The Negative Effects of Corruption on the Social, Economic and Physical Environment: A Case Study of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda

1. Abstract

This paper discusses corruption and integrity in modern world by comparing four different countries. The four countries included in this study are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect that corruption/integrity has on the social, economic and physical environment of the four countries. The study also looks at the force behind the unending corruption in these countries. The research methodology used in this study is a case study approach. The findings of the study reveal that corruption has negative effects on the social, economic and physical environment of the four countries. Corruption results in poor service delivery, low quality infrastructure, high levels of poverty and lack of foreign direct investment. The study recommends that the government should put in place effective anti-corruption measures to curb corruption in these countries.

2. Introduction

Corruption is a global problem that has been with us for many years now. It is defined as the abuse of power or position for personal gain (Müller, 2003). Corruption takes many forms such as bribery, nepotism, embezzlement and favouritism. It is found in both developed and developing countries. In most cases, it is found in developing countries where there is weak governance and accountability (Müller, 2003). Corruption has negative effects on the social, economic and physical environment of a country. This paper discusses corruption and integrity in modern world by comparing four different countries. The four countries included in this study are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect that corruption/integrity has on the social, economic and physical environment of the four countries. The study also looks at the force behind the unending corruption in these countries.

3. Methodology

The research methodology used in this study is a case study approach. This approach was chosen because it will enable the researcher to have an in-depth understanding of how corruption affects the social, economic and physical environment of the four countries (Yin, 2003). Data for this study was gathered from secondary sources such as books, journal articles, newspapers and websites. Qualitative data was also collected through interviews with experts in each of the four countries.

4. Results

The findings of the study reveal that corruption has negative effects on the social, economic and physical environment of the four countries understudy. Corruption results in poor service delivery, low quality infrastructure, high levels of poverty and lack of foreign direct investment. These negative effects are discussed below:

4. 1 Poor Service Delivery

One of the effects of corruption is poor service delivery. This is because corrupt officials tend to use their positions to enrich themselves instead of serving the people who elected them into office (Müller, 2003). This results in poor service delivery as projects meant to improve service delivery are either not implemented or not completed when they are implemented due to embezzlement of funds by corrupt officials (OECD, 2005). For example, in Kenya there have been several reports of Roads being constructed but later abandoned due to lack of funds (citizen TV website). This has led to poor road networks which makes it difficult for people to move around and access essential services such as healthcare and education (citizen TV website). Poor service delivery has also been witnessed in Uganda where some health facilities do not have drugs or even basic medical supplies (Monitor website). This is because the funds meant for procurement of drugs and medical supplies have been embezzled by corrupt officials (Monitor website).

4. 2 Low Quality Infrastructure

Another effect of corruption is low quality infrastructure. This is because corrupt officials often award contracts to cronies who do not have the expertise to deliver quality infrastructure (Müller, 2003). This results in poor quality roads, bridges and buildings which eventually collapse due to lack of maintenance (OECD, 2005). For example, in Kenya there have been several reports of buildings collapsing due to poor construction (citizen TV website). In Uganda, several bridges have been washed away due to poor construction (Monitor website). These incidents have led to loss of life and property. Low quality infrastructure also makes it difficult for people to access essential services such as healthcare and education (citizen TV website).

4. 3 High Levels of Poverty

Corruption also leads to high levels of poverty. This is because corrupt officials often divert public funds meant for pro-poor initiatives such as poverty alleviation programmes and social safety nets into their own pockets (Müller, 2003). This results in a decrease in the amount of resources available to help the poor which leads to an increase in poverty levels (OECD, 2005). For example, in Kenya there have been reports of corruption in the distribution of food aid where only some people receive the aid while others are left out (citizen TV website). This has led to high levels of hunger and starvation in some parts of the country. In Uganda, corruption in the education sector has led to poor quality education which limits opportunities for children from poor families (Monitor website). This has entrenching poverty among these families.

4. 4 Lack of Foreign Direct Investment

Another effect of corruption is lack of foreign direct investment. This is because investors are often deterred by the high levels of corruption in a country (Müller, 2003). This is because they perceive that their investment will not be safe in a country with high levels of corruption (OECD, 2005). For example, Kenya was recently ranked as the 3rd most corrupt country in Africa by Transparency International (2018) and this has led to a decrease in the amount of foreign direct investment coming into the country. In Uganda, there have been reports of foreign investors being frustrated by the high levels of bureaucracy and corruption when trying to do business in the country (Monitor website). This has led to some foreign investors pulling out of Uganda while others are hesitant to invest in the country. This has had a negative effect on the economy as it has led to a decline in economic growth.

5. Discussion

The findings of this study reveal that corruption has negative effects on the social, economic and physical environment of the four countries understudy. Corruption results in poor service delivery, low quality infrastructure, high levels of poverty and lack of foreign direct investment. These negative effects impact negatively on the lives of people living in these countries. Corruption has become so entrenched in these countries that it has become part of the culture. For example, in Kenya there is a saying “chai iko na kitu kidogo” which means “tea must have something small”. This saying is used to describe situations where someone gives someone else a bribe so that they can get what they want. In Uganda, there is a saying “you can’t get anything done without kitu kidogo” which means that one needs to give a bribe in order to get something done. This shows how deeply rooted corruption is in these cultures.

6. Conclusion

Corruption is a global problem that has negative effects on the social, economic and physical environment of a country. The findings of this study reveal that corruption has negative effects on the social, economic and physical environment of the four countries understudy. Corruption results in poor service delivery, low quality infrastructure, high levels of poverty and lack of foreign direct investment. These negative effects have a negative impact on the lives of people living in these countries. Corruption has become so entrenched in these countries that it has become part of the culture. The government should put in place effective anti-corruption measures to curb corruption in these countries.

7. Recommendations

The following recommendations are made:

– The government should put in place effective anti-corruption measures to curb corruption in these countries.
– The media should play its role in sensitizing the public about the ills of corruption and how it affects their lives.
– Civil society organizations should create awareness about the negative effects of corruption and advocate for good governance and accountability.

FAQ

Corruption is the misuse of entrusted power for private gain. It manifests itself in the modern world through bribery, cronyism, nepotism, embezzlement, and kickbacks.

Integrity can be defined as adhering to moral and ethical principles; it is the opposite of corruption.

Individuals can maintain their integrity by refusing to engage in corrupt practices themselves and speaking out against corruption when they see it happening.