Endowed with natural resources, yet the continent falls within the negative quadrant when it comes to the fight against corruption. In spite of its natural riches, the continent is widely considered among the world’s most corrupt places, a factor that seems to be contributing to the inhibited development and mostly speeding the impoverishment of many African states. It is painful when one realises that Africa is wealthy but the continent is as poor as it is.
Corruption in Africa ranges from high-level political graft on the scale of millions of dollars to low-level bribes to police officers and customs officials. It is worthy to note that political graft causes the most significant direct financial burden on a country. While it is true that the heavens in public offices are always in the habit of privatizing public funds for their personal gains, petty bribes also pose threats to the successes and effectiveness of basic institutions and similarly undermine public trust in the government. The most frustrating thing about this situation is the fact that majority of the elected public officials in Africa seek re-election because holding public office gives them access to the state’s coffers, as well as immunity from prosecution for their corrupt practices.
Africa is not bankrupt when it comes to laws against corruption. The continent has heaps of laws that were brought into existence to strengthen the fight against corruption. However, the majority of African leaders fail to justify the reasons for which those laws were not put into effect. A typical poor African man doesn’t see any problem if an individual gets rich, but the problem comes about if an individual gets rich illegally or corruptly. One of the reasons for which there are innumerable poverty-stricken Africans is because Africa has so many corrupt government officials. It is a myth to think that poverty causes corruption, but actually it is corruption that causes poverty.
It won’t be fair enough to categorize all Africa countries has been extremely corrupt. There are few countries in Africa whose governments have taken very seriously the fight against corruption. Countries like Botswana, Rwanda, Cape Verde, and Namibia have applied substantive efforts in tackling corruption. According to Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), out of 180 countries, Botswana sits 34th place with a score of 61%; Cape Verde sits 45th place with a score of 57%, Rwanda sits 48th place with a score of 56% and Namibia sits 52nd place with a score of 53%. The question now is: “if leaders of the above countries can come down hard on corruption why won’t other African leaders follow suit?”
P.S: Thanks for reading, please click here to read Part I of this article.
By Torwon F. Gensee
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