Bridging the Gap between Commitment and Capacity
This paper set out to evaluate the extent to which the APRM has emphasised corruption, transparency and accountability to date by analysing the relative frequency of word clusters related to these concepts in the 16 Country Review Reports that are currently available in English. Although corruption, transparency and accountability are undoubtedly interrelated, the ‘corruption’ word cluster occurred approximately twice as often as the ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’ clusters. Furthermore, the ‘corruption’ cluster occurred more frequently in the cross-cutting chapters than the other two clusters. On average, these concepts were most prominent in the Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone reports, all of which acknowledged that corruption is a significant challenge to good governance. Closer examination of individual country reports based on this analysis of thematic ‘hotspots’ shows that all the APRM reports acknowledged the significant governance challenges faced in each country due to corruption. Moreover, most cited empirical research from international or national institutions on various indicators of corruption, including data from national accounts, expert surveys and public opinion analysis, to try to gauge the levels in the public and private sectors. The most prominent theme that emerged from this analysis is that although all the countries have signed treaties and agreements aimed at combatting corruption and increasing accountability, most were struggling to meet these commitments because of a lack of adequate and timely information (i.e., transparency) and weak anti-corruption institutions. Financial and capacity constraints present significant international obstacles for these institutions, while a lack of political will to address corruption in the highest levels of government presented a common external challenge.