Pitching for bribery? I'm out.

20 November 2009
As the newbie on the SM team, I'm still discovering the ins and outs of procurement, and there is evidently a lot to learn. One of the first things that became clear, however, was that bribery is, sadly, commonplace in Africa. I realised just how rife the problem is when I sat down last week to watch Dragons' Den Around the World on TV. The programme does what it says on the tin, giving a glimpse into how the programme works in its various international guises.   In one episode of the Nigerian version of the series, a young entrepreneur braved the den with his impressive idea for his refuse collection and disposal company. He wanted a 6 million naira (£23,885) investment in return for 50 per cent of his business. Great so far. But on closer inspection the Dragons unveiled a "fatal flaw" in his vision - he had programmed a 50,000 naira (£200) monthly bribery payment into his business plan. Needless to say, the response was a resounding "I'm out". But it made me think - either this guy had some serious brass neck or the problem is so much more widespread in Africa than I had ever imagined. Either way, the issue will continue to sully the reputation of good African business practice if people do not stand up to the system.
Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Falmer, Brighton
£33,797 rising to £40,322 per annum
University of Sussex
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