Africa: Police, Government Officials and Parliamentarians Deemed to Be Highly Corrupt - Survey

An anti-corruption billboard.

The tenth edition of Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), Africa, released on African Anti-Corruption Day by Transparency International in partnership with Afrobarometer, revealed that more than half of all citizens surveyed in 35 African countries think corruption is getting worse in their country.

The largest and most detailed survey of citizens' views on bribery and other forms of corruption in Africa, 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 health care 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.

"Corruption is hindering Africa's economic, political and social development. It is a major barrier to economic growth, good governance and basic freedoms, like freedom of speech or citizens' right to hold governments to account," said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International.

"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," she added.

According to the report, the police is considered the most corrupt institution, with 47% of people believing that most or all police are corrupt. Many citizens also think government officials and parliamentarians are highly corrupt, at 39% and 36% 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.

"To reduce the heavy burden of corruption on ordinary people, African states that have not done so should ratify and effectively implement the African Union Convention to Prevent and Combat Corruption," said Paul Banoba, Regional Advisor for East Africa at Transparency International.

"Africans believe they can make a difference. Governments must allow them the space to do so," he concluded.

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