Citizens speak out about corruption in Africa

The tenth edition of Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa, released by Transparency International in partnership with Afrobarometer, reveals that more than half of all citizens surveyed in 35 African countries think corruption is getting worse in their country. Fifty-nine per cent of people think their government is doing badly at tackling corruption. 

The largest and most detailed survey of citizens’ views on bribery and other forms of corruption in Africa, the survey asked 47,000 citizens in 35 countries about their perceptions of corruption and direct experiences of bribery. 

The results show more than 1 in 4 people who accessed public services, such as healthcare and education, paid a bribe in the previous year. This is equivalent to approximately 130 million people. 

The report also highlights that corruption disproportionately affects the most vulnerable, with the poorest paying bribes twice as often as the richest. Young people pay more bribes than those over 55 years old.

Police regarded as particularly corrupt

“While governments have a long way to go in regaining citizens’ trust and reducing corruption, these things don’t exist in a vacuum. Foreign bribery and money laundering divert critical resources away from public services, and ordinary citizens suffer most,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International.

The police is considered the most corrupt institution, with 47 per cent of people believing that most or all police are corrupt. Many citizens also think government officials and parliamentarians are
highly corrupt, at 39 per cent and 36 per cent respectively. 

As in the previous edition of the GCB for Africa, the police consistently earn the highest bribery rate across the continent. This may be one of the reasons that two-thirds of those surveyed fear retaliation for reporting corruption. On a positive note, more than half of citizens believe that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

Links to the maritime sector

Overall, the GCB results highlight once again that corruption is a cross-cutting problem in many countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It is often mentioned as a challenge related to maritime security, yet corruption cannot be addressed in a vacuum. Furthermore, it is important to note that non-African actors play a significant role in fuelling corruption, both through bribery and money-laundering.