Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Bribery to get public services is increasing in parts of Africa

Bribery by any name — gift, pot- de-vin, kitu kidogo … — is money out of our pockets, and quite a few people are shelling out. According to Afrobarometer research institute, half of all Ugandans, Cameroonians, Sierra Leoneans and Guineans say they paid at least one bribe in the past year to get a basic public service from a school, health clinic or state documents office or to get help from or avoid a problem with the police.

Across 33 countries, almost three in 10 respondents (28%) said they had paid a bribe. That’s 28% of all adults, not just of those who tried to get those services. And since Afrobarometer only asked about selected services, the total across all public services is probably higher.

The poorest group of respondents was twice as likely (35%) as the wealthiest (17%) to have paid a bribe for services, according to Afrobarometer.

The problem is getting worse. Across 30 countries where Afrobarometer has data dating back to 2014-15, the proportion of people who paid a bribe for one of these services has increased from 16% to 28%. 

Only two countries – Morocco and Sudan – report lower levels of corruption, while 20 countries report increases of 10 percentage points or more.
Even some paragons of anti-corruption are falling — in Botswana and Mauritius, 0% reported paying bribes in 2014-15, but 9% and 8%, respectively, say they paid in 2019-21. They’re still among the best performers, along with Cabo Verde (3%) and Namibia (7%). — The Continent

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

The Continent
The Continent is a free weekly newspaper published by the Adamela Trust in partnership with the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

More top stories

Almost two million voters register for local elections

Young people make use of online portal and women account for more than half of the total registered

Free State regions cry foul after dissolution by interim provincial...

Regional ANC leaders have asked Duarte to intervene after the interim provincial committee resolved to dissolve their branches ahead of local government elections

ANC unlikely to replace Joburg mayor Matongo before 1 Nov

A party source said the ANC in Johannesburg would most likely call on one of the mayoral committee members to stand in as mayor until the local elections

Ramaphosa hits the right notes as he urges Cosatu to...

Cosatu meets to deliberate on its support for the governing party in the upcoming local government elections
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×