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.



Executive summary

Effective economic governance institutions are essential, not only for combating corruption, but also for structural transformation and inclusive development in Africa. The current predominantly perception- based measures of corruption are flawed and fail to provide a credible assessment of the dimensions of the problem of corruption in Africa. They focus on country ranking (“naming and shaming”) and as such do not provide useful policy insights and practical recommendations to inform policy and institutional reforms to help African countries to stem corruption. Alternative non-perception-based methods of measuring corruption remain inadequately developed and also ignore the international dimension of corruption in Africa. The present report calls upon African countries and partners to move away from purely perception-based measures of corruption and to focus instead on approaches to measuring corruption that are fact-based and built on more objective quantitative criteria. In the interim, perception-based methods anchored on more transparent and representative surveys should be used with caution and complemented, where possible, with quantitative country or case-specific indicators to produce more sophisticated and useful measures of corruption.


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