In Sierra Leone, Corruption Isn’t Gone, but It Is Falling Under Bio

In Sierra Leone, Corruption Isn’t Gone, but It Is Falling Under Bio
Sierra Leone’s president, Julius Maada Bio, addresses the Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP photo by Jason DeCrow).

For decades, Sierra Leone has languished at the bottom of international corruption rankings. Despite detailed anti-corruption legislation that has been on the books since 2000, millions of aid dollars in technical assistance and repeated promises by politicians, corruption has persisted, even flourished.

More recently, however, this has started to change under President Julius Maada Bio. Transparency International ranked Sierra Leone 119th out of 180 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index last year, up 10 places from 2018. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent U.S. foreign assistance agency, also recorded a jump for Sierra Leone in its annual anti-corruption scorecard, from 0.06 in 2016 to 0.36 in 2019.

It’s not just foreign donors and NGOs; Sierra Leoneans are also reporting improvements in the government’s fight against corruption. In a survey published by Afrobarometer in 2019, 66 percent of respondents believed the government was doing a good job tackling corruption—the second-most positive response in Africa. In 2015, only 15 percent of Sierra Leoneans viewed the government’s efforts favorably.

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