n Ubuntu : Journal of Conflict and Social Transformation - Corruption and economic development : Africa and East Asia in comparative perspective

Volume 2, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 2078-760X
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4950


In the past two decades, corruption has attracted increasing attention around the world. This is a reflection of the pervasive character of the phenomenon as it is endemic in both authoritarian and democratic regimes. African society has been bedevilled by high profile corruption. This menace has permeated the entire continent with its attendant rise of a few wealthy elites while the overwhelming majority of Africans wallow in abject poverty. Poor economic performance is a general feature of African countries, including those endowed with rich natural resources. In the case of East Asia, recent developments highlight that high degree of corruption has accompanied increased growth and investment. These levels of corruption are comparable with those experienced in African states. Nonetheless, there are significant differences in the efficiency and economic performance of these regions, illustrated by weak and slow economic development and poverty in Africa, in comparison with rapid economic growth in East Asia. This paper probes the nexus between corruption and economic development. In doing so, it investigates whether or not East Asian countries with similar levels of corruption as African countries experience a parallel level of efficiency. It also examines the relevance of the nature of corruption to a state's economic performance. The article concludes that the governments in both regions must exercise the political will to combat the menace regardless of the degree of impact corruption has on economic development in their respective regions.

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