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What account for the deplorable conditions on the continent of Africa - Essay Example

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It has vast quantities of oil, timber, and precious metals. Countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Nigeria have so many resources that it is logical for them to have powerful, vibrant economies…
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What account for the deplorable conditions on the continent of Africa
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What account for the deplorable conditions on the continent of Africa

Download file to see previous pages... Throughout the continent of Africa corruption is rampant. In order to receive even the most basic services Africans must pay bribes. In order for companies such as Shell to do business in Nigeria (ranked 121 in the world by Transparency International1) a huge amount of money must be paid out to local officials to “grease the wheels.” In hospitals, patients may have to put money in doctors’ consulting books in order to be treated. In schools, students may have to pay their teachers for passing grades.2 All of these situations are commonplace. Studies have shown that Africa loses $150 billion a year due to corruption and that products cost as much as 20 per cent more.3 It is impossible to measure how much more developed Africa would be at this moment had not a culture of corruption existed there for so long.
In countries with poorly constructed, inefficient, and non self-enforcing constitutional rules, opportunistic behavior (including rent seeking) are usually quite pervasive. In such countries, the rules that regulate socio-political interaction, have failed to adequately constrain the government. As a result, state intervention in private exchange is equally pervasive. Excessive regulation of economic activities creates many opportunities for rent seeking, including bureaucratic corruption.4
Many public servants in Africa may have power to allocate resources, but they make small salaries. It is very easy for them to make a lot of money on the side by taking payments from special interests. Plus, public servants may have poor relatives who they are also supporting. They may not simply take bribes out of selfishness, but possibly to help feed their extended families. Nevertheless, it is clear that more rules and guidelines are required for public servants in their dealings with the private sector. Enforcement of such rules is desperately required.5
John Githongo argues that corruption usually begins at the top of a country’s leadership, and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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