Tackling Corruption in the Water and Sanitation Sector in Africa
Despite the complexity, leakage, and the potential impacts on the poor, there is currently only a limited understanding of the extent and nature of corruption in the water and sanitation sector in Africa, and limited knowledge of the policies and mechanisms that are required to tackle it. To address this concern, and to help the sector ‘catch up’, the purpose of this paper is to promote more comprehensive understanding of sector corruption and potential anti-corruption mechanisms among a broad audience of WSS stakeholders.The paper describes the plural nature of corruption in the WSS sector corruption by setting out, in a structured framework, the network of corrupt practices prevalent in the sector.It collects together the many types of WSS corruption into typologies of public to public, public to private, and public to consumer interactions.It then describes the range of anti-corruption policies and mechanisms that have been developed to prevent or counter anti-corruption activity in the sector – mapping these over the corrupt interactions – and thus linking the framework of corrupt practices to the menu of existing solutions.
Notwithstanding this effort to promote a more comprehensive understanding of corruption, the paper emphasizes the need to undertake rigorous diagnostics to identify areas of concentrated corruption, and to focus efforts on improving sector understanding of what anti-corruption strategies are most appropriate. Based on sector trends and experiences, lessons of similar sectors, and the increasing shift of anti-corruption activity generally, it suggests that the most promising model for anti-corruption sector reform in the African continent lies in the development of greater transparency and accountability mechanisms – supported by ongoing efforts in WSS sector reform.It argues however for context specificity and for efforts to develop appropriate methodologies and models for sector interventions in the different economic, governance, and WSS contexts of the African region.
By Janelle Plummer & Pier Cross
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