Bribery just ‘part of costs’ in Africa

26 March 2010

26 March 2010 | Jake Kanter

A high number of southern African companies expect to pay bribes to government officials to win contracts, research by the World Bank has revealed.

The African Development Indicators report, out this month, showed firms across the continent consider it normal practice to offer public figures “informal payments” in exchange for deals.

Some 38.45 per cent of businesses in Angola factored bribery into their operating costs. This was the highest of all the nations covered by CIPS Southern Africa – a new institute that comes into being on 7 April for buyers in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Angola.

The next highest was South Africa, where 33.2 per cent expect to pay bribes. More than 31 per cent of companies in Mozambique reported similar pressures.

Botswana and Namibia were the best performers, with 23 and 8 per cent of businesses respectively perceiving corruption as normal practice.

Overall, the southern African nations were not as corrupt as others across the continent. In Cameroon up to 85 per cent of firms expect to make illegal payments.

The World Bank figures were based on more than 450 macro-economic and social indicators. It said that Africa still performs “poorly”, with the exception of Botswana, Cape Verde and Mauritius, which “have made great strides”.

African buyers told SM last year they were confident corruption would decline in 2010. Over half of nearly 200 purchasers in 31 African countries thought fraud levels would drop, despite almost 91 per cent believing corruption exists on a significant or moderate scale.

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