How Does Corruption Affect Africa

Corruption is a major challenge in Africa. The vice undermines people’s trust in government institutions, leaders, and the entire public sector. Below are the negative effects of corruption on African states and their people.

Wasted Taxes

Corruption leads to the loss of taxpayer funds as money remitted by individuals and businesses as taxes is misappropriated. Taxpayers submit tax returns to the government, expecting the latter to use the funds to improve infrastructure and living standards. However, corruption allows few individuals, mostly leaders and government officials, to pocket taxpayer funds at the publics’ expense.

Lower Public Confidence in Leaders and Elected Officials

African voters despise elected officials and leaders following corruption cases. During the campaign period, political candidates persuade voters to elect them, claiming that they will bring positive change such as enhancing people’s living conditions. However, once elected, many such leaders follow old traditions of stealing public funds and manipulating the tendering process to ensure they receive a share. Continued corruption cases and involvement among elected officials force the public to lose trust and confidence in their leaders.

Corruption discourages Foreign and Local Investors

Both foreign and local investors planning to set a business in corrupt African states are susceptible to paying a bribe to facilitate the registration and licensing process. Moreover, government officials and cartels coerce tender winners to quote high prices and submit a significant portion of the contract money to them. Honest investors both in international and domestic markets are less likely to establish high-cost investments due to the fear of being frustrated in order to pay a bribe. Corruption undermines growth and employment opportunities in African states by blocking honest investors.

Photo source (https://www.voanews.com/africa/corruption-monitor-paints-grim-picture-africa-2017)

Poverty and Inequality

Corruption contributes to poverty and inequality in developing countries. The vice reduces government allocation on poverty eradication projects such as improved education access, job creation, and agriculture empowerment. A considerable amount of national budget ends in individuals’ bank accounts rather than in institutions and initiatives aimed at empowering the public. Corruption creates an environment where few individuals continue getting excessively rich while the majority of citizens languish in poverty. This heightens inequality and the gap between the rich and the poor. In most African states, politicians and government officials acquire significant wealth within a short period despite earning a relative salary. 

Poor Infrastructure and Social Services

Corruption depletes funds allocated to infrastructure projects such as roads, public transport, and electricity generation. Africa’s road network and public transport system lag other continents. Many countries in the continent, especially the central and western parts lack adequate road networks to connect towns and habitable areas. Covering a few hundred kilometers may require a full day due to poor roads and lack of railway system. Africa has the resources to export, generate revenue, and improve its infrastructure, but corruption hinders such initiatives. High corruption undermines social services as funds allocated to hospitals, schools, and other social amenities are not utilized accordingly. For example, in Kenya, public officials in liaison with “tender entrepreneurs” stole public funds aimed at purchasing Covid-19 supplies.https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54278417#:~:text=In%20a%20report%20to%20a,led%20to%20irregular%20expenditure%20of.

Africa is a large continent with approximately 54 countries. Not all states are overwhelmed by corruption or struggling to develop due to the vice. Certain heads of state are implementing policies and institutions to fight corruption and ensure public funds are used efficiently. However, it is important to note that the majority of states report high cases of corruption, bribery, and public funds misappropriation.

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