Institutionalised and decentralised ‘copycats’? Exploring the implication of entrenched political and bureaucratic corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Why is political and bureaucratic corruption so entrenched in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)? Does corruption have a social functional value as its perpetrators, promoters and mediators may purport? Can ‘legalisation’ of corruption makes it distasteful and lose its social function and hence generate a meaningful debate on  how it can be abated?

In the JEFCAS Working Paper 3 which we announced in February, I argue that political and bureaucratic corruption in SSA are ‘copycats’ which have been institutionalized and decentralized with a social functional value.

Although corruption covers diverse practices, political and bureaucratic corruption in SSA are more visible and entrenched in state institutions. The vice constitutes an interplay of the forces of demand and supply – a situation that involves complicit actors from ‘outside’ the continent whose demand are met by the supply of stolen wealth by complicit African poliiticians and bureaucrats.

The paper argues that corruption may be significantly reduced by ‘legalising’ it. It is through legalization of corrupt practices when the vice may reach a ‘hurting stalemate’ state and will result in its loss of utility. Perhaps it only then that ‘everybody’ may condemn the vice and initiate conversations aimed at ending it once and for all.

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