Smart citizens for smart cities and countries

In my post of last week on urbanization and smart cities, I quoted my colleague at IESE Business School Prof. Ricart: “in order to have smarter cities, we need smarter citizens.”  I read in the newspaper about a Nigerian immigrant who found an envelope containing more than €16,000 in cash and cash-equivalents, and handed it in to the police. I found this refreshing, as there is so much news about corruption, starting with my own country. I think it’s an example of smart and ethical citizenship.

Efforst are  made to stop corrupt practices
Efforts are made to stop corrupt practices

And there is some uplifting news at the country level, as well.  Recently, Transparency International published the Corruption Perceptions Index 2014. The index is based  on how corrupt the public sector of a country is perceived to be by country analysts and business people. It includes 175 countries, and it ranges from 0  (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Only 54 (roughly 30%) of the countries score above 50. The good news is that 4 African countries are included in this top group:

Country Rank Score
Botswana 31 63
Cape Verde 42 57
Seychelles 43 55
Mauritius 47 54


As usual, let me give you some reference points:

  • highest-ranked country: Denmark: rank 1, score 92
  • USA: rank 17, score 74
  • Spain: rank 37, score 60
  • lowest-ranked countries: North Korea and Somalia: tied at rank 175, score 8

Transparency International makes the point that “the persistence of widespread corruption is one of the factors inhibiting the transformation of the economic growth into development dividends for all citizens, preventing them from enjoying improved livelihoods and living conditions.” That’s why I believe that the ethical dimension is a critical aspect of smart citizenship.

You may want to take a look at a post in Prof. Melé’s blog (written in Spanish) where he speculates about the causes of corruption: it may help us think how to improve our “ethical smartness.”

Would you like to share any good news about ethical behavior in contexts where corruption might be expected to flourish?

2 thoughts on “Smart citizens for smart cities and countries

  1. technology has the potential to make the world a better place, i wish local authorities will embrace this by especially giving us free internet in the cities it will unleash a lot of economic potential

    1. I agree with you, Valencia Joshua. In the meanwhile, some companies are filling the void. For instance, IBM has created an entrepreneurship center in Lagos that offers free internet access to entrepreneurs — not enough, definitely, but at least is a small step forward…

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