As far as corruption in Africa is both conspicuous and generalised, it has to be studied from the viewpoint of the participants. This article starts with six general theses on corruption in Africa, which place it within a broader ‘corruption complex’, and emphasise its routine nature, the stigmatisation of corruption despite the absence of effective sanctions, its apparent irreversibility, the absence of correlation with regime types and its legitimacy to its perpetrators. Corruption is then shown to be socially embedded in ‘logics’ of negotiation, gift-giving, solidarity, predatory authority and redistributive accumulation. Any anti-corruption policy must face up to these realities.
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