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Key findings
  • The proportion of Cabo Verdeans who say corruption increased during the previous year dropped by 10 percentage points, to 39%, but is still double the share who see corruption decreasing (20%).
  • A majority (61%) of Cabo Verdeans say the government is managing the fight against corruption “fairly badly” or “very badly.”
  • Police continue to be perceived as the most corrupt public institution. Six in 10 respondents (62%) say at least “some” police officials are corrupt, including 23% who believe "most" or "all" are involved in graft.
  • Fewer than one in 10 Cabo Verdeans who sought key public services during the previous year say they had to pay a bribe to obtain the needed service.
  • Six out of 10 Cabo Verdeans think that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption (58%) and that the government will take action if corruption is reported (57%). But about the same proportion (60%) say they risk retaliation or other negative consequences if they report incidents of corruption.

Cabo Verde has long enjoyed a reputation for financial transparency and severe sanctions against fraud, bolstered by its independent central bank, independent judiciary, and Court of Auditors (African Development Bank, 2012).

Despite a few corruption scandals involving current and former government officials (A Nação, 2017; A Semana, 2014), the country has consistently ranked among the 50 least corrupt countries in the world on the Transparency International (2019) Corruption Perceptions Index. The 2018 index rated Cabo Verde third-best in Africa (after Seychelles and Botswana) and 45th out of 180 countries worldwide, down slightly from No. 38 in 2016.

In 2017, the Minister of Justice announced additional anti-graft measures, including creation of an independent council at the Court of Auditors to audit whether public investments are efficient and in line with public interests (Sapo Notícias, 2017), although adequate funding for the council depends on annual budgets.

According to the latest Afrobarometer survey, a majority of Cabo Verdeans want more government action against corruption. Citizens who see corruption in the country as increasing still outnumber those who see it as decreasing, and the perception that most police officials are corrupt actually increased slightly from 2014. A majority of citizens say ordinary people can help fight corruption, but the same proportion fear retaliation if they report incidents of bribery to the authorities.

Jose Semedo

Jose Semedo is the Managing Director of Afrosondagem.

Cláudio Furtado

Cláudio Alves Furtado is a sociologist and professor at the University of Cabo Verde.