamping out corruption.