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AFRO-NETS> Anti-Corruption Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> Anti-Corruption Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa
- From: Dieter Neuvians MD <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 02:43:41 -0400 (EDT)
Anti-Corruption Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa
Corruption is being targeted by the World Bank as a development is-
sue. It is a particular concern for developing countries because it
undermines economics growth, discourages foreign private investment
programmes and reduces the resources available for infrastructure,
public services and poverty reduction programs. Corruption hurts the
poor by forcing them to pay for essential public services and which
should be free or by denying such services in the absence of bribes.
Corruption also reduces the effectiveness of donor funded projects
and weakens public support for such assistance in the industrial
The 1998 Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency Interna-
tional, a Berlin based NGO, covering 85 countries, listed Cameroon,
Kenya and Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda in the lowest 15 percent (how-
ever, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and South Africa were in the upper
half-least corrupt-of the survey). Since 1997, the Africa Region has
significantly expanded its anti corruption programme. Country mis-
sions and reports have been undertaken and prepared, in response to
requests from the concerned country, to assess the state of corrup-
tion, to make recommendations to improve the situation and to suggest
how more financial support can be garnered from donor in this effort.
Lessons Learned detailed here stem from fact-finding anti corruption
missions undertaken so far in 4 countries (Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanza-
nia, Malawi). Another such mission is planned for Mali in the first
half of 1999. Also Benin has received $126,000 from the World Bank as
an Institutional Development Fund grant to support the functioning of
its anti corruption agency.
- Anti corruption surveys and workshops can provide useful informa-
tion regarding corruption, and citizens' attitudes about corruption,
and can help to mobilise public opinion against corruption.
- Key informants are critical to providing in depth information that
permits a fuller appreciation of local perceptions of the nature and
extent of corruption, helping to cross check on findings from surveys
and other documentation, and making available information not found
-Anti corruption laws must be adequately enforced, the key "watchdog"
institutions made strong and sufficiently funded, and corrupt prac-
tices visibly punished.
- A fully adequate salary level, adequate pensions and a higher de-
gree of accountability are a must for the civil service. The absence
of these features creates a strong pressure for petty corruption at
the lower end of the wage scale and grant corruption at the top.
- The judicial arm of the government needs to be adequately paid,
well- staffed and well-qualified. Otherwise, a weak and corruptible
judiciary cannot enforce contracts and property rights, prosecute
wrong doers, etc.
- Improved public sector financial management is essential. Enforce-
ment of financial discipline and prevention of the diversion of pub-
lic resources become difficult in the face of budgetary over-
commitment in relation to available resources, weak internal account-
ing, reporting systems and follow up. The greatest problem areas are,
on the public revenue side, in the collection of customs duties, and
on the expenditure side, public procurement.
- An inefficient state sector contributes to periods of economic de-
cline or higher stagnation and fosters extensive "rent-seeking." Eco-
nomic liberalisation, unless carefully managed, can open new avenues
- Civil society needs to be better-organised and equipped to hold
governments to higher standards of transparency and accountability.
Internal checks and balances within government need to be stronger.
Decentralisation, for example, could, given limited resources and
weak control system, expand corruption at the local level.
- Strong and clear ownership-demonstrated political will-of the anti
corruption program by the concerned country is absolutely essential.
For more information contact:
P C Mohan
Knowledge and Learning Center
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