Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Southern Africa - Corruption

Corruption risk analysis in Southern Africa

Corruption is illegal everywhere in Africa, but still deeply woven into the fabric of every day life. Corruption in Africa causes and deepens poverty and its impact is felt most by the poor.

To assess the situation at the national level, Transparency International (TI) undertook National Integrity System (NIS) country studies in seven Southern African countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Transparency International’s concept of the National Integrity System (NIS) consists of the key institutions, laws and practices that contribute to integrity, transparency and accountability in a society.

Key regional trends are summarised in a regional overview study. It is based upon the NIS country studies and other sources, such as media or research materials, particularly those published since the country studies were completed. The report specifically highlights areas of regional concern and particular regional frameworks for cooperation, such as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, the Southern Africa Development Community and the African Development Bank, and their relevance to the NIS in the region.

The cost of corruption in Africa

Corruption in Africa is costing the continent nearly US $150 billion a year, according to the African Union (AU).

Corruption creates barriers to democracy, hinders access to services, increases the cost of goods by as much as 20 percent, deters investment and holds back development. The African Union (AU) also estimates that resources diverted by corrupt acts and resources withheld or deterred due to the existence of corruption, are thought to represent as much as 25 percent of the continent’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Research findings by the African Development Bank indicate that corruption leads to a loss of approximately 50 percent of tax revenue, which in some instances is a greater amount than a country's total foreign debt.

What is more, the impact of corruption is felt most by the poor. Lower income households spend an average 2-3 percent of their income on bribes, while rich households spend considerably less: an average of 0.9 percent of their income.

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