Fighting high-level corruption in Africa: Learning from effective law enforcement (2019-20)
The first systematic and comparative study of law enforcement efforts targeting high-level corruption in Africa
‘Fighting high-level corruption in Africa: Learning from effective law enforcement’ is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme (£318,000).
The research project is the first systematic and comparative study of law enforcement efforts targeting high-level corruption in Africa.
The focus on the specifics of enforcement practice is new and generated evidence that has been missing in anti-corruption research. The project compares investigations, prosecutions and asset recovery in Nigeria, Tanzania and Malawi, where high-level corruption is rife but has been targeted by the authorities.
Experiences and perceptions of African law enforcement officials
Drawing on social anthropology, this project interrogates notions of ‘effectiveness’ or ‘success’, exploring vernacular perceptions and definitions shaped by the specific socio-cultural setting and political context, to tease out discrepancies with the globalized anti-corruption discourse.
This study takes seriously the experiences and perceptions of African law enforcement officials who navigate a highly contested field characterized by limited resources, widespread corruption, a range of disruptive external influences and pressure from foreign development agencies.
Policymaking and law enforcement
The research findings are being directly fed into policymaking and law enforcement in the three countries. Initial research findings suggest that law enforcement practices targeting high-level corruption are more nuanced and complex than previous studies suggest.
Highly adaptive and attuned to shifting political dynamics and ever-evolving corruption behaviours, these practices are becoming more innovative, endogenous, and pragmatic.
Whether such innovation diminishes the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts - or instead is helping redefine the local definition of effectiveness - is one of the most important questions this study aims to answer.
- Gerhard Anders (principal investigator)
- Fortunata Makene (ESRF, Tanzania) (co-investigator)