Corruption in the North and South: twins or strangers?

Corruption in the North and South: twins or strangers?


by Maurice Oniango

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Image: Sally Hayden

Image: Sally Hayden

Corruption in the developed and the developing world may seem different but the impact is similar. Speaking during the “Corruption in the North and the South; Twins or Strangers” session, Frank Vogl, author of the book Waging War on Corruption, said that both the North and South face massive corruption problems and they both have victims and villains.

According to Vogl, countries from the developing world are often viewed as more corrupt than their counterparts in the developed world because of how corruption presents itself in the developing world.

“In the South you pay for a bribe to get medication while in the North it is about which drug or which company gets the tender to supply,” he said. He adds that the rise in corruption in the developing world is influenced by factors from the developed world such as foreign aid and military aid.

Vogl adds that victims of corruption in both worlds should be involved actively in the fight against corruption. “When dealing with corruption cases it’s often all about the villain. Rarely do we get to hear or know about people who suffer because of the particular case,” he adds. He says that if victims of corruption are made known it will intensify the fight.

According to the author, success in the fight against corruption can only be achieved once both the developed and developing world accept it as a global crisis and work together to eliminate it. “We have to set the agenda that is necessary to defeat bad leadership and all kleptocrats,” he said.

Reuben Lifuka, an International Anti-Corruption Conference Council Member, said that corruption is not limited to the South, as some may believe. He said that corruption has permeated all societies in ways that cannot be imagined.

He also questioned the integrity of political funding during campaigns. He said that in both the South and North, people and organizations that fund political parties determine who makes it to the ballot.

“What is the role of voters if there is an influence of campaign financing on who goes on to the ballot papers?” said Lifuka.

Participants during the session were keen to note that there is a need to end public complacency and a need to mobilize people to act in the fight against corruption in both the developed and developing world.


Maurice Oniang’o is a versatile award-winning Kenyan journalist. He has produced for TV programs such as Tazama, a half-hour documentary series, and Project Green, an incisive environmental show, which were broadcast on national television in Kenya. He has a keen interest in stories about public accountability, security, health, education, human rights, environment, corruption, and governance, among others. He has won various awards including: Environmental Reporter TV- Annual Journalism Excellence Awards in 2015; Thomson Foundation Young Journalist of the Year in 2014 Foreign Press Association Awards, among others. Maurice is currently a freelance documentary producer and writer based in Nairobi, Kenya.