Last Updated 07 Aug 2020

Corruption in Africa is a Threat to Sustainable Development

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Welcome to Africa -the blackest continent of the predominantly blue world, the second-largest and second-most-populous continent. Undoubtedly, like most continents, Our great African freedom fighters won the freedom struggle ages back. Serious issues such as corruption,  unemployment, poverty, among others, are still eating into our country's economy and not enabling it to grow. Where does the problem lie? Why do these yet exist? In governance or society as a whole? We need to identify those gray areas which lead to the spread of corruption and adopt strict measures for eradicating those causes. Af Ricans gaining independence from British rule was one thing. We only can make these worth freedom efforts when every citizen of this country can enjoy a basic standard of living, provided there will be
no injustice in our society.No doubt, our country is a land of nature and vivid landscape:

however, the beauty and goodwill of our nation have been stained by the subsequent corrupt doings now and then. Virtually in every sector, we can see corrupt personnel who do not deliver their roles and responsibilities well unless ordinary people bribe them. Such unlawful activities are going day by day, as we, the citizens of this country, are urging these people, and no strict actions are being taken.

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Likewise, such people think that they can easily escape the laws and go unharmed.

The worst of the situation is the use of power and money by officials. Even if an ordinary man needs any help from the government, he has no better option than to stick to the usual practice. You would find corrupt people in the senior administration to the junior team and even at the clerical positions. It is challenging for a common man to evade them and get his/her work done. What then is corruption? Corruption is a harmful action of greed rearing since the last decades of independence. The world bank defines it’’ as abuse of public office for private gain’’ ( World bank.pdf, n.d.), while USAID defines it as’’ abuse of entrusted authority for private gain’’( USAID.pdf, n.d.). This broad definition doesn’t distinguish between public office and the private one and treats the various types of corruption within the individual sector -like bank president misusing bank funds for his gain as corrupt behavior. Nye(1967) sees corruption as ‘’behavior that deviates from the regular duties of the public role’’ (P.419).

Van Klaveren(1970) says that’’ corruption is when a corrupt civil servant regards his office as a business, the income of which he will seek to maximize’’. Friederich(1966) looks at it from a public interest perspective. He defines it as a pattern that exists whenever a responsible officeholder takes an illegal act to benefit those who provide him rewards, thereby doing damage to the public and its interests. However, the best way of defining corruption is to list the acts which constitute corrupt practices. Mismanagement of state property and or funds, hindrance of justice, and interfering in the duties of agencies tasked with exposing, scrutinizing, and impeaching illegal comportment, among others. Corruption is a threat to sustainable development in Africa and needs to stop.

Why do people practice corruption? What makes people corrupt? Sumah (2018) said the causes of corruption vary from places depending on the social, political, economic, and cultural circumstances. He added,’’ corruption is strongly influenced by low salaries of public administration employees(state officials). The wages and salaries received by workers are not substantial enough to cater for their family and themselves. In the quest for more money, these employees tend to improve their financial position by receiving bribes and doing all forms of corrupt practices.

Research done by Allen et al. (2013) demonstrates that corruption occurs due to the inability of agencies, institutions, and the government to pay and reward the local officials adequately. The failure of the government to pay these officials are due to insufficient tax revenue.Sumah(2018) added,’’ the socioeconomic situation of the government officials also affects the phenomenon of corruption’’. It is the responsibility of the government to reward and motivates officials and workers when the need arises. In cases where the government fails to deliver his duty, corruption is the only act workers and or officials can do to better their lives.

Another contributory factor to corruption in Africa is a self mentality. Self mentality occurs when one takes a decision only considering the benefits to themselves or their families, and not taking into account the implications of their actions in the broader society. The self mentality can manifest itself in many ways — one of the prominent being favoritism toward one's ethnic group, or a family member. An explanation for this, specifically in the social and cultural context of Ghana, can be found. Leading up to the emergence of colonial rule in the ‘’Gold Coast’’, the country we call Ghana now was just a group of tribes. The member's responsibilities are being only to their clan and their tribe. After the settlement and alliance of these tribes, this tribe mentality persisted. The effect of this continued into post-colonial Ghana, with a large number of people having no great sense of national identity. This trickled down into institutions and the government, which bred nepotism at these levels, persisting to this day. Voting even takes place along tribal lines.

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