African Governance Report IV - 2016

Measuring Corruption in Africa - The International Dimension Matters

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This 4th edition of the African Governance Report provides a critique of perception-based measurements of corruption as well as an assessment of existing alternative, mostly mixed, measures of corruption. It highlights that pure perception-based measurements are highly subjective and do not provide insights into the institutional and policy reforms needed to combat corruption and improve economic governance. They also fail to take into account the international dimension of corruption. The report argues that the problem of corruption has to be assessed and addressed in the context of overall economic governance, taking into consideration both its domestic and international dimensions. It also presents policy recommendations related to improving transparency and accountability, enhancing ownership and participation in the fight against corruption, building credible national economic governance institutions, and improving the regional and global economic governance architecture.



Why are current perception-based measures of corruption inadequate for Africa?

Chapter 1 highlighted the importance of tackling corruption, in particular the need to reconsider its measurement in the context of Africa. Current perception-based measures of corruption are inadequate in providing a credible assessment, given the specificities of the African context. While it is important to review how African countries have performed against these measures, to understand the implications for policy development and institutional building, the question for Africa’s policymakers is: what is the usefulness or otherwise of such perception-based measures, noting that a wider governance agenda must be brought into the debate? In order to answer this question it is critical to assess the conceptual and methodological frameworks underpinning most corruption measurements. In addition, it is equally critical to understand the main limitations of popular corruption measurements. There is, therefore, a need to move away from naming and shaming and ranking countries, which does not provide useful policy insights and recommendations to inform policy reforms.


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