Sunday, July 11, 2021

African Anti-Corruption Day

 African Anti-Corruption Day is celebrated annually on 11 July.  Corruption hinders Africa’s economic, political and social development and is a huge obstacle to good governance and basic freedoms.  The poorest Africans are twice as likely to pay bribes for essential public services as the richest. As a result, they have less money for basic necessities such as food, water and medicine.

  More than one in four people (28%) who had access to public services such as healthcare and education had to pay bribes for this access in the year preceding this survey. This equates to about 130 million citizens in 35 countries. The bribery rate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the highest at 80%, while Mauritius boasts the lowest bribe rate of 5%,

 Although differing significantly across countries and public institutions in Africa, corruption undermines the chances of hundreds of millions of citizens for a stable life.  Corruption affects the well-being of individuals, families and communities. At least, 25 million primary school children alone are its victims.

Then there is land corruption. We know that land is the bedrock of social, economic and political life in Africa. Unfortunately, land distribution and corruption go hand in hand, with one in every two people encountering it during land administration processes in Africa compared with one in five for the rest of the world.
 Furthermore, gender-based corruptionwhich affects women most, usually rooted in culture and sextortion, is rarely reported to superiors in the workplace due to fear of retaliation or other consequences. For example, in Zimbabwe, up to 57.5% of surveyed women indicated that they had experienced, in different sectors of the community, sextortion.

It’s important to point out that foreign role players also contribute to the increase in corruption in the continent. When money that is supposed to support important services such as healthcare and education flows out of countries due to corruption, ordinary citizens are hit the hardest. According to estimates, Africa loses at least $50-billion a year through illicit financial flows.

According to the Global Corruption Barometer — Africa 2019, most respondents indicated that corruption had increased in their country. More than half (55%) of all citizens believed corruption had increased (in the 12 months preceding the survey). Only 23% thought it had decreased. Only 34% gave their government a thumbs up for combating corruption, while 59% thought they were doing poorly in this regard. In some countries (Gabon, Madagascar, Sudan) the latter is higher than 80%.

 Among the key public institutions, the police are widely regarded as corrupt. Forty-seven per cent of respondents indicated that police officers were corrupt or completely corrupt. In the DRC it is 81%, with Gabon and Uganda above 70%.

Furthermore, almost four out of 10 citizens think that most or all government officials (39%), parliamentarians (36%), and offices of the president or prime minister (34%) are corrupt. In the DRC, the office of the president or prime minister (82%) and parliamentarians (79%) are perceived as the most corrupt institutions. About 36% of people think that business executives in Africa are corrupt.

While millions of Africans continue to endure the negative effects of corruption, unscrupulous individuals keep their ill-gotten funds abroad and enjoy the high life with their friends and families.

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