Political Corruption in Africa
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Political Corruption in Africa

Extraction and Power Preservation

Edited by Inge Amundsen

Analysing political corruption as a distinct but separate entity from bureaucratic corruption, this timely book separates these two very different social phenomena in a way that is often overlooked in contemporary studies. Chapters argue that political corruption includes two basic, critical and related processes: extractive and power-preserving corruption.
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Chapter 9: Stuck in transition: political corruption as power abuse

Inge Amundsen


The final chapter summarises some of the findings of the previous country analyses, against the background of the conceptual pair of extractive and power-preserving political corruption. It is argued that the power-preserving form of political corruption, fed by extractive political corruption, is holding back democratic developments in Sub-Sahara Africa. It is also argued that the perspective on the extractive and power-preserving practices of the ruling elite is important, particularly when the two mechanisms of political corruption feed into each other, creating an evil circle of extraction and reinvestment in power: when ruling elites engage in extractive corruption to preserve their power, and this power is abused to extract further. It is concluded that this seems to be the case in most of the country examples in this book. It can be deducted from the analyses that the riches extracted through political corruption to a large extent are providing the means to retain control of the state. Numerous examples are presented of situations in which the proceeds of extraction are reinvested in power, which goes way beyond the usual understanding of extractive corruption as driven by greed. An effective restriction of these regime-enhancing forms of political corruption seems to require an economic crisis and sustained and politically skilled external and internal pressures.

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