Of the more than 43,000 Africans polled by the organisation and Afrobarometer 58% believe corruption is increasingly prevalent, most believe corruption is on the rise in 18 out of the 28 sub-Saharan African countries included in the survey and many have come into contact with corruption themselves when accessing public services.
Transparency International chair José Ugaz said it was time to “unmask” those behind corruption who enjoy lavish lifestyles while millions of Africans are deprived of basic services.
Aside from citizens in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Senegal, Transparency International’s report People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015, found that few believe much is being done to tackle corruption.
On average, almost a quarter (22%) of those that had come into contact with a public service in the country in the past year reported to have paid a bribe. Citizens who have interacted with the police (27%) and the courts (28%) were most likely to have had this experience.
Poor people who use public services are twice as likely as rich people to have paid a bribe and those living in urban areas are also more likely to have to hand over cash.
More than one in three Africans think that whistleblowers are likely to face negative consequences for reporting corruption and that reporting mechanisms are too dangerous, according to the report, deterring people from coming forward.
Ugaz said that “people need to be given the space to stand up against [corruption] without fear of retaliation and governments need to get serious about ending the widespread impunity”.
For the first time, Africans also reported that they saw business executives as highly corrupt, ranking business as having the highest levels of corruption in the region second to only the police.
The report recommends that governments strengthen their response to corrupt business people and money laundering.
It also suggested that government do more to protect whistleblowers, crack down on corruption within the police and petty bribery and called on the African Union and its members to provide the political will and financing to implement the review mechanism for its anti-corruption convention.