By Irene Gaitirira
Published December 1, 2015
Some 75 million Africans paid a bribe in the past year as corruption rose over the past 12 months as governments across the region were seen as failing in their duty to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals.
Transparency International (TI), in People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015, reports that more than half (58%) of the people in the surveyed sub-Saharan Africa countries, say corruption has increased over the past 12 months. In 18 out of 28 countries surveyed a large majority of people said their government is doing badly at fighting corruption.
Joining the bandwagon, for the first time according to TI, are business executives who are ranked as having the second highest levels of corruption in the region, just below the police.
Many Africans, particularly the poor, are burdened by corruption when trying to get access to key basic services in their country. Some 22% of people that have come into contact with a public service in the past 12 months paid a bribe.
Of the six key public services that we asked about, people who come into contact with the courts and police are the most likely to have paid a bribe. Some 28% and 27%, respectively, of people who had contact with these services paid a bribe. Across the continent, poor people who use public services are twice as likely as rich people to have paid a bribe, and in urban areas they are even more likely to pay bribes.
“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. We call on 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,” says Transparency International Chair, José Ugaz.
Citizens could be a key part of any anti-corruption initiative, but more than 1 out of 3 Africans think that a whistleblower faces negative consequences for reporting corruption and do not report it.
Unless it is stopped, TI cautions, corruption slows development and economic growth while weakening people’s trust in government and the accountability of public institutions.
People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015, part of the Global Corruption Barometer, TI partnered with Afrobarometer, which spoke to 43,143 respondents across 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa between March 2014 and September 2015 to ask them about their experiences and perceptions of corruption in their country.