Alternative title: Dismantling networks of corruption: challenges and opportunities in reforming informal governance in Tanzania.

This Tanzania country report is part of a research project funded by the Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE) Programme of the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) and the British Academy. 

Despite significant investment and anti-corruption capacity building in the past decades, "most systematically corrupt countries are considered to be just as corrupt now as they were before the anti-corruption interventions"(1). Statements like this are indicative of the frustration shared by practitioners and scholars alike at the apparent lack of success in controlling corruption worldwide and point to the need to rethink our understanding of the factors that fuel corruption and make it so hard to abate. 

Corruption is pervasive in Sub-Saharan Africa’s educational sector. The phenomenon includes not only bribery but also practices that the World Bank has labeled "quiet corruption." While anti-corruption interventions tackling such practices are typically based on assumptions of rational decision-making from classical economics, Cosimo analyses petty corruption practices through a behavioural lens.

Conventional anti-corruption approaches advocate for the adoption of legal and institutional reforms in line with international best practices. Nevertheless, these anti-corruption frameworks are often weakly implemented across the Global South. Overcoming these limitations invites the rethinking of some of the core assumptions of anti-corruption practice, which has mainly aimed to address poor accountability and weak law enforcement capabilities of the state.

Chapter 8 in Corruption in Public Administration: An Ethnographic Approach, edited by Davide Torsello.

Despite the growth in literature on political corruption, contributions from field research are still exiguous. This book, edited by Davide Torsello, provides a timely and much needed addition to current research, bridging the gap between macro level quantitative indicators of corruption and micro level qualitative evidence through an innovative ethnographic approach to the study of corruption and integrity in public administration.

Chapter 7 in Corruption in Public Administration: An Ethnographic Approach, edited by Davide Torsello.

Despite the growth in literature on political corruption, contributions from field research are still exiguous. This book, edited by Davide Torsello, provides a timely and much needed addition to current research, bridging the gap between macro level quantitative indicators of corruption and micro level qualitative evidence through an innovative ethnographic approach to the study of corruption and integrity in public administration.

This article applies a novel conceptual framework to characterise and assess the repertoire of practices used by informal networks to redistribute power and access to resources. These distinct norms and practices are typologised as co-optation, control, and camouflage. Co-optation involves recruitment into the network by means of the reciprocal exchange of favours. Control is about ensuring discipline amongst network members by means of shaming and social isolation. Camouflage refers to the formal facades behind which informality hides and is about protecting and legitimising the network.

Power and influence analysis can be used to assess corruption vulnerabilities in the public sector. This approach helps identify powerful stakeholders that should be engaged to achieve maximum impact for anti-corruption strategies. It also helps reveal informal political networks and relationships that can hamper anti-corruption efforts.

Ignorance, apathy and disempowerment are recurring drivers of impunity. Social accountability, on its part, aims to empower citizens with information and provide effective channels through which to exercise agency. 

Authored by Claudia Baez Camargo, Head of Governance Research, this publication guides practitioners towards localising anti-corruption interventions that invite citizen participation in order to make them more effective.