A Comparative Study of Corruption in the Extractive Industries of Nigeria and Botswana: Lessons that can Be Learnt by the Young African Country of Eritrea

Yemane Desta


This article examines the nature of corruption in the extractive industries of two Sub-Saharan countries, namely Nigeria and Botswana. It explained the root causes of the high levels of corruption present in the case of oil and gas-rich Nigeria and the reasons that account for the minimal levels of corruption prevailing in diamond-rich Botswana. This article identified corrupt political leadership; the legacy of the divide and rule policies introduced by the former British colonial masters; lack of transparent and accountable public institutions, political patronage networks; poverty-driven desire to meet the basic necessities of life; massive inflows of petrodollars producing the “resource curse”; chronic political disruptions characterized by several military coups; the supremacy of familial, ethnic and religious loyalties over national interest and poor public sector pay as the main drivers of pervasive corruption in Nigeria. On the other hand the primary factors that contributed to the remarkable achievement of Botswana in the fight against corruption include ethical political leadership; sound pre-independence traditional institutions; relatively homogenous population; respect for rule of law and property rights; high degree of transparency; cultural intolerance to graft, establishment of democratic institutions at independence; good economic management; ability to manage ethnic diversity; and a competent, a meritorious bureaucracy. This article also identified the key elements of anticorruption strategy that would help prevent and combat corruption as well enhance integrity in the Eritrean public sector based on the experiences of Nigeria and Botswana. They include sound ethical political leadership; transparency and accountability in government; merit-based and adequately paid civil service; independent, empowered and well-resourced anticorruption commission; and prudent natural resource management.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jpag.v10i3.17810

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