This article addresses the failure of legal and administrative anti-corruption reforms in African countries, and argues that the attempted reforms had themselves contributed to increasing and flourishing corruption. The paper explores how corruption has been understood within the governance agenda, and where anti-corruption meant greater transparency and accountability, as well as more effective oversight and punishment. The author argues that the failure of the anti-corruption efforts in African states can be attributed to three main reasons. First, the weakness of international donors and debtors’ conception of the state; second, that the reforms introduced through liberalization had created new conditions in which corruption can flourish; and finally, that fundamental features of African politics need to change before implementing –or hoping to achieve – positive anti-corruption measures.
Review of African Political Economy