Corruption and Africa

  • Richard A. Aborisade
  • Nurudeen B. Aliyyu
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 71)


The significant increase in the attention given to corruption in recent times is largely due to an increasing awareness of the cost of corruption throughout the world and Africa in particular. In the African continent, corruption is a development issue that impedes the capacity and ability of governments to address the problem of poverty. In this chapter, a comparative analysis of how various forms of corruption have ravaged various African countries is made. The chapter draws on the literature of the conceptualization, causality, prevalence, socio-cultural underpinnings, manifestation and growth of corruption in Africa. A multidisciplinary approach and analysis of theories of corruption in the fields of sociology (collective action), economics (rational choice), cosmology (big bang theory) and criminology (general strain theory) were adopted and synthesized to explain the causality and nature of corruption in the continent, and draw policy-oriented conclusions. Secondary empirical data were sourced from Corruption Perception Index of the Transparency International, Africa Corruption Survey 2015 of Afrobarometer, as well as other institutes and individual researchers that have conducted transnational studies on corruption in Africa. In spite of the high awareness of and evidence showing the devastating effects of corruption on African development, this chapter concludes that for African leaders that engage in corrupt practices, the temptation to succumb to corruption is stronger and far exceeds any moral constraints or compassion for those that are victims of corruption. Therefore, aside from internal restraining measures to check corruption, there is a strong need for global leadership to constrain the behavior of corrupt African leaders through the placement of values on the reduction of poverty and suffering, and the resulting peace dividend.


  1. Aborisade, R., & Fayemi, J. (2015). Police corruption in Nigeria: A perspective on its nature and control. Nigerian Journal of Social Sciences, XVII(2), 245–262.Google Scholar
  2. Abraham, J. (2008). Corruption, social inequality and poverty in Mano River Union states of West Africa. Accessed 11 July 2016.
  3. Adesina, A. (1998). The political economy of stabilizations and income inequality: Myths and reality. In V. Tanzi & C. Ke-young (Eds.), Income distribution and high-quality growth. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Africa News. (2016, June 23). Ugandans believe police are 75% corrupt: Survey. Africa News. Accessed 11 Aug 2016.
  5. African Development Bank. (2014). Governance Strategic Framework and Action Plan II (GAP II): Promoting good governance and accountability for Africa’s transformation. Accessed 11 July 2016.
  6. African Development Bank, UNDP and OECD. (2015). African economic outlook: Structural transformation and natural resources. Accessed 10 July 2016.
  7. African Peer Review Mechanism. (2015). Democracy and good political governance. http://aprm-auorg/democratic-and-political-governance. Accessed 10 July 2016.Google Scholar
  8. African Union Commission. (2015). Agenda 2063: The Africa we want. Accessed 10 July 2016.
  9. Agnew, R. (1992). Foundation for a general strain theory of crime and delinquency. Criminology, 30(1), 47–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Agnew, R. (2001). An overview of general strain theory. In R. Paternoster & R. Bachman (Eds.), Explaining criminals and crime. Los Angeles: Roxbury.Google Scholar
  11. Aguntansoolo. (2015, April 29). This yam, this goat, this country: PwC on NNPC. Accessed 7 Aug 2016.
  12. Akanle, O., & Adesina, J. (2015). Corruption and the Nigerian development quagmire: Popular narratives and current interrogations. Journal of Developing, 31(4), 421–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Adesina, A. (1998). The political economy of stabilizations and income inequality: Myths and reality. In V. Tanzi & C. Ke-young (Eds.), Income distribution and high-quality growth. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. AlixPartners, LLP. (2015). Cross-border M&A: Bribery and corruption issues in international transactions. Accessed 12 July 2016.
  15. Alliyu, N. (2015). Leadership, followership and corruption in Nigerian society. In N. Alliyu (Ed.), Sociological issues in industry and Nigerian society (pp. 145–165). Ibadan: Ibadan University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Andvig, J., & Fjeldstad, O. (2001). Corruption: A review of contemporary research reports. Buegen: Michelsen Institute.Google Scholar
  17. Asongu, S., & Jellal, M. (2015). On the channels of foreign aid to corruption. Cameroon: African Governance and Development Institute.Google Scholar
  18. Ayittey, G. (1992). Africa betrayed. New York: St Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  19. Ayittey, G. (2012, May 24). Defeating dictators. Speech given at the Oslo Freedom Forum. Retrieved 5 August, 2016, from
  20. Bauhr, M., & Nasiritousi, N. (2011). Why pay bribes? Collective action and anticorruption efforts. QOG Institute: Goteborg.Google Scholar
  21. BBC News. (2004, June 18). How deep is corruption in Africa? United Kingdom. Accessed 16 July 2016.
  22. BBC News. (2015, March 4). Kenyan officials charged over Anglo leasing scandal. Accessed 9 Aug 2016.
  23. Booth, D., & Cammack, D. (2013). Governance for development in Africa: Solving collective action problems. New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  24. Carnegie Endowments for International Peace. (2014). Corruption: The unrecognized threat to international security. New York: Working Group on Corruption and Security.Google Scholar
  25. Chipkin, I. (2013). Whither the state? Corruption, institutions and state-building in South Africa. Politikon, 40(2), 211–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Cobham, A. (2013). Corruption perceptions: Why Transparency International’s flagship, corruption index falls short. Foreign Policy. Accessed 13 July 2016.
  27. Cocks, T., & J. Brock. (2015). Special Report: Anatomy of Nigeria’s $20 billion “leak”. Reuters. Accessed 7 Aug 2016.
  28. Combaz, E. (2015). Implementing integrated financial management information systems. Applied Knowledge Services. GSDRC. Accessed 8 Aug 2016.
  29. Engjell, P. (2015). The impact of good governance in the economic development of Western Balkan countries. European Journal of Government and Economics, 4(1, June), 50–62.Google Scholar
  30. Escresa, L., & Picci, L. (2015). A new cross-national measure of corruption. The World Bank Review. doi: 10.1093/wber/lhv031.
  31. Ezeanya, C. (2012, August 12). Origin of corruption in Africa and the way forward. 6 Aug 2016.
  32. Forbes. (2009, January 22). Corruption and poverty. Accessed 24 July 2016.
  33. Freund, B. (1984). The making of contemporary Africa: The development of African society since 1800. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gupta, S., Davoodi, H., & Alonso-Terme, R. (1998). Does corruption affect income inequality and poverty? Fiscal Affairs Department. International Monetary Fund. Accessed 21 July 2016.
  35. Harris, M., & Raviv, A. (1979). Optimal incentive contract with imperfect information. Journal of Economic Theory, 20, 231–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hope, K. (1997). African political economy: Contemporary issues in development. London: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  37. Human Rights Watch. (2010, August 17). Everyone’s in on the game: Corruption and human rights abuses by the Nigerian Police Force. New York. Accessed 12 Dec 2015.
  38. Human Rights Watch. (2012). Everyone’s in on the game: Corruption and human rights abuses by the Nigerian police force. New York: Human Rights Watch.Google Scholar
  39. Ijewereme, O. (2015, April–June 1–16). Anatomy of corruption in the Nigerian public sector: Theoretical perspectives and some empirical explanations. Sage Open.Google Scholar
  40. Ijewereme, O., & Dunmade, E. (2014). Leadership crisis and corruption in the Nigerian public sector: Implications for socioeconomic development of Nigeria. International Journal of Public Administration and Management Research, 33(1), 24–38.Google Scholar
  41. Ikejiaku, B. (2009). ‘Crime’, poverty, political corruption and conflict in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa: The implications on economic development. African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 3(10), 451–459.Google Scholar
  42. Imhonopi, D., & Ugochukwu, M. (2013). Leadership crisis and corruption in the Nigeria public sector: An albatross of national development. The African Symposium: An Online Journal of the African Educational Research Network, 3(1), 78–87.Google Scholar
  43. Ittner, S. (2009). Fighting corruption in Africa: A comparative study of Uganda and Botswana. PhD thesis, Deutschen Hochschule für Verwaltungswissenschaften.Google Scholar
  44. Ivanov, K. (2007). The limits of a global campaign against corruption. In S. Bracking (Ed.), Corruption and development: The anticorruption campaigns (pp. 28–45). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Johnson, S. (2010). The history of the Yorubas: From the earliest times to the beginning of the British protectorate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Johnston, M. (2005). Syndromes of corruption: Wealth, power, and democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kararach, G. (2014). Development policy in Africa: Mastering the future? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kimenyi, I., Mwangi, S., & Mbaku, J. (2011). Africa’s war on corruption in foresight Africa: The Continent’s greatest challenges and opportunities for 2011. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  49. Kpundeh, S. (2014). Building state capacity in Africa. Washington, DC: World Bank Publications.Google Scholar
  50. Lambsdorff, J. (2006). What is bad about corruption? The contribution of the new institutional economics. In H. R. Hemmer (Ed.), Good governance (pp. 11–55). Frankfurt: Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau.Google Scholar
  51. Lawson, L. (2009). The politics of anticorruption reform. Journal of Modern African Studies, 47(1), 73–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Luminita, I. (2013). The role of technology in combating corruption. Journal of Economics, Management and Financial Markets, 8(3), 101–106.Google Scholar
  53. Lumumba, P. (2011). Corruption: The bane of Africa. SAPICS 33rd Annual Conference and Exhibition 26 to 28. Sun City, South Africa. Accessed 12 July 2016.
  54. Makumbe, J. (1994). Bureaucratic corruption in Zimbabwe: Causes and magnitude of the problem. Africa Development, 19(3), 45–60.Google Scholar
  55. Mazrui, A., & Tidy, M. (1984). Nationalism and new states in Africa from about 1935 to the present. New Hampshire: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  56. Merton, R. (1938). Social structure and anomie. American Sociological Review, 3, 672–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mohammed, U. (2013). Corruption in Nigeria: A challenge to sustainable development in the Forth Republic. European Scientific Journal, 9, 118–137.Google Scholar
  58. Mulinge, M., & Lesetedi, G. (1998). Interrogating our past: Colonialism and corruption in Africa. African Journal of Political Science, 3(2), 15–28.Google Scholar
  59. Mungiu-Pippidi, A. (2015). Corruption: Diagnosis and treatment. Journal of Democracy, 17(3), 86–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Nigerian Bulletin. (2015, February 6). Politics NNPC Audit: No Missing $20 Billion – Bloomberg. Accessed 7 Aug 2016.
  61. Nwabughiogu, L. (2015, August 20). Over 100m Nigerians living below poverty line: Osinbajo. Vanguard Newspapers, pp. 22–23.Google Scholar
  62. Ocheni, S., & Nwankwo, B. (2012). Analysis of colonialism and its impact in Africa. Cross Cultural Communication, 8(3), 46–54.Google Scholar
  63. Okekeocha, C. (2013). A case study of corruption and public accountability in Nigeria. Dissertation, Kennesaw State University, Department of Political Science and International Affairs, Kennesaw.Google Scholar
  64. Otusanya, O., Lauwo, S., Adeyeye, G. (2012). A critical examination of the multinational companies’ anticorruption policy in Nigeria. Accountancy Business and the Public Interest.
  65. Persson, A., Rothstein, B., & Teorell, J. (2010). The failure of anticorruption policies: A theoretical mischaracterization of the problem. Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg, Department of Political ScienceThe Quality of Government Institute.Google Scholar
  66. Persson, A., Rothstein, B., & Teorell, J. (2013). Why anticorruption reforms fail: Systemic corruption as a collection action problem. Governance, 26(4), 449–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Premium Times. (2016, July 18). How lawyers, judges are slowing down Nigeria’s anticorruption war: Buhari, p. 21. Accessed 10 Aug 2016.
  68. Ravallion, M. (1997). Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty? Economics Letters, 56, 51–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rose, S. (1973). The economic theory of agency: The principal’s problem. The American Economic Review, 63(2), 134–139.Google Scholar
  70. Rothstein, B. (2011). Anticorruption the indirect ‘big bang’ approach. Review of International Political Economy, 11(2), 228–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Samura, B. (2009). The negative effects of corruption on developing nations. Accessed 12 July 2016.
  72. Seabright, P. (1993). Managing local commons: Theoretical issues in incentive design. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 7(4), 113–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sutherland, E. (1940). White collar criminality. American Sociological Review, 5, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. The Economist. (2014, December 6). Mining and Corruption: Crying Foul in Guinea. The Economist. Accessed 10 Aug 2016.
  75. The Economist. (2015, December 3). The scale of corruption in Africa. Accessed 15 July 2016.
  76. The Guardian. (2013, October 25). Mobutu Sese Seko’s body to be returned to Democratic Republic of the Congo. New York. Accessed 22 July 2016.
  77. The Monitor. (2014, April 20). Will Gen Aronda finally deliver ID cards for Ugandans? Accessed 8 Aug 2016.
  78. The Punch. (2016, August 7). Budget padding is corruption, SERAP tells Dogara. The Punch Newspapers. Accessed 7 Aug 2016.
  79. Transparency International. (2000). TI sourcebook. Confronting corruption: The elements of a national integrity system. Berlin: Transparency International.Google Scholar
  80. Transparency International. (2015, November 30). Corruption in Africa: 75 million people pay bribes. Accessed 15 July 2016.
  81. United Nations. (2004). Anti-corruption toolkit. New York: UN.Google Scholar
  82. United Nations Development Programme. (2014). Anticorruption practice note. New York: UNDP.Google Scholar
  83. United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. (2016). Measuring corruption in Africa: The international dimension matters. African Governance Report IV, Addis Ababa. Accessed 14 July 2016.
  84. UNODC. (2011). Impaect of corruption on development and how states can better tackle corruption under the spotlight at UN Anticorruption Conference in Morocco. The Fourth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Marrakech.Google Scholar
  85. World Bank. (2000). Anticorruption in transition: A contribution to the policy debate. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  86. Young, P. (1998). Individual strategy and social structure: An evolutionary theory of institutions. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social and Management SciencesOlabisi Onabanjo UniversityAgo-IwoyeNigeria

Personalised recommendations