“Quiet corruption” – the failure of public servants to deliver goods or services paid for by governments – is pervasive and widespread across Africa and is having a disproportionate effect on the poor, with long-term consequences for development, according to a new report from the World Bank.
Overall, the report is interesting in that it shows that corruption is not just about bribery (exchange of money in brown envelopes), its much more complex than that. Report visual – “quiet corruption” as the bottom [larger] part of the iceberg hidden below the water level.
The report has a number of examples of how corruption hurts development in key social sectors, including education and health, going against the common perception in developing countries (and some economists’) that corruption makes inefficiencies more efficient or that it speeds things up. Sure, it can speed things up, but at what cost?
What happens when 20% of teachers never show up for work, but get paid anyway? What happens when 30% of healthcare workers don’t show up for work, but get paid anyway? What happens when 50% of drugs sold in stores are counterfeit? What happens when more than 75% of firms in a country report that they have to regularly pay bribes amounting to 8% of the costs to get things done?
You can imagine what happens. Corruption no longer seems like harmless dealings to “get things done.”