By: Bernard Abass Kargbo - Public Education Officer, ACC.
To fight poverty, the United States Government founded the independent Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in 2004. Its guiding principles consist of a competitive selection process, country-led solutions, country-led implementation, and a result-oriented approach. The MCC scorecard used to grade countries consists of 20 indicators, which are further placed into three broad categories; Economic Freedom, Ruling Justly, and Investing in People. The Control of Corruption falls under the category of Ruling Justly.
Notably, a country must fulfill the following requirements to pass the scorecard: Pass the hard hurdles of democratic rights (must pass either civil liberties or political rights), pass at least one indicator in each category, pass at least half of the indicators (10) and pass the hard barrier of controlling corruption. A nation must perform better than the median, which is determined within its income category, to pass the majority of indicators. Lower Income is the income group that applies to Sierra Leone. You need to perform better than the median to pass an indication.
For the first fourteen (14) years of the existence of the MCC (FY 2004 – 2017), Sierra Leone struggled to pass the indicator of Control of Corruption (CoC), and when it does, it will just be above average, and also not back-to-back. In contrast, during the past five years (FY 2018 – 2022), Sierra Leone has for the first time passed the CoC for five consecutive years with a progression in its scores, thus maintaining a score above 70% since FY 2019 (2018).
The country has improved from a mere score of 49% in 2017 which was a failure, to score, and maintain a score of above 70% from 2018 till date. At the time of putting this piece together, Sierra Leone on the CoC indicator ranked in the top 10 nations in its income category, and one of the best in West Africa.
Since the inception of the MCC score on the CoC indicator in FY2004, Sierra Leone’s highest score had been 53%, which the country scored between 2011 and 2012 consecutively and also in 2016, before going back to a failing score of 49% in 2017.
The year 2018 saw a robust and successful drive to control corruption in Sierra Leone championed by the radical approach of Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. who within a few months of taking office, introduced radical and revolutionary policies that permeated and characterized the fight against graft in all the four corners of the country, thereby moving Sierra Leone from 49% in the previous year to a record high score of 71%, the likes of which our country had never seen before.
As an institution that is committed to its mandate, the MCC score on the ‘Control of Corruption’ of 71% in 2018 was not taken for granted, but it was built upon and improvements were made to maintain the score while pushing for greater scores in the coming years.
The robustness at which the Commission has maintained the fight against graft since 2018 saw a great improvement in the control of corruption scorecard of the MCC when the Commission scored 79% in 2019, making gains of an 8% increase in scores and from the scores of 2020 till date, the Commission has maintained a constant score of above 75% with 2022 recording a 79% score in the control of corruption.
The release of this year’s MCC scorecard has again proved the continued commitment of the ACC towards the fight against corruption as we have again maintained a score of above 75%, outscoring countries like Nigeria’s 10%, Ghana’s 77%, Mali’s 56%, etc. and by this year’s report, Sierra Leone is once again among the top ten performers in our income category, one of the best performers in Africa and above all number one in the Mano River Union.
As the Commission exists to maintain integrity, accountability, and transparency within MDAs while staying committed to maintaining its standards both locally and internationally, showcasing Sierra Leone as a destination for foreign direct investment, and a corrupt-free country, the Commission has and will always strive to improve on its gains and continue to make corruption a non-profitable, very expensive, high risk and low return venture in the country.
© Public Education Unit – ACC.