#17. Corruption, Governance and Africa’s Competitiveness: Evidence from West Africa

Enoch Antwi, PhD

Daymar Colleges Group, Kentucky, U.S.A


Given the gap between the unstable political systems and the corruption, and looming risky investments: Economic stakeholders must find new ways to attract investments and competitiveness in Africa (Rose-Ackerman, 1999; Asiedu, 2002; McGowan, 2005; Atuobi, 2008; Boafo-Arthur, 2008). Research demonstrates that most of the wars and political conflicts, which affect developments in Africa, occur as a result of election malpractices, disputes over election results, and corrupt government officials (Ayittey, 2002; McGowan, 2005; De Graaf, 2007; Babeiya, 2011). These threats tend to stifle investment and Africa’s overall competitiveness. This is because under such high political risk, investments are likely to be scarce, even when the expected returns on investment might be attractive. One aspect, which is the focus of this paper, is in how the corruption of the political leadership may compromise Africa’s productivity and competiveness.

West African data show that political leaders are partly corrupt because they perceive their continued political lives to be dependent on satisfying the demands of their party followers. The paper shows that the amount of “gifts” and bribery that go on during elections are a leakage in the system, unaccompanied by productive work. This means that resources allocated to undertake development and recurrent programs are routinely diverted to personal and unproductive uses. Basically, we found that corruption occurs at the interface of political leadership and party followership and this electoral corruption affects competitiveness.

The international investment community is keenly aware of this, as shown by very discouraging African scores on transparent and good governance measures, like the Transparent International’s Corruption Perception Index, Global Corruption Reports, World Bank reports and the Afrobarometer corruption report. The study also found a statistically significant relationship between the expectations of political party followers and the corrupt behaviors of political leaders (Somer's D (D = 0.201, p = .043 < .05) and Gamma (Gamma = 0.511, p = .043 < .05). In addition, we found a statistically significant relationship between the value or size of the gifts party followers  received from political leaders and the methods used for making the political leaders perceived that a gift was expected (X ² =12.533, P =.014 < .05). Investment and competitiveness in Africa largely depends on clear policy guidelines that make the economies an equal-opportunity investment partner; allow stakeholders to monitor the investment process, effect change within the institutions, build positive and trusting relations and strengthen their reputation to attract the right investors for Africa’s growth and development. 

Keywords: Political Leadership; Political Followership; Corruption, Competitiveness; Development; West Africa

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