Verisk Maplecroft, a leading global risk analytics, research and strategic forecasting company has ranked Botswana as sub-Saharan Africa’s “best performer” with the lowest corruption risk on the continent. This is despite the fact that most private sector companies have over the years refused to sign up to the code of conduct that was set up by the Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM), now Business Botswana, aimed at instituting checks and balances to reduce corruption in the private sector.
In its 2015 annual Corruption Risk Index (CRI), the global risk analytics company’s scored and ranked 198 economies on the prevalence of bribery and the effectiveness of official efforts to combat it. The ranking has been hailed as an effective tool that affords investors a snapshot of the corruption landscape at global, regional and national levels. However, Verisk Maplecroft ranked Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia as the regions with the highest risk to business of bribery. Of the 12 highest risk countries in the world, six were from Sub-Saharan Africa.??The report also cites current World Bank estimates that corruption adds 10percent to business costs globally, with the equivalent of US$1 trillion paid in bribes annually.
“These risks are particularly prevalent in developing economies,” states Trevor Slack, legal and regulatory analyst at Verisk Maplecroft. He added: “Factors such as weak rule of law and a lack of institutional capacity in these markets undermine efforts to combat entrenched systems of patronage, while exposure to corrupt public officials and a reliance on third party agents is also higher.”??In its country risk report, Verisk Maplecroft said Botswana was one of the most stable and least corrupt countries in sub-Saharan Africa and an attractive destination for foreign investment. However, Verisk Maplecroft warned that Botswana’s economy remains vulnerable to external shocks because of its reliance on capital-intensive, export-focused diamond mining.
“While the economic outlook is fairly robust, efforts to diversify the economy have been mixed. The government offers various incentives to encourage foreign investment, particularly in the financial services sector, but competition with neighbouring South Africa has limited their success in this respect,” read the 1024 ranking.
In 2011, the BOCCIM collaborated with the DCEC and the American Embassy to launch of the code of conduct for the private sector in Gaborone, aimed at instituting checks and balances to minimise corruption in business.
However, there have been complaints that the private sector has not shown much willingness to sign up to the code of conduct, which led to some suggesting for the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal board (PPADB) to offer a five percent advantage for companies that have signed up. In a previous interview, Dichaba Molobe-Director for Policy Advocacy at BOCCIM revealed that the code of conduct was a voluntary exercise and BOCCIM could not force its members to sign. However he added that BOCCIM will embark on a drive to get its members to sign up.