African corruption, while still incredibly high, may be dropping.
A still-much-quoted 2002 report by the African Union estimated that corruption amounted to $148 billion a year during the 1990s—about a quarter of the continent’s entire GDP for the period. But a preliminary report (paywall) by the African Development Bank and Washington-based Global Financial Integrity puts the number during the last decade at an average of $62.5 billion a year.
The study, which is to be released in May, says that African corruption peaked at $103.7 billion in 2007, and has plunged as a result of the global financial crisis. Yet there are still billions that could have been spent on raising the standard of living across the continent. In all, the preliminary study estimates that $1.3 trillion was illegally siphoned away over the last three decades.
The study accounts for pure bribery in addition to untaxed capital flight abroad.