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Overcoming corruption is key to Kenya’s progress

Kenya is often considered the gateway to East Africa, with the region boasting the most developed economy of eastern and central Africa. The country remains categorized as a developing nation however, as much of the population continues to live in abject poverty.

One of the key challenges facing the country’s development and progress is corruption.  According to the Transparency International 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, Kenya is perceived as the 4th most corrupt nation globally.  To further support this survey result, the 23rd World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF) Executive Survey indicated that the most problematic factor to doing business in Kenya is corruption.

Global Corruption Barometer 2013 Statistics

Transparency International states: “the global corruption barometer 2013 is the biggest ever survey tracking world-wide public opinion on corruption.” The survey involves a sample size, across 107 countries, of 114 000 people.

Some key statistics relating to Kenya include:

  • 33% of respondents believe that the level of corruption, in Kenya, has increased over the last two years. By comparison, 26% feel that it has decreased to a small degree.
  • 61% of respondents think that corruption is a serious problem in the public sector.
  • 46% believe that the government is largely run by a few big entities acting in their own best interest.
  • Opinion is split, 30% to 31%, with regard to government efficiency in fighting corruption, with a small majority leaning toward “ineffective”.

Political parties, parliament/legislature, public officials and civil servants are seen as the more corrupt entities in Kenya. The police service ranks as the most unethical institution in Kenya, according to the Barometer, with 96% of respondents believing them to extremely corrupt.

The KPMG Perspective

In our Africa Fraud Barometer report of 2013, we reported that Kenya had an increase of 2.88% of stated fraud cases. Furthermore, our Kenyan complexity overview stated that business complexity in the country has increased over the last two years. The main reasons given for increasing complexity in Kenya over this period have been political instability, competition and government policies.

Kenya has recently become more serious about fraud prevention. The conviction of former Tourism permanent secretary and Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) ex-managing director was hailed as a major success. Both government officials were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the ministry of Sh8.4 million (about US$100,000). They received heavy jail sentences and fines for misappropriating public funds. A continued commitment to combatting corruption in Kenya will yield positive growth and perception results for the region.

The country is not alone in it’s a battle against corruption, with many African countries struggling to overcome a long and entrenched tradition of fraud. The practice continues to be a massive hindrance in encouraging foreign investment and doing business on our continent. We believe that combatting fraud will be a strenuous process, requiring both cultural changes and increased diligence by all parties involved.


David Okwara

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