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The biggest obstacle to the achievement of development objectives in Africa is corruption. As the world is rapidly advancing towards becoming a global village, a large percentage of people in Africa do not have the opportunity of benefiting from the fruits of economic and industrial development that is happening across the world, primarily because of the widespread corruption that prevails in most African countries. Africa is blessed with a major percentage of the world’s natural resources and people from the continent have made their mark in several areas such as science, technology and medicine. Despite such developments, things such as cars and television continue to be extraordinary luxuries amongst people of Africa. Millions continue to live in extreme poverty and a vast majority is unemployed despite being educated. People are deprived of clean drinking water and educational facilities are not available for all children. There have been frequent instances of civil war in several parts of the continent, while millions have been dying from diseases that cannot be controlled because of inadequate financial resources for healthcare. The main reason for the underdevelopment in Africa is the high level of corruption that prevails in the entire continent and continues to remain unchecked.
This paper examines the extent to which corruption can be blamed for Africa’s underdevelopment by specifically referring to the case of Nigeria. In doing so, the internal and external causes of underdevelopment in Nigeria will be critically analyzed. The aim of this paper is to give an analytical perspective in order to understand why African countries have been unable to develop and to understand why sub-Saharan Africa has the reputation of being the most corrupt area in the world. The paper will also highlight the concepts and contexts of political corruption as the main cause of underdevelopment in many African countries. Chapter 1. Underdevelopment and Corruption in Africa Corruption is understood as acts of wrong doings with the objective of making money, which implies that the extreme desire to make money is the basic reason for corruption. According to Auyo (1999), corruption is the termination or demolition of a disposition or a perverted act relative to changing anything from its initial status of purity. In simple terms, corruption is said to be practiced by deviating from the normal way of doing things. In the modern world, corruption is understood as the misappropriation of public money, enticement, theft or any forms of attempts to embezzle or to illegally gain or abuse assets or authority. Therefore, corruption is revealed through perverted acts or through obliteration or veracity while discharging public duty. Thus, corruption is considered a psychological or social condition whereby the ethical and correct ways of performing one’s duties are abandoned because of some kind of internal or external stimulus (Bayley, 1966). Although the words corruption and fraud are mostly used in referring to such practices, it is important to understand the differences amongst the two terms. Corruption is related with misusing public authority and is mostly related with acts committed by government functionaries, while fraud is an occurrence that can happen in both the private and public sectors (Isa, 2009). Both corruption and fraud have proved to be severe problems that have been hampering economic growth in Africa (Sandholtz and Gray, 2003). Most efforts initiated by government and nongovernment agencies to tackle the problem have not yielded good results. For the last several years, Nigeria has been rated amongst the three most corrupt states in the world. In attempts to combat corruption, the
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