From time to time corruption in Africa hits the international headlines. However, for people living in the country it is part of their daily reality. Corruption manifests itself in many ways. The language of corruption becomes prevalent in all walks of life and unfortunately becomes an accepted part of it. Sadly many initiatives designed to fight corruption may actually prolong the very acts they were created to stop. The question then is how can we effectively combat corruption in Africa today?
This is an ironic reality and the deep-seated roots of the problem will not really be addressed. Instead superficial measures are taken, such as the establishment of a new government ministry, that do little but to hide the problem or shift it to another sector.
Here are 5 Pointless Ways We are Fighting Corruption in Africa Today and best ways to tackle it
Why Corruption in Africa Must be Tackled
Africa is rightly a focus of many aid schemes as it has some of the poorest inhabitants on the planet. Altruistic organisations and individuals seek to provide relief for a variety of social and natural problems through donations of financial or material support. However these donations will be deterred if the donor suspects that the aid will not reach the intended recipient and be diverted instead to a corrupt individual. For this reason it is vital to fight corruption in Africa in a smart way.
Corrupt Local Officials
The way local officials are selected or punished is a good example of initiatives that are destined to fail. After a scandal the public will demand that officials responsible are removed from office and that an inquiry be conducted. Unfortunately the corruption may be so widespread that those in charge of the investigation are also susceptible to corrupt influences. Those guilty may expect only minor punishment and to be later reinstalled in a more discreet post. This is something we have to look at if we are serious in the fight against corruption in Africa
Corrupt International Officials
Corruption in Africa is said to be contagious. Foreign workers of members of international organisations can become tempted by the financial rewards dishonesty places in front of them. In a situation where there is corruption around the normally honest worker, he or she may start to question if not becoming involved in corruption is a foolish thing to do. Especially when the punishments are so light. Regular rotation of staff and a quality audit system are vital in the fight against corruption in Africa.
Fraud or corruption may escape detection for many years due to the terrible state of affairs when it comes to paperwork. Many complain that an audit trail is impossible to follow and in many cases paperwork goes uncompleted or languishes on a desk for years. Responses to bad bureaucracy have made the situation worse. For example Mali set up a ministry to reduce government spending in response to criticism that the government was spending too much. Tanzania for instance established a Ministry of Transparency to combat corruption, although it was staffed by many of the same individuals it was supposed to investigate according to reports.
Corruption Education Programs
Although entered into with a noble spirit these programs may do more harm than good. Aimed at businesses and government officials the course will show common fraud schemes and illustrate the consequences of partaking in the scheme. However for some attendees these programs actually provide the blue prints on how to commit fraud. The average attendee will have heard of fraud but not necessarily the methods used. However they will be unlikely to have heard of anyone who faced punishment for fraud. The techniques of these programs may actually be put into practice.
Fighting Corruption in Africa at the Wrong Level
Many ordinary citizens look at officials and say if they can get away with corrupt activities why should they not try themselves. As corruption filters downwards campaigns should be targeted at the top level. Rather than seeking to punish the common man who hopes to make a few extra cents, those reaping the most benefit should be captured and punished.
If examples are made of the leaders then the general populace will feel less inclined to following in their footsteps. However with no such guidance it is likely the current system will persist.
In conclusion the epidemic of corruption in Africa is far from cured. A whole culture of graft must be stamped out. Trying to find people to conduct this task is difficult because of the permeation of corruption throughout the system. Rebuilding trust is a task that needs to be done by a new generation and the school system will be on the front line in this battle.