SINCE INDEPENDENCE, VIRTUALLY ALL AFRICAN COUNTRIES HAVE suffered and continue to suffer from extremely high rates of bureaucratic corruption. Today, corruption remains one of the most important constraints to social, political and economic development. Despite the efforts made, in several countries, to deal with corruption and other forms of political opportunism (e.g., rent seeking), these phenomena remain entrenched in these countries and continue to constrain entrepreneurship and creation of the wealth that is needed to deal with extremely high rates of poverty and material deprivation. Part of the reason why many African countries have not been able to effectively cleanup corruption from their public services is that virtually all the national anti-corruption programs that have been developed and implemented in these countries during the last five decades have failed to put corruption in its proper perspective. Corruption is a form of post-constitutional opportunism, and hence, an effective cleanup program must begin with a negotiated change of existing rules in order to provide participants in both economic and political markets incentives that discourage them from engaging in the subversion of rules for their own benefit. The solution to the corruption imbroglio in Africa, then, lies in reconstruction and reconstitution of the post-colonial state through democratic (i.e., bottom-up, people-driven, inclusive and participatory) constitution making to provide each country with a locally-focused development-oriented constitution, which enhances peaceful coexistence, provides market incentive structures that promote the creation of wealth, but, at the same time, adequately and effectively constrains state custodians (civil servants and politicians) and prevents them from engaging in opportunistic behaviors.
- corruption cleanups,
- anti-corruption programs,
- rent seeking,
- democratic constitution making
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