Anti-corruption group Transparency International estimates that 75 million Africans paid a bribe in the past year, in a report that says most Africans believe corruption is getting worse.
Researchers surveyed more than 43,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa about their experiences and perceptions regarding corruption. Fifty-eight percent said they believe corruption had increased in their country during the previous 12 months.
Many African presidents have campaigned on pledges to reduce or eliminate corruption, but the problem appears to persist continent-wide.
A majority of respondents in 18 countries surveyed said their government is doing badly at fighting corruption, particularly in regard to public services such as the courts and police.
Twenty-eight percent of those who had contact with the courts said they paid a bribe. For the police, the number was 27 percent.
Transparency International said there were some "bright spots" on the continent, including Botswana, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Senegal.
Increased ‘poverty and exclusion’
The organization's chairman, Jose Ugaz, said in a statement that African nations must do a better job of policing themselves.
He said corruption disproportionately affects the poor.
"Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion," he said. "While corrupt individuals with political power enjoy a lavish life, millions of Africans are deprived of their basic needs like food, health, education, housing, access to clean water and sanitation," he said.
Ugaz called on governments and judges to stop corruption and eradicate impunity for the corrupt. He said people need to be able to stand up against government misconduct without fear of retaliation.
Transparency International conducted the survey with polling group Afrobarometer.