Climbing Out of Kleptocracy

Original content provided by Stable Outcomes
Modified for the purposes of this site by Niall Patrick

The Players

Liberia- Located in the Southern part of West Africa and is Africa's oldest republic. 

Kleptocracy- A form of government where the people in charge seek to create personal gain at the expense of the citizens being governed.

Poverty- About 50% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa are in extreme poverty. They are living on $1.25 or less per day. 

 
 Courtesy of TC Daily Planet 

Courtesy of TC Daily Planet 

 

The Background

Corruption is Collective.

While Liberia demonstrates many incremental successes since climbing from the bottom of international corruption rankings following decades of conflict, successful navigation of the Liberian working environment requires an empathetic reality check to understand, ethically navigate, and influence institutional change. While the clichés of shady characters in dark offices accepting brown paper bags of cash do exist in Liberia, a clear view of its endemic corruption requires a look at the ground-reality at corruption’s lowest echelons. While countries of vital foreign policy interest like Somalia, Afghanistan, and Sudan still hold the bottom rungs of the rankings, Liberia offers a great test-case as a nation in transparency recovery.

In our work in Liberia, we’ve encountered a wide swath of ethical challenges as small groups and even individuals exploit vulnerabilities and chokepoints: government offices delay needed documents, hospital workers pad out invoices, contractors take a loose view of their contracts, and police checkpoints often serve little function other than to extort small bribes.

 
 Courtesy of Blog Transparency 

Courtesy of Blog Transparency 

 

The Story

Stable Outcomes is working to provide help and guide ethical business behavior in Liberia. They have noticed that individuals have exploited weaknesses of business in Liberia. Corruption exists in multiple forms in Liberia. Stable Outcomes looked to expose these unethical business behaviors by looking at the lower levels of business. They found that most unethical behavior is coming from desperate need. In other words, workers with low salaries, war torn victims, and child soldiers are all part of the unethical behavior that exists in Liberia. Workers constantly find themselves able to cheat out their bosses or clients. It is a situation much different from here in the United States and will continue to harm businesses in Liberia unless something is done about it.