This chapter describes rents and rent seeking in Africa. No description of Africa can be complete without reference to the centrality and pervasiveness of rent seeking and rent extraction. Although there are differences among the many countries, as a general principle, politicians and civil servants have used rent-creating and rent-extracting opportunities to their personal advantage whenever possible. In apartheid South Africa, rent seeking took the form of legislation. In particular under authoritarian regimes but also where there have been elements of democracy, rent seeking has involved rent extraction through corruption. The successful rent-seeking and rent-extracting military and ethnic or tribal groups have marginalized other groups, often resulting in violence. Rent seeking has created incentives for skilled people to forgo their professions to seek rent-extracting positions in government. Business has been in the hands of adept rent seekers rather than necessarily competent businessmen and women.
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