Channels of corruption in Africa:
analytical review of trends in
Kempe Ronald Hope, Sr
Development Practice International, Oakville, Canada
Purpose –The purpose of this paper is to identifyand analytically review the trends of ﬁnancial crimes as
channelsof corruptionthat impact the development process and economic progress in Africa.
Design/methodology/approach –This paper outlines the trends in ﬁnancial crimes by compiling
statisticsderived from a scan of the publicly availablesurvey and other published data related.
Findings –The ﬁnancial crimes of embezzlement and theft, bribes and kickbacks, money laundering and illicit
ﬁnancial ﬂows and state capture are all channels of corruption that are prevalent in Africa with signiﬁcant
negative effects on the continent’s socio-economic development progress. The magnitude of these crimes has
been trending upward with the resultant effect that corruption continues to have signiﬁcant negative impacts on
Africa’s current and future development prospects. To develop policies to minimise these negative effects, it is
necessary to quantify and continuously monitor the magnitude of these various corruption channels.
Originality/value –The main value of the study is the insights it provideson the nature and extent of the
trends in ﬁnancial crimes as channels of corruption in Africa, and the resultant negative impact on socio-
economicdevelopment in the region.
Keywords Africa, Financial crimes, Bribes and kickbacks, Corruption channels,
Embezzlement and theft, Money laundering and illicit ﬁnancial ﬂows
Paper type Research paper
Corruption involves behaviour on the part of ofﬁceholders or employees in the public and
private sectors, in which they improperly and unlawfully advance their private interests of
any type and/orthose of others contrary to the interests of the ofﬁce or positionthey occupy,
or otherwise enrich themselves and/or others or induce others to do so by misusing the
positionin which they are placed. Thereare basically two classiﬁcations of corruption–petty
(low level, small scale, administrative, or bureaucratic) or grand (high level, elite, or usually
political)–and these may be exhibited throughmany channels with the principalones being:
Bribery, kickbacks and facilitation payments;
Embezzlement, theft and fraud;
Offering or receiving of an unlawful gratuity, favor or illegal commission;
Favoritism, nepotism, patronage and clientelism;
Money laundering and illicit ﬁnancial ﬂows; and
State capture and conﬂict of interest/inﬂuence peddling (Bussell, 2015;Graycar,
2015;Hope, 2017;Nichols, 2017).
Corruption is a pervasive problem in African countries where bad governance tends to
proliferate and institutionsare weak. Among other things, corruption drains resources away
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.27 No. 1, 2020
© Emerald Publishing Limited
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