One in Four People in Africa Pay Bribes to Access Services – Survey


Human Wrongs Watch

Corruption disproportionately affects the poor and young

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Citizens speak out about corruption in Africa  | Transparency International.

11 July 2019 (Transparency International)*  —  The tenth edition of Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa, released on African Anti-Corruption Day by Transparency International in partnership with Afrobarometer, reveals that more than half of all citizens surveyed in 35 African countries think corruption is getting worse in their country.

Fifty-nine per cent of people think their government is doing badly at tackling corruption.

Read the report 

The largest and most detailed survey of citizens’ views on bribery and other forms of corruption in Africa, the survey asked 47,000 citizens in 35 countries about their perceptions of corruption and direct experiences of bribery.

The results show more than 1 in 4 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 people.

The report also highlights that corruption disproportionately affects the most vulnerable, with the poorest paying bribes twice as often as the richest. Young people pay more bribes than those over 55 years old.

“Corruption is hindering Africa’s economic, political and social development. It is a major barrier to economic growth, good governance and basic freedoms, like freedom of speech or citizens’ right to hold governments to account,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International.

“While governments have a long way to go in regaining citizens’ trust and reducing corruption, these things don’t exist in a vacuum. Foreign bribery and money laundering divert critical resources away from public services, and ordinary citizens suffer most.”

The police is considered the most corrupt institution, with 47 per cent of people believing that most or all police are corrupt. Many citizens also think government officials and parliamentarians are highly corrupt, at 39 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.

As in the previous edition of the GCB for Africa, the police consistently earn the highest bribery rate across the continent. This may be one of the reasons that two-thirds of those surveyed fear retaliation for reporting corruption. On a positive note, more than half of citizens believe that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

“To reduce the heavy burden of corruption on ordinary people, African states that have not done so should ratify and effectively implement the African Union Convention to Prevent and Combat Corruption,” said Paul Banoba, Regional Advisor for East Africa at Transparency International.

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

Transparency International urges governments to put anti-corruption commitments into practice and to:

  • investigate, prosecute and sanction all reported cases of corruption in both the public and the private sector, with no exception;
  • develop minimum standards and guidelines for ethical procurement and build strong procurement practice throughout the continent with training, monitoring and research;
  • adopt open contracting practices, which make data and documentation clearer and easier to analyse and ensure transparency in hiring procedures;
  • create mechanisms to collect citizens’ complaints and strengthen whistleblower protection to ensure that citizens can report instances of corruption without fear of reprisal;
  • enable media and civil society to hold governments accountable;
  • support political party funding transparency;
  • allow cross border cooperation to combat corruption.

Authorities should also establish public registers that name the owners of shell companies and adopt and enforce laws that address stolen assets.

Additionally, business leaders and boards of companies, including multinational companies operating in Africa, should effectively and transparently implement the highest international anti-corruption and anti-money laundering standards.

About the GCB

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa survey was implemented by Afrobarometer in 34 countries, as part of its Round 7 surveys, in collaboration with Transparency International. A separate survey for the Democratic Republic of Congo was commissioned by Transparency International and conducted by Omega Research.

The surveys were conducted face-to-face using computer-assisted personal interviewing with 47,105 adults aged 18+ living in 35 countries in Africa. The fieldwork was conducted between September 2016 and September 2018, and the surveys were sampled and weighted to be nationally representative.

The overall results for Africa are equivalent to an average of the countries surveyed. For the full list of countries surveyed and information on the survey approach, please see here.

The total number of bribe payers was calculated based on the percentage of respondents in each of the 35 surveyed countries who had paid a bribe at least once to any of the five public services in the last 12 months, and was extrapolated using available UN population estimates of adults aged 18+.

About Afrobarometer

Afrobarometer directs a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in Africa. For more information, visit: www.afrobarometer.org.

*SOURCE: Transparency International. Go to ORIGINAL.

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Citizens speak out about corruption in Africa 

11 July 2019 (Transparency International)** — 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 worsein 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 and 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 BanobaRegional Advisor for East AfricaTransparency International

Countries in focus

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

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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.

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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 ChairTransparency 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.

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.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

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