75 million Africans paid bribes last year, says TI
‘Botswana, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Senegal are bright spots’
OUT of an estimated population of 1.03 billion persons in Africa, about 75 million paid bribes in the past 12 months. Alarmingly, most governments are seen as failing in their duty to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals.
This was the worry expressed by the Transparency International (TI) in a new survey it conducted recently. In the report entitled ‘People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015, part of the Global Corruption Barometer,’ TI partnered Afrobarometer, which spoke to 43,143 respondents across 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa between March 2014 and September 2015 about their experiences and perceptions of corruption in their countries.
A majority of 58 per cent in the surveyed countries said corruption had increased over the past 12 months, adding that in 18 out of 28 countries, a large majority said their government was doing badly at fighting corruption.
Despite these disappointing findings, the bright spots across the continent were in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Senegal. Citizens in these countries were some of the most positive in the region when discussing corruption.
For the first time, people reported business executives as highly corrupt. Business ranked as having the second highest levels of corruption in the region, just below the police. The police regularly rate as highly corrupt, but the strongly negative assessment of business executives is new compared to previous surveys.
Many Africans, particularly the poor, are burdened by corruption when trying to get access to key basic services in their country. Twenty two per cent who have come into contact with a public service in the past 12 months paid bribes.
Of the six key public services asked about, people who come into contact with the courts and police are the most likely to have paid bribes.
Twenty-eight and 27 per cent respectively of people who had contact with these services paid bribes. Across the continent, poor people who use public services are twice as likely as rich people to have paid bribes, and in urban areas they are even more likely to do so.
Transparency International Chair, José Ugaz said, “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 mobilise against corruption. It is time to say enough and unmask the corrupt,” he said.