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

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

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

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Fritz scandal casts another shadow over DA in the Western...

Good party sees political advantage after the suspension of a ‘low-profile’ figure in local government

‘I was jailed for doing journalism – and the nightmare...

Eight months ago, the Zimbabwean government arrested Jeffrey Moyo after he worked with colleagues from The New York Times reporting on Zimbabwe. His next court date is 14 February

R7.8bn corruption exposed in SIU Covid-19 corruption report

The SIU has recovered R34.2-million and is chasing a further R551.5-million of alleged graft from the government’s R152-bilion Covid-19 spend

EFF axes Limpopo leaders over poor poll performance

The party lost 25 council seats in what was one of its strongholds
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×