(Ecofin Agency) - For the 2021 edition of its fiscal transparency report, the U.S. State Department features 141 countries worldwide.
Sixteen African states, including seven from ECOWAS, meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency as defined by Washington. Côte d'Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso fit the box.
These three countries are the only ones in the WAEMU to be included in the first category, comprising of countries that regularly publish reliable and accessible budgets and financial documents. In total, 16 African countries are included in this group, seven of which are in ECOWAS. In addition to the countries already mentioned are Botswana, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, and Uganda.
This classification is a reminder of the efforts made by African countries to improve their fiscal transparency as part of a process to clean up their public spending and fight corruption. In this regard, two countries, Nigeria and Gambia have made significant progress by joining the category of countries that meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency this year.
Two other categories were established, namely: the group of countries that have made significant progress and the group that have not made significant progress in fiscal transparency.
While the report ranks fiscal transparency levels based on the accessibility and reliability of public tax records, it does not assess corruption. According to the U.S. State Department, if a country does not meet minimum requirements for fiscal transparency, it does not necessarily mean that there is significant corruption within the government. Similarly, if a country meets minimum requirements for fiscal transparency it does not necessarily reflect a low level of corruption.
Moutiou Adjibi Nourou