Demystifying African corruption

In: Uncategorized

11 Nov 2007

A new documentary from Worldwrite, an education charity, examines the question of corruption from an African perspective. In Corruptababble two young South Africans, Brendon and Yolanda, travel around London and Edinburgh to gauge perceptions of corruption. Virtually everyone they speak to sees corruption as a big problem in Africa but few come even close to being able to back up their arguments. Most simply assert that corruption must be largely to blame for Africa’s difficulties while many others argue it is a more extreme form of corruption in the West.

The people shown to have the most coherent explanation for corruption are free marketers speaking at a conference on development. They argue in detail that Africa is poor because predatory African elites have siphoned off money for their own benefit. But such arguments have a strongly apologetic character. Blaming Africans for the continent’s lack of development is a way of diverting responsibility from the West or the weaknesses of the market system.

Corruptababble is a step towards challenging one of the most enduring myths about Africa. Anyone who supports African development needs to be able to challenge the unhealthy obsession with corruption.