Measuring Corruption Victimization and Strengthening Corruption Cleanup in Developing Countries: What Has Worked for Anti-Corruption Reforms and What Has Not Worked in Africa

Measuring Corruption Victimization and Strengthening Corruption Cleanup in Developing Countries: What Has Worked for Anti-Corruption Reforms and What Has Not Worked in Africa

Waziri Babatunde Adisa (Department of Sociology, University of Lagos, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1112-1.ch005

Abstract

Corruption is one of the greatest challenges of development in developing countries particularly in Africa where the state is run like a personal enterprise. Since the end of the Cold war, the international community has shown considerable interest in the study and control of corruption in developing societies leading to billions of dollars investments in anticorruption cleanups. This chapter argues that although there has been considerable success in the measurement of corruption using corruption perception index, BEEPS, PETS, case studies, and direct observation, and despite the sub rosa nature of the problem, only marginal success has been achieved in measuring corruption victimization in many of these societies. The consequence of this is a lack of synergy between corruption victimization data sets and anti-corruption programs.
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Introduction

Since the end of the Cold War in 1989, corruption cleanups have multiplied in the Third World following the collapse of one-party regimes and the return of democracy to many African countries (Kaufmann & Dininio, 2007; Mungiu-Pippidi, 2006; Stefes, 2007; Sequeira, 2012). Before then, corruption cleanups had been perceived largely as the business of individual governments in the developing world while the international community concentrated on foreign-aid support for development in the region. To the disappointment of the international community, however, most of such aids found their way into the private accounts of the political elite in the Third World, who had, after their countries became independent, proceeded to capture the state and convert its resources to personal use. Undeterred by international sanctions, most African leaders looted the state treasury and transferred the stolen funds into foreign accounts while the economies of their countries and their people suffered for decades (Meredith, 2005; Mbaku, 2000).

At the end of the Cold War in 1989, the international community started to take a different view of corruption in the developing world. Several factors have been linked to this development. The first was the realization by aid donors e.g. the World Bank, IMF, United Nations, United States, and the European Union, that the cause of underdevelopment in Africa and the rest of the Third Worldwas not lacked resources but absence of purposeful leadership that would shun corruption and channel national resources towards development programs(Kaufmann & Dininio, 2007).

While this thinking was dominant, the ideological change from a bipolar to a unipolar world, as occasioned by the end of Cold War politics, also alerted the West as to the need to encourage democracy in the Third World while stemming the tide of corruption there. During the Cold War, many one-party regimes and military dictatorships in Africa, Latin America and the Arab world had enjoyed the support of some Western countries, particularly the two key players in the Cold War, which had broken out in 1979 following Russia's invasion of Afghanistan (Ake, 2000; Seligson, 2002).

As part of the politics of the Cold War, either superpower had struggled to maintain several countries as allies as it canvassed its ideology of capitalism or communism. Because of its influence in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, the United States received more support than the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR]) from many political leaders in these regions. Bent on winning the Cold War, the United States and the USSR turned a blind eye to corruption in Africa, Asia, and Latin America even as they supported non-democratic governments in the regions. Consequently, many African countries fell under the control of corrupt rulers, who plundered state resources, thus ruining the economy and plunging their people into the abyss of recession and poverty (Ake, 2000; Meredith, 2005).

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