News / Africa

New Study Says Attitudes May Be Key to Tackling Graft in Guinea

Guinea, AfricaGuinea, Africa
Guinea, Africa
Guinea, Africa
Nancy Palus
As Guinea struggles to put decades of autocratic rule and mismanagement firmly in the past, corruption - at all levels of society - remains a serious drag on development in the mineral-rich country. 

But a new study by local anti-corruption groups and the Open Society Institute for West Africa looks to get at Guineans' attitudes about corruption, an important step, Guinean activists say, in tackling the phenomenon.
Ask just about any Guinean and they’ll say corruption is part of nearly every transaction of daily life. But the new study shows that most Guineans don’t necessarily see the link between corruption and the socio-economic woes they cite as most pressing, like unemployment or poor access to electricity and safe water.
Governance and anti-corruption activists say understanding this gap and better educating citizens will be critical in fighting corruption.
Researchers asked people in 980 households in urban areas across Guinea what they saw as the most serious socio-economic problems.  Most people cited unemployment, a high cost of living, and lack of access to water and electricity.
While Guinea has abundant mineral resources and huge agricultural potential, infrastructure is poor and most families in the capital, Conakry, struggle to eat two solid meals a day.  But while people surveyed said corruption is rampant in Guinea, their responses indicated they did not see it as a barrier to development -- in other words, they did not necessarily link corruption to their difficult living conditions.
Mathias Hounkpe is with Guinea’s office of the Open Society Institute for West Africa, which funded the study.

He says that while nearly all of those surveyed said corruption exists, they don’t see corruption as partially to blame for high unemployment and lack of access to basics like water and electricity.
He says the results of the study show that going forward, it will be important for Guinean civil society groups to work on educating the public about the link between corruption and underdevelopment.  Hounkpe says once citizens have a better understanding of this link, they will be more inclined to demand accountability from elected leaders.
In the latest index by the corruption watchdog group Transparency International, Guinea scored slightly better than last year.  Guineans and experts say since a civilian government came to power in 2010 there have been important fiscal reforms, but much work lies ahead and corruption must be reined in.
Mohamed François Falcone is director of Guinea’s Agency for the Fight Against Corruption and Promotion of Good Governance, which conducted the study.   
He says the results of the study will contribute to Guinea’s efforts to reduce poverty.  He says reducing corruption not only encourages investment, but also improves the functioning of local and national institutions, thereby improving living conditions of the poorest in society.
Falcone said his organization plans to use the results of the study as a baseline and measure corruption and governance on a yearly basis.
Kabiné Komara, a former prime minister of Guinea and once head of the African Export-Import Bank, says that in Guinea, as in most underdeveloped countries, corruption holds back development in two ways - not only by its direct financial impact, but in that it saps the morale of citizens, the very people who must be standing up for good governance.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs