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Data in measuring corruption and governance at country level

Delving into this area is often a nightmare because little has been done even by the national statistical offices in Africa. It is a bear truth that national statistical offices have the duty of collecting and safeguarding all the data in a given country, but even a simple survey shows that none of them currently manages corruption and governance data in Africa. You and I know the significance of these attributes of corruption and governance towards national development, so there is no way we can reason that they are missing in national data archives because of their little or no importance towards national development!

Well aware of the challenges of developing indicators for measuring corruption and governance, national statistical offices need to take the lead in developing necessary indicators. Any survey is guided by its objectives. The common specific direct objectives for this kind of survey can be categorized under three main themes namely; measurement, reduction and preventive. To respond to these objectives, the following models of data source considerations are suggested;

Survey data collection approach: perception surveys have been used over time in developing global indices and should be maintained and customized even at country level. These surveys tend to estimate the probability or the likelihood of occurrence, but not the occurrence of corruption itself. They are more qualitative in nature, but easily adaptable quantitatively, hence the derivation of indices such as the CPI (corruption perception index) and WGI (world governance index). This type of data attempts to respond to the measurement objective mentioned. But should the fight against corruption only be measured? What then is the relevance of these indices in the fight against corruption and bad governance?

Administrative data collection and institutionalization approach: these are majorly secondary data sources including reports. They are indicative of the actual values and incidences of corruption and either bad or good governance practices. They are based on the precinct of administrative data which is known to be flawed in the most developing countries, but if strengthened is best method of establishing the actuality of corruption and also its magnitude. However, this approach like the one mentioned before, just helps us to measure the extent and subsequently suggest measures to reduce the tendency, but will not prevent the corruption and bad acts of governance. In the medical statistical terms this is an autopsy!

Surveillance data collection approach: these are primarily instantaneous and can be preventive. Corruption and bad governance tend to follow a known procedure which takes time to complete. Therefore, if intervened along their way, it is possible to prevent the occurrence of these societal evil practices! In order to achieve this strong objective of prevention, there is need to strengthen information and communication in the following; anti-corruption organizations, watchdogs and also empowering national systems.