A recent survey by the Transparency International indicate that corruption in Africa has risen and most governments are failing to meet citizens’ expectations in regard to fighting corruption.
The report People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015, part of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), Transparency International partnered with Afrobarometer, targeted 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and spoke to 43, 143 respondents between March 2014 and September 2015.
“Across the region the survey found that the majority of citizens believe that corruption is on the rise. Over half of people (58 per cent) say that they think corruption has increased either somewhat or a great deal over the past year in their own country, while just under a quarter (22 per cent) think that it has decreased, and just 14 per cent think that it has stayed the same,” the report reads in part.
Some Countries Posted positive results on corruption
While the findings are not encouraging, some countries have posted better results than others. Respondents from Burkina Faso, Botswana, Lesotho, and Senegal had positive descriptions about corruption in their countries.
Mali, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso had the smallest proportion of citizens saying corruption has risen. In South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria however, there were more respondents affirming that corruption had risen in these countries in the 12 months under review.
Police ranked as most corrupt
Responding to “how much corruption there was in 10 different powerful groups”, the police are seen as the most corrupt group across the region. This data also tallies with previous edition of the GCB. With almost half of the respondents (47%) saying they thought that most or all police officers were corrupt, this category topped the list followed closely by business executives.
According to the report, this is the first time that people reported business executives as highly corrupt with 42% of respondents affirming this.
While religious leaders are ranked last in the list with 15% of citizens surveyed detailing this, the findings are baffling because this group of leaders should be at the forefront directing other leaders in terms of ethics and respecting the rule of law.
Younger, Male citizens are more likely to pay bribes
“People younger than 55 years are more likely to pay a bribe for public services,” the study shows noting that male citizens were more likely to pay bribes compared to their female counterparts.
In comparison to rural and urban areas, there was a higher likelihood for residents in urban areas to have paid a bribe.
What is alarming though is the fact that poor Africans are forced to pay bribes in order to access basic services in their countries. According to the study, 22% of the people that sought services from public offices in the period, paid a bribe.
In a press statement, Transparency International Chair José Ugaz, said that corruption divided people and enhanced poverty.
“Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion. While corrupt individuals with political power enjoy a lavish life, millions of Africans are deprived of their basic needs like food, health, education, housing, access to clean water and sanitation.”
He urged governments and judges to stop corruption, eradicate impunity and implement Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals to curb corruption. “We also call on the people to demand honesty and transparency, and mobilize against corruption. It is time to say enough and unmask the corrupt,” he added.
Although many citizens would like to report corruption, the survey found that corruption reporting mechanisms are often seen as too dangerous, ineffective or unclear.
“More than 1 out of 3 Africans thinks that a whistleblower faces negative consequences for reporting corruption, which is why most people don’t report,” read part of the statement from Transparency International.
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