Perceptions of corruption in African political and economic development: Case studies of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria custom essay.

Research Problem

History is mute evidence to the fact that massive corruption, deprivation, misrule and government mismanagement of aid and public funds have been the main causes for low political and economic development in Africa, along with lack of proper educational infrastructure and social development planning (Chukwumike, 2015). As one of the oldest phenomenon in human society, corruption has been defined “as an abuse of public duty for private gain by public personnel”. (World Bank,1997,). This can be amplified as unlawful amassing of wealth by public officials assigned to execute public responsibility including political positions and this can impact negatively on one country’s economy, thereby affecting investments and development. (Rock , 2004).

Corrupt practices may include nepotism, job reservations, favouritism, secret political funding, misappropriation of public funds, over invoicing and under invoicing or window dressing, private interest within public activities (World Bank, 1997). Africa is viewed as a ‘dark continent’ for decades due to its poor developmental record, disease, famine, civil wars and corruption as portrayed by Western media (Poncian, 2015). Public resources are used by those in leadership roles to benefit themselves, their families and cronies at the expense of the wider majority of taxpayers. The African continent is endowed with natural resources such as deposits of oil and gas, forests, minerals, oceans, lakes etc. While it would be expected that such resources would propel the African continent to new developmental heights, Africa still lags behind other continents that are conspicuously less endowed (Carmignani & Chowdhury, 2011).

Corruption has driven the poverty levels to unprecedented heights, with African countries failing to feed and provide basic amenities for their population, thus resorting to civil strife. Nigeria has large oil and gas deposits, but its growth rates and GDP are lower than its counterparts on less endowed continents (Caselli, 2006). Similar developmental challenges can be observed in other West African nations such as Ghana and Ivory Coast (Caselli, 2006).

How society views and reacts to corruption plays a major role in determining whether it is stopped or encouragedSome societal practices can glorify and fuel corruption, while others discourage the vice (Hanson, 2009). This study therefore intends to delve into the perceptions of corruption in West Africa’s political and economic developments and the implications for Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

Theoretical Background

Corruption in Africa is a developmental issue. African nations cannot bear the cost of corruption, which ultimately impedes development and highly reducing governments’ ability to reduce poverty and provide for its citizenry. Spectrums of corruptions are broad and range from petty corruption to small bureaucratic procedures to the high-level corruption that involves large amounts of money changing hands by politicians (Atuobi, 2007). In the political arena, corruption undermines democracy and good governance. Also, it affects the ability of legislative bodies to be accountable, distorting the representation in policy making. Corruption also erodes judicial capability to make decisions, while also affecting the institutional capacity of procedures as laid down rules are flouted, resources stolen and public positions being bought and sold with impunity.

The role of corruption in conflicts, especially in oil rich areas cannot be overemphasized. Internal conflicts in West Africa and the rise of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Al-Shabab are funded by the illegal sale of arms, or unlawful extraction of high-value resources such gold, diamonds and timber. Weapons are trafficked across borders into less stable nations which instigate civil wars, thereby destabilizing the region. Hence, corruption poses a threat to post-conflict countries like Ivory Coast engaging in peace building. Various theories have been used in an attempt to explain corruption. The psychoanalytic approach is derived from Freud Sigmund’s components of personality. The three elements of a person’s character are the ego, super ego, and id, which is a Latin abbreviation used by Freud to refer to innate and subconscious character traits of a person. A corrupt person is a result of lack of balance between the three. This person may have a resilient but a very feeble super ego (Freud & Freud, 2001). This combined with a fairly regular ego leads to corrupt tendencies. This theory is used to examine the validity of the perception that corruption can be innate and some people are more inclined towards being corrupt than others.

Cognitive learning theories propose a view point that relates with many leaders (Tankebe, 2010). Since the different political regimes that have tasted power in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria have struggled with combating corruption. This theory suggests that future leaders will have corrupt tendencies since they learnt the vice from their predecessors. This together with the lack of proper punishment for corrupt individuals glorifies the vice. As a result, incoming leaders believe no serious action is taken on corrupt persons hence they are not motivated to resist the canker (Asongu, 2013). The lavish lifestyle these corrupt officials lead encourages others to become corrupt. The need approach is a theory that suggests people use corruption as a means to satisfy their needs and to protect and secure a financially sound future for themselves and their families (Ghana Anti-Corruption Manual, 2002).

Fear of job security and uncertain political times drives many into corruption (Olagunju, 2012). Leaders who failed to amass illegal wealth for themselves are often ridiculed on retirement for not being able to secure their future when they had the chance to engage in corrupt practices. Dependency theorists do not encourage a self-sufficient economy (Larrain, 2013). As such leadership sees the developed countries as a constant source of undepletable wealth and keeps siphoning funds from them. This explains the high public debts, and the many aid and grants that have been misappropriated and squandered through the phenomenon of corruption.

Significance of the Research

The study will be significant as it will help bring to light the way people in Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast perceive corruption and how such perceptions affect the economic and political development of the countries involved. Leaders in these nations take advantage of their leadership positions and use the opportunity as a means to amass wealth. Moreover, in order to consolidate the money they loot from the public coffers they refuse to relinquish power through the manipulations of constitutional provisions. According to Ayittey (2002), African leaders such as General Sani Abacha of Nigeria, President Houphey Boigny (Ivory Coast), General Ibrahim Babangida (Nigeria) were worth $20 billion, $6 billion and $5 billion respectively. Understanding the way the citizenry perceive the acquisition of unscrupulous wealth by the political elite will be necessary if Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria are to adopt policies and enact legislations in the fight against corruption. A report on corruption published in August 2009 by Transparency International, listed Nigeria as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. With reference to the then military coup which occurred in November 1993, following the annulment of presidential elections in June that year, General Sani Abacha, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, took power and annulled the organs of state, banned political parties and dismantled all democratic structures (BBC , April 25, 1998).

Ivory Coast lacks some basic governance infrastructures, and the weakness of law enforcement and anti-Graft agencies makes the governance system largely ineffective (Transparency International, 2013). Patronage of clan and tribal networks continue to play a central role in the Ivoirian society, and the President Alassane Dramane Outtara administration does not operate transparently (Transparency International, 2013). The poor governance structure is becoming an obstacle for genuine reconciliation in a still-divided Ivory Coast, while countries like Ghana have made significant strides in the fight against corruption in recent times (UNCAC, 2003).

The Government of Ghana in October, 2015 suspended 34 high court Judges and 146 judicial staff for their roles in a high level corruption scandal that hit the Judiciary. The nearly 500 hours of video evidence on tape entitled, “Ghana in the eyes of God; Epic of Injustice” showed judges allegedly asking for bribes and demanding sex was exposed by an investigative journalist (Anas , 2015). The judicial corruption above reveals more need to be done beyond enactments of legislations if Ghana is to win the battle against corruption. The willingness by journalists, Civil Society Organizations and private citizens to raise the red flag and get involved in the fight against corruption has helped Ghana’s Anti-Corruption campaign. Enactment of legislations and institutional mechanisms such as the Whistle Blowers Act, Freedom of Information Bill, Serious Fraud Office, Anti-Money Laundering Act, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Economic Organized Crime Office (EOCO) among others are some of the measures put in place to fight corruption in Ghana. (Ghana Anti-Corruption Manual, 2009)

Research in this area will unearth and delve deep into the society’s perceptions of corruption and their role in the advancement of the vice. This will help curb corruption as society will strive to change their perceptions if they encourage corruption and uphold them if they help fight the vice. This will help Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria move close to the dream of a corruption free country.

Research Questions and Hypothesis

The study will seek to answer the following issues on corruption perception in West African nations Ghana, Ivory Coast and Ghana:

  1. a)   What are the perceptions of corruption in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria?
  2. b)   Is there a relationship between the level of corruption and state of instability in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria?
  3. c)   To what extent does corruption affect the stability in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria?
  4. d)   What policy options are available for Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria to address these perceptions?

Research Methodology

The research will utilize surveys that will be designed to collect data. The survey will utilise convenient samples which will provide an easier and more cost effective platform to collect data since the population under study is geographically dispersed and large (Wright, 2005). The survey will be conducted online and measures to ensure the sample under study is representative of the population, such that data from matured residents in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria will strictly be used. Questionnaires with key demographic questions will be used to narrow down the sample. These questions will include but not limited to, age of correspondents, current country of residence and period of residence in host country. Questionnaires will be semi-structured with a topic guide. Secondary, qualitative research based on published articles, reports, White papers and case studies on Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria will also be used

Data Sources and Rights of Participants

The primary data source will be surveys which will be conducted online. The survey questionnaires will ask participants for their perceptions of various factors relating to economic and political issues tied to corruption. The surveys will be carried out from the pool of online users that resides and work in the formal and informal sectors of the economies of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria, with respondents found through websites, Research panels and In-House list from organizations and the general public (Bohrntedt, 1993). Participants will be directed to a portal where log in using numerical IDs for anonymity will be employed. This will offer an excellent pool at a cost effective budget (Duffy et al, 2005). Secondary data sources such as USAID corruption handbook, Corruption Indices, World Bank, OECD, Transparency International, other Anti-corruption agencies and website of these nations amongst others will also be used to compare, provide insight and help analyze the data obtained from the primary source.

Legal Issues

The consent of respondents will be sought, with confidentiality and compensation for their time guaranteed. A binding consent form will be issued together with the questionnaire. This form would   withdraw before the completion of the study. No known threats are posed to the respondents. Participants will be protected from exposure as they submit their opinion via a secure website meant to conceal their identities. The participants would be required to use codes instead of real names while filling the surveys, encrypting the identifiable data, and also removing all face sheets that might contain identifiable data such as participants’ addresses (Government of Canada, 2015). Also, the study data and documents will be deleted or destroyed once they have served their intended purpose. Moreover, a privacy agreement will be signed such that the information gathered will be used for academic purposes only, and non-exposure or no reprimand agreements (Virginia Tech, 2015). When all these measures to protect the respondents have been put in place, the candidate carries the right to use and publish the data collected and respondents would be aware that they no longer have the right to deny the candidate to use the data (Tankebe, 2010). The candidate has custody of the data but it is and remains the property of the Swiss Management Centre University.

Research Plan-Time Schedule

Activity Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
Research Phase



Asongu, S. A. (2013). Fighting corruption in Africa: do existing corruption-control levels matter? International Journal of Development Issues, 12(1), 36-52.

Atuobi, S. M. (2007). Corruption and State Instability in West Africa: An Examination of Policy Options . KAIPTC Occasion Paper, 1-24.

Carmignani, F., & Chowdhury, A. (2011). Why are natural resources a curse in Africa, but not elsewhere ? University of Queensland, 1-42.

Caselli, F. (2006). Power Struggles and the Natural Resource Curse. NBER, 1-22.


Chukwumike, U. (2015, June 25). Corruption in Africa: Overview, Causes, Effects, and Solutions. Retrieved from Hub Pages:

Freud, S., & Freud, A. (2001). Complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 1). Random House.

Furphy, C. (2010, November 16). Corruption in Africa: A crime against development. Retrieved from Consultancy Africa Intelligence:

Gbenga, L. (2007). Corruption and Development in Africa: Challenges for Political and Economic Change. Journal of Humanity and Social sci, 2(1), 1-7.

Government of Canada. (2015). Privacy and Confidentiality. Retrieved from Panel on Research Ethics:

Gyimah-Brempong, K. (2002). Corruption, economic growth,and income inequality in Africa. Economic Governance, 183–209.

Hanson, S. (2009, August 6). Corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa. Retrieved from Council on Foreign Relations:

Kimenyi, S. M., & Mbaku, J. M. (2011). Africa’s war on corruption. Foresight Africa, 30-34.

Larrain, J. (2013). Theories of development: Capitalism, colonialism and dependency. John Wiley & Sons.

Olagunju, O. (2012). Corruption control in Nigeria: Holistic approach.

Poncian, J. (2015). The persistence of western negative perceptions about Africa: Factoring in the role of Africansi. Journal of African Studies and Development, 7(3), 72-80.

Tankebe, J. (2010). Public confidence in the police testing the effects of public experiences of police corruption in Ghana. British Journal of Criminology, 50(2), 296-319.

Transparency International. (2013, April 19). Overview of corruption and anti-corruption in Côte d’Ivoire. Retrieved from Transparency International:

Virginia Tech. (2015). Protecting Confidentiality & Anonymity. Retrieved from Virginia Tech:

World Bank. (n.d.). Helping Countries Combat Corruption: The Role of the World Bank. Retrieved from The World Bank Group:

Wright, K. B. (2005). Researching Internet‐based populations: Advantages and disadvantages of online survey research, online questionnaire authoring software packages, and web survey services. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 10(3), 00-00

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