Citizens speak out about corruption in Africa

Citizens speak out about corruption in Africa

Translations: Translations: FR   PT  

Corruption in African countries is hindering economic, political and social development. It is a major barrier to economic growth, good governance and basic freedoms, such as freedom of speech or citizens’ right to hold governments to account.

More than this, corruption affects the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

The 10th edition of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa, reveals that while most people in Africa feel corruption increased in their country, a majority also feel optimistic that they, as citizens, can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa | Transparency International

Our research shows that more than half of all citizens think corruption is getting worse in their country and that their government is doing a bad job in tackling corruption.

The report also found more than one in four people who accessed public services, such as health care and education, paid a bribe in the previous year.

This is equivalent to approximately 130 million citizens in the 35 countries surveyed.   

Conducted in partnership with Afrobarometer and Omega Research, the GCB is the largest, most detailed survey of citizens’ views on corruption and their direct experiences of bribery in Africa. The survey incorporates the views of more than 47,000 citizens from 35 countries across Africa.

Institutions & services

Citizens think the police is the most corrupt institution, with 47 per cent of people believing that most or all police are corrupt. These results are consistent with findings from the 2015 report.

Unsurprisingly, police also consistently earn the highest bribery rate across Africa. Other public services like utilities, including electricity and water, and identification documents, including licenses and passports, also have high bribery rates.

Who is paying bribes?

Bribery does not affect all people equally, it hits the poorest harder than the wealthiest – often denying people access to critical healthcare, education and legal protections, with devastating consequences. Young people, aged 18-34 years, are more likely to pay bribes than older people, aged over 55 years.

Paying bribes for essential public services means poorer families have less money for other necessities like food, water and medicine.

Taking action

Governments have a long way to go in regaining citizens’ trust.

Yet, despite this, African citizens think change is possible.

Africans believe they can make a difference. Governments must allow them the space to do so.

Paul Banoba Regional Advisor for East Africa Transparency International

Countries in focus

Several countries stand out for their bribery rates and corruption levels, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mauritius.  

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Eighty-five per cent of citizens in the DRC think corruption is getting worse, which is the highest in the region. The country also has the highest bribery rate on the continent (80 per cent of public service users), with the police earning the highest bribery rate of any country across any sector - 75 per cent of those who came into contact with the police paid a bribe.

Mauritius

By contrast, Mauritius has one of the lowest bribery rates in the region (5 per cent), with the police also earning a low bribery rate (5 per cent). Given these positive results, it’s no surprise that more than 55 per cent of Mauritians think that reporting cases of corruption will lead to proper action.

 

Political integrity

As part of our analysis, we compared citizens’ views of corruption among Members of Parliament (MPs) with other indices, like the Clean Elections Index, which measure corruption in national elections and found a direct link. 

Foreign enablers

Non-African actors also play a significant role in fuelling corruption in Africa through foreign bribery and money laundering. 

Public sector corruption doesn’t exist in a vacuum. When money that should support critical services such as health care and education, flows out of countries due to corruption, ordinary citizens suffer most.

Delia Ferreira Rubio Chair Transparency International

Too often, countries that export large volumes of goods and services around the world, fail to investigate and punish companies that pay bribes.

In turn, political leaders make deals with foreign businesses to promote their personal interests at the expense of the citizens they serve.

Recommendations

Tackling corruption in Africa requires a holistic, systemic approach. Some of our top recommendations to African governments include:

  • ratify, implement and report on the African Union Convention to Prevent and Combat Corruption (AUCPCC)
  • investigate, prosecute and sanction all reported cases of corruption, with no exception
  • develop minimum standards and guidelines for ethical procurement
  • adopt open contracting practices, which make data clearer and easier to analyse
  • collect citizen complaints and strengthen whistleblower protections
  • enable media and civil society to hold governments accountable

Governments of major economies, including G20 and OECD countries, and offshore financial centres should:

  • establish public registers with information on the actual owners of private companies and trusts
  • enforce international bribery laws
  • implement anti-money laundering standards

Business leaders around the world should implement international anti-corruption and anti-money laundering standards.

Read the full report on the Global Corruption Barometer Africa 2019:

 

 

For the full list of countries surveyed and information on the survey approach, please see here. The key findings for each country are available here.

Image: Zhi Zulu | zhizulu.com

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Support Us

New Report: Who is behind the wheel? Fixing the global standards on company ownership

To counter crime and corruption, law enforcement authorities around the world need to be able to swiftly uncover the identities of the real owners of companies. Transparency International argues that public registers of beneficial ownership should be the norm.

هل سيشعل الفساد المستشري فتيل الخريف العربي؟

خلال الشهرين الماضيين، اجتاحت موجة من الاحتجاجات شوارع مصر والعراق ولبنان. وبلغ عدد المحتجين الذين نزلوا إلى الشوارع في لبنان أكثر من مليون شخص ينددون بالظلم، وكان ذلك غالبا في تحدّ للقمع العنيف الذي تمارسه السلطات. وعلى الرغم من اختلاف المطالب التي نادى بها المحتجون في البلدان الثلاثة، بل تختلف حتى فيما بين الحركات في نفس البلد، إلا أن هذا الغضب العارم قام على قاسم مشترك بينها: الفساد وسوء الإدارة المالية للحكومات.

Will rampant corruption spark an Arab Autumn?

A common factor has underpinned mass protests in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon over the past two months: outrage over corruption and financial mismanagement by governments.

Better blending: how the World Bank can promote transparency in financing sustainable development

As the World Bank holds its annual meetings in Washington D.C this week, Transparency International is calling for greater transparency, accountability and participation in the World Bank’s contribution to financing the 2030 Agenda.

Fighting corruption in the age of “fake news”

"Fake news" has become a major threat to public trust in democracy and news media outlets over the past years. The fight against corruption is also affected.

Right to information: a tool for people power

Globally, approximately 120 countries have right to information laws. In some countries, these laws are top notch, but in others, the laws either don’t exist or need significant improvements. On International Right to Know Day, citizens are speaking out around the world to demand greater accountability from government. But are most people even aware of their right to request information in the first place?

Global Corruption Barometer - Latin America and the Caribbean 2019

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Latin America & Caribbean highlights the disproportionate effect that corruption has on women and a significant lack of political integrity among government leaders.

Mujeres y corrupción en Latinoamérica y el Caribe

A lo largo de la última década, cada vez más mujeres de Latinoamérica y el Caribe han alzado la voz en reclamo de igualdad de derechos para las mujeres y las niñas.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media