Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

More graft means less money

March 7, 2011

KENYA-CORRUPTIONYou can’t discuss investment in Africa without looking at the risks and there is no doubt that corruption is among those.

Patrick Lumumba, director of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission, has plenty of experience of trying to fight graft and has the death threats to show for it. He spoke to the Reuters Africa Investment Summit and had some harsh words for the continent’s leaders – including those in Kenya.

“We have perfected the art of telling on camera that which is nice to hear, but immediately we recede into the inner sanctums of power we connive and go to bed with the corrupt and that is the tragedy of African double speak,” he said.

Analysts say graft has choked growth in Kenya, deterring potential investors. There is growing frustration that senior officials get away with flagrant theft, which has tarnished Kenya’s image.

Lumumba said conservative estimates showed corruption takes up to 35 percent of Kenya’s gross domestic product, or up to 55 percent if you include wastage — and a third of the country’s procurement budget.

The danger is not only that corruption administration – and perceptions of it – can damage business and investment, but that it can fuel political discontent too.  Just ask the former rulers of Tunisia and Egypt.

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