Sustainable Development in Western Anglophone Africa

Analysis of Millennium Development Goal 7's viability 'Ensuring environmental sustainability in forest management' under corruption aspects in Ghana and Liberia

Diploma Thesis, 2007

199 Pages, Grade: Gut









1.1 Purpose
1.2 Hypothesis
1.3 Research design

2.1 The interface of environmental sustainability and development
2.2 Linkages between human well-being and the environment
2.2.1 Environmental Sustainability Index
2.2.2 Human Development Index
2.3 Historic evolution of sustainable development
2.3.1 United Nations Environmental Programme
2.3.2 Note on the Kyoto Protocol
2.3.3 Introducing sustainability to economics
2.4 Defining corruption
2.4.1 Grand corruption
2.4.2 Petty corruption
2.4.3 Isolated and systemic corruption
2.4.4 Forms of corruption
2.5 Corruption and sustainable development in Africa
2.5.1 Primary causes for prevailing corruption
2.5.2 Additional options for the fight against corruption

3.1 Developing countries
3.2 Least developed countries
3.3 Economic outline
3.3.1 Note on the Kimberley Process
3.4 International commitments to development
3.4.1 Combating corruption
3.4.2 Modes to financing
3.5 Political scene

4.1 Geography
4.2 Culture
4.3 Historic backgrounds
4.3.1 Slave trade and chieftaincy
4.4 Economy
4.5 Regional organizations
4.6 Present regional concerns
4.6.1 Promoting the implementation of anti-corruption institutions

5.1 Republic of Ghana
5.1.1 History
5.1.2 Society
5.1.3 Politics
5.1.4 Natural resources and related international agreements
5.1.5 Economic overview
5.2 Republic of the Gambia
5.2.1 History
5.2.2 Society
5.2.3 Politics
5.2.4 Topical incidents
5.2.5 Natural resources and related international agreements
5.2.6 Economic overview
5.3 Republic of Liberia
5.3.1 History
5.3.2 Society
5.3.3 Politics
5.3.4 Natural resources and related international agreements
5.3.5 Economic overview
5.4 Federal Republic of Nigeria
5.4.1 History
5.4.2 Society
5.4.3 Politics
5.4.4 Natural resources and related international agreements
5.4.5 Economic overview
5.5 Sierra Leone
5.5.1 History
5.5.2 Society
5.5.3 Politics
5.5.4 Natural resources and related international agreements
5.5.5 Economic overview

6.1 United Nations Forum on Forests
6.2 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
6.2.1 18th session of the Committee on Forestry in 2007
6.3 Collaborative Partnership on Forests
6.4 International Tropical Timber Organization
6.5 African Timber Organisation
6.6 African Forestry and Wildlife Commission

7.1 Evaluation
7.2 Importance of gender
7.3 Local systems of land appropriation
7.3.1 Land and related rights in Africa
7.3.2 Land reform

8.1 IMF, World Bank and structural adjustment
8.2 Forestry sector and land rights
8.2.1 Post war period - ideological change
8.2.2 Structural adjustment in the forestry sector
8.3 Collaborative forestry
8.3.1 Swiss Lumber Company
8.3.2 Positive effects by this collaborative timber management
8.3.3 Ghana Primewoods Products Ltd
8.3.4 Positive impact of the sustainable forest agriculture project
8.4 Trends in the new legislation
8.5 A summary of periodic changes in the land question

9.1 Legislation in the forest sector
9.1.1 Forest Policy Review: Towards Vision 2024
9.1.2 Strategic Commodities Act
9.1.3 The logging ban’s contribution to an augment in illegal operations
9.2 Progress in forest management
9.3 The Liberian selective logging system

10.1 Methods to achieve implementation and law enforcement in the forest sector
10.1.1 Enhancing the institutional capacity for forest law enforcement
10.1.2 Availability of data and knowledge

11.1 Development of productive capacities
11.1.1 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
11.1.2 United Nations Industrial Development Organization
11.2 Diversification in wood exports
11.3 Development of a global partnership for development

12.1 Summarized observations
12.2 Globalization’s impact on the viability of MDG



This work and in particular its quality is a result of the continuous support and assistance of various individuals to whom I wish to express my gratitude for their commitment in every possible endeavour.

First and foremost I would like to show my highest appreciation to Mr Anis H. Bajrektarevic, Deputy Director of Studies and professor for international law and global political studies at the University of Applied Sciences Krems, who devoted both his time and energy to the subject of this work, provided me with every possible support and guided me with excellence through the challenges faced in the elaboration. The various discussions and reflections with him on the topic were of high importance to me. His valuable comments enlarged both my knowledge and scope of view and simultaneously enhanced my curiosity to get acquainted with certain topics of relevance. I am also thankful for his continuous effort to endow me with research material and information. In conclusion I wish to express my gratitude for his endeavour to reinforce and support me in my objectives.

I would like to use this occasion to thank Mr Stuart C. Gilman, Head of the Anti-Corruption Unit and The Global Programme against Corruption of UNODC in Vienna, for his valuable inputs in form of time and helpful comments and suggestions. His comments have had an important impact on the quality of this work in particular with a view to corruption related aspects.

It is also my wish to express my gratitude to Mr Lew Macfarlane, expert on African political systems and former US diplomat, for his devotion of valuable time and exchange of ideas as well as his patience and advices. His critics and comments were very valuable and constructive. Thank you for your endless commitment and effort, which is reflected both in the wording and expressions used in this work as well as in the quality of the topics’ contents.

Particularly grateful am I for having had the chance to spend my second practical training semester working with Ms Edna dos Santos, Chief of the Creative Economy and Industries Programme of UNCTAD. Besides many other valuable lessons I learned while working with her, she has made a considerable effort in creating awareness in me of the high importance of proper word selection while working in a multinational diplomatic environment.

I would also like to extend my thanks to the staff of the University of Applied Sciences, IMC Krems for the education I was provided with during the four years of studies. Specifically I wish to express my high appreciation to those professors whose commitment was of professional nature however and most important combined with an interest for the individuals and their objectives.

Last, but certainly not least, I am very grateful for the endless support of my friends and my family, who supported me in every endeavour and showed high understanding both throughout my studies and upon my returns from abroad, always warmly welcoming me. Without you, this would not have been possible, thank you.


Sustainable development as regards the environment has been on the international agenda since the 1970s. Multiple conferences on national and international levels have drawn the attention of the international community to the increasing speed in the depletion of natural resources. These current rates of resource exploitation cannot be sustained in the long run and awareness seems to be growing about the necessity to reverse and slow down the trend to provide decent human living conditions also for the next generations. Various theories, each taking another perspective as basis for the solution to the phenomenon, have shaped the intense debates, recommending different methods for the successful achievement of sustainability combined with development.

There is general agreement that this topic is of international concern for the global community and that joint efforts are needed to tackle it on both a national and global scale. The latter presents also the challenge inherent in sustainable development, since for a considerable time environmental sustainability was generally rather perceived as a concern for wealthy nations rather than for developing countries. The contrary could be demonstrated when observing the real linkages between sustainable development and human well-being.

The demand for concrete objectives to tackle the many faces of poverty was met by the Millennium Development Goals, which, in contrast to earlier efforts, provide measurable targets. For their successful achievement, governments are required to adopt them on an individual basis in their national policies and programme to provide for better adherence. The Millennium Development Goals are intended to be met by the year 2015 and upon their achievement they are expected to lift a large number of people out of poverty. A total of eight goals and eighteen targets address challenges such as nutrition, education, health, gender equality, environmental sustainability and global partnerships. Continuous progress has been achieved so far in most of the world’s regions except for Sub-Saharan Africa, where a lack of sound economic policies, political instability and conflicts, corruption and ineffective domestic institutions, besides other factors, severely affect the advancement.

Even if all goals are linked, the viability of Millennium Development Goal 7, ensure environmental sustainability, and in particular Target 9, concerned with reversing the loss of natural resources, is primarily dependent on the achievement of many of the other goals.

Many economies in Sub-Saharan Africa are dominated by extractive industries. With this background, MDG 7 is of particular relevance in this region. West Africa for instance, especially the former British colonies, besides Central Africa, has extensive natural tropical forest resources which need to be managed sustainably not only to avoid the extinction of the biodiversity and species but also for their value with a view to all stakeholders. The gains from the forestry sector in these countries contribute on the one hand considerably to their national accounts and their potential has been recently realized and on the other hand, forests are of high importance to the poor, who depend on it in many ways. Not only does the forest’s wildlife and plant life enrich their daily diet but wood fuel still provides the energy in the majority of households. The latter constitutes a threat to sustainable forest management as well and in particular if forest laws do not consider the less advantaged population’s dependence on the forest resources.

Various international governmental and nongovernmental institutions have created parameters and indicators for the analysis of corruption levels while other organizations focus on forests whether their aim is to provide accurate and continuous information or to avoid further loss of this natural resource.

Among the multiple challenges which MDG 7, ensuring environmental sustainability in forest management, faces in Ghana and Liberia, are corruption and illegal trade which are difficult to detect because of the weakness of domestic institutions in monitoring and implementation of the rule of law. Corruption as a social endemic disease with negative long term effects occurs in various forms and its grade determines the ease in detecting it. Most of the forest resources, seen from both national levels in Ghana and Liberia but also from a global perspective, are under governmental control and the intersection of the private with the public sector has been diagnosed as having vital potential and basis for corruption. In this sense, grand corruption might entail the use of public office for private gain which could result in the capture of a government institution’s rulings or the compromise of government procedures (UNODC (2001)). National forest laws and land tenure systems observed in Ghana and Liberia frequently lack coherence, also the absence of up-to-date information on available forest resources constitutes a further threat since governmental decisions are seldom based on current realities and the granted annual allowable cut frequently fails to take into account sustainable yields.

Collaborative forestry has been outlined as a way of achieving sustainable forest management with its major positive advantage being the involvement of both local and foreign stakeholders. A further opportunity might be in the establishment of global partnerships. These are, besides many other mutual benefits, essential in particular with a view to augmenting the gains from international timber trade. Domestic value added could be increased through diversification in wood exports, being not restricted to primary processing but rather extended to further timber processing in secondary and tertiary processes. In addition, the successful implementation of certification schemes in the international timber trade in combination with the detection and avoidance of trans-national crime can be achieved only in cooperation and through global partnerships. Notwithstanding, international financial assistance for the achievement of MDG 7 will not suffice as long as the domestic preconditions are absent. In respect of the linkages between the goals and their relevance for the viability of MDG 7, a strengthening in international efforts is required if the Millennium Development Goals should not merely remain an illusive statement of commitment but be reached by 2015.


Seit 1970 ist die nachhaltige umweltbezogene Entwicklung Teil der Themen, welche die internationale Gemeinschaft tangiert. Zahlreiche nationale und multinationale Konferenzen haben die Aufmerksamkeit auf die rasche Ausbeutung der Naturressourcen gelenkt. Der aktuelle Ressourcenverbrauch kann längerfristig nicht gewährleistet werden, diese Tatsache schürt seit kurzem auch das internationale Bewusstsein in Hinblick auf annehmbare Lebensbedingungen für zukünftige Generationen im Sinne der nachhaltigen Entwicklung.

Zahlreiche Theorien, davon jede mit einer anderen Ausgangsbasis zur Lösung des Problems, haben die Debatten geschärft und empfehlen unterschiedliche Methoden um das Ziel „nachhaltige Entwicklung“ zu erreichen. Die weltweite Gemeinschaft hat das internationale Ausmaß dieser Herausforderung erkannt und gemeinsame Anstrengungen auf nationaler und globaler Ebene werden nötig sein um das Problem in Angriff zu nehmen. Zuvor wurde das Thema der nachhaltigen Entwicklung primär als eine Angelegenheit der industrialisierten Länder betrachtet, doch diverse Forschungen haben die Verbundenheit zwischen Nachhaltigkeit und menschlichen Wohlstand widerlegt, und somit die Wichtigkeit einer Kooperation zwischen Entwicklungsländern und Industriestaaten auf diesem Gebiet aufgezeigt.

Die Nachfrage nach konkreten Zielen um die verschiedenen Facetten der Armut erfolgreich zu bekämpfen, wurde mit den Millennium Entwicklungszielen gesättigt, welche messbar sind. Um den erwarteten Erfolg dieser Ziele gewährleisten zu können, sollten diese in die nationale Politik einfließen. Das Jahr 2015 stellt die Frist der Millennium Entwicklungsziele da, denn bis dahin sollten sie erreicht werden und damit die Lebensumstände einer Vielzahl der in Armut lebenden Personen verbessern. Die 18 Ziele und die damit verbundenen 8 Zielbereiche sprechen die verschiedenen Themen der Armut an, welche sorgfältig behandelt werden sollten; darunter befinden sich beispielsweise Ernährung, Ausbildung, Gesundheit, nachhaltige Entwicklung der Umwelt und die Etablierung einer globalen Partnerschaft. Eine konstante Verbesserung in Hinblick auf die Millennium Entwicklungsziele konnte soweit in den meisten Regionen verzeichnet werden mit Ausnahme von Afrika südlich der Sahara, welches teilweise durch instabile politische Hintergründe und hohes Konfliktpotential sowie Korruption gekennzeichnet ist, und der Mangel an einer einwandfreien Wirtschaftspolitik sowie effektiver Institutionen, neben anderen ausschlaggebenden Faktoren, den Fortschritt behindern.

Die Millennium Entwicklungsziele sind in gewisser Weise aneinandergeknüpft und ihre Durchführbarkeit hängt unter anderem auch von dem Erfolg der anderen Ziele ab im Besonderen für Millennium Entwicklungsziel 7, welches sich für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung der Umwelt einsetzt.

Die Wirtschaft in Afrika südlich der Sahara ist von der Rohstoffindustrie geprägt. In diesem Sinn ist das Millennium Entwicklungsziel 7 von besonderer Relevanz in dieser Region des Kontinents. Dies zeigt sich auch am Beispiel von Westafrika, im Besonderen in den ehemaligen Ländern der britischen Kolonie. Diese Subregion verfügt, neben Zentralafrika, über erhebliche Ressourcen an tropischem Regenwald, welche nachhaltig genutzt werden sollten um einerseits einem Verlust der zahlreichen Spezies und der biologischen Vielfalt vorzubeugen, und andererseits um den anspruchsberechtigten Interessensvertretern auch in der Zukunft Einnahmen zu garantieren. Profite aus der Waldwirtschaft tragen erheblich zum volkswirtschaftlichen Erfolg bei, dieses Potential wurde kürzlich erkannt und wird dementsprechend gefördert, jedoch ist der Wald auch eine wichtige Quelle für die in Armut lebenden Bevölkerung, da die im Wald heimischen wild lebenden Tiere ein Bestandteil der Nahrung sind und ein Großteil der Haushalte seine Energie aus Holz gewinnt.

Zahlreiche internationale Regierungs- und Nichtregierungsorganisationen haben sich in den Bereichen Korruption und Wald spezialisiert. Während einige an und mit Kennzahlen arbeiten um Korruption und deren Auswirkung zu analysieren befassen sich andere Organisationen mit dem Sammeln von aktuellen Daten über Waldbestände als Teil ihres Aufgabenbereichs.

Unter den zahlreichen Herausforderungen mit denen sich Entwicklungsziel 7 im Bereich der nachhaltigen Waldwirtschaft in Ghana und Liberia konfrontiert sieht, befinden sich allen voran Korruption und illegaler Handel. Schwache Institutionen, deren Kapazität für eine effiziente Kontrolle und Überprüfung der Rechtsstaatlichkeit in den meisten Fällen nicht ausreicht, erschweren die Ermittlungen und bilden eine solide Basis für illegale Aktivitäten. Korruption ist eine endemische Volkskrankheit mit längerfristigen Auswirkungen, welche die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung eines Landes wesentlich beeinflusst und verlangsamt. Das Phänomen „Korruption“ tritt in verschiedenen Formen auf, der Grad jedoch entscheidet über die Leichtigkeit in der Erkennung. Der Großteil der Waldressourcen, aus nationaler Sichtweise mit Ghana und Liberia als Beispiel sowie von einem weltweiten Blickwinkel betrachtet, befindet sich unter der Kontrolle der jeweiligen Regierungen. Soweit ist bekannt, dass die Kreuzung des privaten mit dem öffentlichen Sektor ein Potential für Korruption darstellt. Etablierten nationalen Waldgesetzen und Besitzverhältnissen in Ghana und Liberia fehlt es oft an Kohärenz, auch die Abwesenheit von aktuellen Informationen bezüglich vorhandener Waldressourcen stellt eine weitere Bedrohung für die nachhaltige Nutzung des Waldes dar, da Entscheidungen auf Regierungsebene selten auf aktuellen Begebenheiten basieren und der zugesagte jährliche Kahlschlag vermehrt nicht zukunftsfähige Erträge in Betracht zieht.

Waldwirtschaft auf gemeinschaftlicher Basis wurde als Möglichkeit hervorgehoben um Nachhaltigkeit in der Waldnutzung zu erreichen. Das Hauptargument betont die Beteiligung von lokalen und fremden Interessensvertretern. Eine weitere Chance bietet sich in der Etablierung von globalen Partnerschaften welche Grundsteine zur Anhebung des Ertrages aus dem internationalen Holzhandel darstellen könnten, im Besonderen mit Hinblick auf eine Ausweitung des Sortiments und dem damit verbundenen heimischen Produktwertanstieg. Darüber hinaus sind der Erfolg und der Einsatz von Zertifizierungsschemen in Verbindung mit der Erkennung und Vermeidung von transnationalen Verbrechen im internationalen Holzhandel nur mit der Kooperation von globalen Partnerschaften möglich.

Die internationale finanzielle Unterstützung reicht für die erfolgreiche Durchführbarkeit des Millenniumsentwicklungszieles 7 jedoch nicht aus, solang die Vorbedingungen auf heimischer Landesebene nicht gegeben sind. Hinsichtlich der Verbundenheit der Ziele und deren Relevanz für den Erfolg von Millenniumsentwicklungsziel 7 wird eine Stärkung der internationalen Leistungen beansprucht, um die derzeit vorwiegend illusorischen Verbindlichkeiten in Form der Ziele mit Ende 2015 tatsächlich umzusetzen.


The author’s hope is to raise with this work further awareness about the importance for the global community to join efforts and work in closer cooperation towards the development and improvement of living conditions, health standards, education and employment in combination with the enhancement of environmental sustainable development to provide for a decent basis of living for the worlds less advantaged through the Millennium Development Goals.

Without increased interaction and multilateral support it is likely that the Millennium Development Goals will remain only a statement of commitment on paper rather than a full size impact achievement of development in the world’s poorest regions. However, financial support will not suffice, as long as domestic institutions in developing countries, which have the power to supervise monetary flows, administer the judiciary, and coordinate projects, are not sufficiently strengthened to achieve the capacity of monitoring successfully and implementing rules and regulations.

This work intends to transmit an idea of the linkages between corruption, the achievability of the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable forest management in particular. Western Anglophone Africa has experienced a period of instability as a result of economic mismanagement and failures in political leadership in selected countries in combination with resource exploitation and deterioration in poverty levels. As commonly known, corruption hampers long term development, even while the key actors gain short term profits. Corruption as a social endemic disease will be discussed with a certain emphasis on its impact, background and evolution in the African sub-region. The aim is to provide the reader with an insight into its devastating consequences with respect to the macro- and micro economic environment and its implication as regards human development. Corruption hampers a country’s economy and in addition, it diminishes positive effects which are to be expected upon the receipt of international multi-donor support. However development commitments often fail as a result of lack of transparency and/ or frequently simply don’t materialize.

Another point raised in the elaboration of the topic will transmit the correlation of human well being with environmental sustainability. Since international conferences started to focus on environmental topics, an increase in the awareness of poverty’s influence on the environment could be observed. The MDGs could play a vital role in this respect, taking into consideration the before outlined importance in the relationship between poverty and sustainability of environment.


Figure 1: Key links between environmental sustainability and other goals

Figure 2: Environmental Sustainability Index, selected West African countries

Figure 3: Selection of countries in the human development aggregates

Figure 4: Human development improving in most regions

Figure 5: Carbon dioxide emissions, 1970 – 2015; per capita (metric tons of CO2)

Figure 6: Recommendations for structural changes

Figure 7: Corruption defined by various international organisations

Figure 8: Simplified Typology of Corruption

Figure 9: Multi-Pronged Strategies for Combating Corruption

Figure 10: Real GDP and real GDP per capita growth rates of LDCs, by country

Figure 11: Gross domestic investment and real GDP growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Figure 12: Real GDP growth, by African sub-region, 2002-04 (per cent)

Figure 13: Cocoa prices; annual averages

Figure 14: Cocoa; daily price average of week; June 2003 to May 2005

Figure 15: West Africa map

Figure 16: Corruption Perceptions Index 2005 for selected West African countries

Figure 17: Colonial Africa

Figure 18: Geographic map of Ghana

Figure 19: Overview of selected Ghanaian human development indicators

Figure 20: Ghana’s administrative regions

Figure 21: Ghana economic structure

Figure 22: Geographic map of the Gambia

Figure 23: Overview of selected The Gambian human development indicators

Figure 24: The Gambia economic structure

Figure 25: Geographic map of Liberia

Figure 26: Overview of selected Liberian human development indicators

Figure 27: Selected Liberian economic structures

Figure 28: Geographic map of Nigeria

Figure 29: Overview of selected Nigerian human development indicators

Figure 30: Selected Nigerian economic structures

Figure 31: Geographic map of Sierra Leone

Figure 32: Selected Sierra Leonean human development indicators

Figure 33: Selected Sierra Leonean economic structures

Figure 34: Ecological zones in Africa

Figure 35: Extent of ecological zones in Africa

Figure 36: Extent of forest resources

Figure 37: Forest cover map of West Africa

Figure 38: Recommendations for direct investments in environmental management

Figure 39: Ecological zones in Ghana

Figure 40: Ghana forest cover map

Figure 41: Ecological zones in Liberia

Figure 42: Forest cover map

Figure 43: Relationship between corruption and suspected illegal forest activities

Figure 44: Elements of a strategy to promote legality in the forest sector

Figure 45: Forest change rates by country or area

Figure 46: Selected Western Anglophone African countries’ forest area and change

Figure 47: The three basic elements of productive capacities

Figure 48: Process of capacity development

Figure 49: Number and type of further-processing units in Ghana, 1990 - 2000

Figure 50: World output growth, 2001 - 2006

Figure 51: Linkages between large-scale infrastructure, growth and poverty reduction

Figure 52: Sub-Saharan Africa’s falling share in world trade

Figure 53: The relationship between economic growth and productive capacities


illustration not visible in this excerpt


1.1 Purpose

This thesis can be understood both as a result of observations of ongoing political and economic debates on environmental issues and the motivation to provide information on the possible intersection of unethical behaviour with forest management. Both themes have so far been explored separately but rarely in combination.

This work aims at creating a link between the political challenges of environment and good governance in Western Anglophone Africa. This sub-region was chosen as the subject of work since its ecological zone comprises, besides Central Africa, one of the major forest product industries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the concern of forestry is rapid deforestation which has been increasing steadily throughout the last three decades. A lack of data and information on forest resources, poverty, weak institutions with minimal enforcement capacity and unsound legal frameworks combined with low possibilities for stakeholders to participate create the grounds for illegality which in many cases related to the forestry sector entails corruption.

Ghana and Liberia were chosen to provide for the specific case studies, since these countries show contradicting economic and political profiles. However, neither is expected to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 7, ensuring environmental sustainability. As for Ghana, the author has worked and lived for a short period in a Ghanaian rural community and attempts to link in this work the available information in specific literature on the topic with a critical evaluation based on personal experience.

Liberia shows an interesting and distinct economic and political profile and has therefore been selected for the second country case.

The objective of this work is also to highlight the necessity of collaborative action on a global scale for the achievement of MDG 7. In this respect, MDG 8, “develop a global partnership for development” shall provide for ideas and possibilities to correct the situation before the determined period for the viability of the MDGs has expired.

1.2 Hypothesis

The research for this document relies on a hermeneutic approach with a descriptive emphasis, based on the hypotheses listed in the following:

1) The Millennium Development Goals in addition to several cross-cutting impediments, view corruption as a major obstacle in respect of their achievability by the year 2015.
2) As a major source for national income in most countries of Western Anglophone Africa, the management of natural resources is increasingly affected by corrupt undertakings endangering environmental sustainability.
a. The Republic of Ghana and the Republic of Liberia risk failing to achieve MDG 7 “Ensuring environmental sustainability” explicitly in forest management as a result of non-ethical approaches.
b. Insufficient financial resources for the capacity-building of administrative bodies in conformity with best governance practices disrupt the progress of transparency, in particular in timber trade.
3) On the subject of Millennium Development Goal 8’s suggestion “Develop a global partnership for development”, considerable potential for succession of the post-Millennium Development Goals era lies in the strengthening of institutions and creation of synergies to harness timber certification. Another feasible option could be to move away from the dependence on exports of primary commodities income and harness the potential which lies in the increased local production through diversification.

1.3 Research design

The basis of this work builds on the hermeneutic approach combining extensive use of dominantly primary literature supplemented by secondary literature and the first-hand impressions of the thesis author gained during a stay in the region. The document discusses various major topics, which is the reason why a general overview of each of the major themes is provided in order to secure a general understanding of the basics before linking various subjects with each other. With this background, the first focus is on the Millennium Development Goals and their evolution, following a brief introduction of these global objectives, sustainable development joins the discussion followed by a discourse on corruption in Africa. In this respect, three major topics find themselves confronted with each other in chapter two.

The socio-economic setting in Sub-Saharan Africa provides the basis for the elaboration of chapter three. This chapter focuses on the region’s economy, politics and aspects of corruption as a background for the subsequent analysis of Western Anglophone Africa in chapter four. While anti-corruption instruments constitute again a valuable part of the research in this chapter, the sub-regional geography, culture and historic backgrounds in combination with regional organizations and current regional concerns form the pillars of detailed analysis. This basis leads to the country specific overview in chapter five.

Following these mainly descriptive chapters, the special focus is examined in detail starting with an insight into diverse international organizations working in the field of forestry. The objectives of the described organizations differ slightly; however, they share the same mission of sustainable forest management (SFM). Since this document’s focus remains on the linkage between corruption and sustainable forest management and their impact on MDG 7’s achievability, chapter five analyses the multitude of components inherent to sustainable development of forests. The research outlines, beside other factors, land tenure as an essential factor for the progress in SFM. One considerable drawback is the unavailability of continuously updated information as regards current land tenure systems, since culture and tradition remain major influencing factors with a view to land property and most information concerning the latter elements is based on oral tradition backed up by cultural norms. Therefore, historic evidence in Ghana is outlined in the best possible way in chapter eight, describing simultaneously the new legal framework and opportunities for a participatory approach, taking place in the form of collaborative forestry. Its aim is to create awareness for the intrinsic value of forests and related non timber forest products among all stakeholders.

In chapter nine Liberia’s forestry sector is examined with an emphasis on the legal aspect and the effects and reasoning underlying the United Nations Security Council resolution 1731 (2006).

Since illegal trade in timber has been assumed to correlate frequently with corrupt acts, chapter ten discusses its relevance which will then be linked to the final chapter analysing the achievability of MDG 7 and the current progress on a regional and selected country level.

The work will be concluded by providing a brief summary corroborating the hypotheses on which it is based, and by outlining and sharing further ideas and topic-related recommendations for future analyses.


The world by 2015, should ideally be a world without poverty, hunger and disease, without a risk for women giving birth and their infants, with gender equality, with basic education for the entire world population, a healthier environment and in the best case enhanced by a global partnership among developed and developing countries for a common sustainable development. The wide, if not universal recognition as regards the achievability of the MDGs will be discussed in the subsequent chapters of the work.

This vision provided a framework for the creation of eight priorities titled: The Millennium Development Goals. The goals are to be reached by 2015 and consist of quantified targets with the aim to address poverty in its varied dimensions while at the same time attempting to guarantee basic human rights for people everywhere.

Conflict and endemic disease occur in regions where indigent populations live, a comprehensive approach and coordinated strategies are needed to deal with the many facets of extreme poverty, hunger, diseases, lack of shelter, unemployment, gender inequality and environmental decline. The Millennium Development Goals arose from the UN Millennium Declaration, the General Assembly resolution 55/2, section III, in 2000, which has been adopted by all 192 member states of the United Nations.

‘We will have time to reach the Millennium Development Goals – worldwide and in most, or even all, individual countries – but only if we break with business as usual. We cannot win overnight. Success will require sustained action across the entire decade between now and the deadline. It takes time to train the teachers, nurses and engineers; to build the roads, schools and hospitals; to grow the small and large businesses able to create the jobs and income needed. So we must start now. And we must more than double global development assistance over the next few years. Nothing less will help to achieve the Goals.’

Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan (UN Millennium Development Goals (2006a) n.p.a.

The eight Millennium Development Goals, each one divided into several targets, highlight priority areas that need to be addressed. In order to achieve these goals and genuine support from individual governments an adoption as national objectives is necessary and will serve to increase the coherence and consistency of national policies and programmes. An obvious reduction of the gap between what needs to be done and what actually is done shall be provided by the MDGs. Many development commitments made in the 1990s, failed as a result of the widening gap between goals and achievements, therefore the UN system, in cooperation with other partners dedicated to development instead of individual governments, will monitor goals. Indicators have been established for the goals and targets to facilitate the ongoing assessment. However, the MDGs do not provide the only solution to the development challenges of any specific country. A major difference compared to earlier donor-driven development programmes is the responsibility which lies with each country to work out details of comprehensive development frameworks and strategies for funding.

The MDGs inherit objectives from a number of previous declarations as well as regional and international initiatives such as the 1995 Copenhagen UN World Summit for Social Development, the 1995 Beijing Fourth UN Conference on Women, the 1994 Cairo UN International Conference on Population and Development, the 1979 Convention on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the 1992 Rio UN Conference on Environment and Development. (The Millennium Development Goals in Africa (2005)) An overview of the eight MDGs and the eighteen targets will be presented in the following

“Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Target 1: Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a US dollar a day

Target 2: Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Target 3: Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Target 4: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

Target 5: Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Target 6: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio

Goal 6: Combat HIV / AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Target 7: Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV / AIDS

Target 8: Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Target 9: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources

Target 10: Half by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water

Target 11: By 2020 to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Target 12: Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory, includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction – nationally and internationally

Target 13: Address the least developed countries’ special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt-relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction

Target 14: Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing states

Target 15: Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term

Target 16: In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth

Target 17: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

Target 18: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies – especially information and communications technologies”

(UN Millennium Development Goals (2006a), n.p.a.)

Significant progress with a view to achieving the MDGs was observed in the overall world in the period 1990 to 2002. While average incomes went up by 21 per cent, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined by 130 million, life expectancy rose from 63 to 65 years and primary school enrolments and access to safe drinking water and sanitation increased. (The Millennium Development Goals in Africa: Progress and Challenges (2005), p.1)

While Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean are on track to fulfil many of the MDGs, few African countries are likely to realise the majority of them. In the 1960s, growth per capita income in Sub Saharan Africa averaged 1.5 %, 0.8% in the 1970s and minus 1.2% in the 1980s. In comparison to any other group of middle or low-income countries, the region grew more slowly in the 1990s. Today, per capita income averages USD 500 a year in this sub region. A drastic rise in the number of people living in abject poverty was stated in Sub-Saharan Africa with an increase of 73 million people from 1990 to 2000, in one decade only. (The Millennium Development Goals in Africa: Progress and Challenges (2005)) In addition, the GNP is often exceeded by outstanding debts and frequently debt servicing requirements exceed a quarter of export earnings. (Annan, K. (2000))

Africa’s economy is characterized by extractive industries and resources that are consumed at unsustainable rates. With a view to Millennium Development Goal 7 and sustainable forest management, it is also vital to raise the issue of electrical power consumption which is the lowest in the world. As a result of tight state controlled and inefficiently managed economic regimes, African productivity has suffered. High trade barriers and poor public services complement the current situation, which provides a good basis for the persistance of corruption. Another impediment for successful participation in world trade constitutes the lack of access to appropriate technology and information. (Annan, K. (2000))

As to challenges in politics, the following obstacles might be mentioned: “the winner-take-all” principle which is directly linked to the control of society’s wealth and resources, the power of patronage, and the willingness to resort to force in response to disputes. (Annan, K. (2000))

2.1 The interface of environmental sustainability and development

This paper focuses on MDG seven, ensuring environmental sustainability. In the beginning it is essential to define sustainability and explore the reasons why this term has become central in debates about environmental issues.

The term sustainability did not come into general use until the late 1980s and was first introduced at the World Council of Churches in 1974. It was further elaborated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1980. As widely known, the topic was introduced to the international agenda in 1987 when the United Nations’ World Commission on Environment under the chair of the Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, published the report “Our Common Future”. This report is generally known as Brundtland report and the probably most cited phrase of it with regards to sustainability will be mentioned here in order to provide a comprehensive picture of how the term has evolved: ‘Sustainable development which implies meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ (Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987), p. 24, section 3, para. 27) The slogan “sustainable development” has been immediately adopted and used by governments, international agencies and the civil society. It includes two key concepts, namely the concept of “needs” and the idea of limitations due to the restraints by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs. It is said about Gandhi having remarked that the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.

In 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, also known as The Earth Summit, sustainable development was re-affirmed and the concept was supported globally by governmental and nongovernmental players.

Two factors obviously underlying the concept of sustainability deal with equity and obligations towards future generations. Will human beings be capable of achieving sustainability in the necessary timeframe and consciously take control of their destiny? Natural disasters, some of them, most probably a result of global warming are reported almost daily in the newspapers.

“[…] sustainability is global. There can be no such thing as ‘sustainability in one country’.” (Dresner (2002), p. 84) Environmental sustainability has to be a global concern and measures, in order to be effective, should be adopted in national policies and in sum realised by the global community. Several economists and scientists had ideas as to the way we could live in a sustainable way, integrate ourselves better into the natural cycle and certainly critics were brought up as well.

2.2 Linkages between human well-being and the environment

Various research results have underlined the relationship between human well-being and the environment. The relationship between the two factors is obvious and the example of Figure 1 will show the importance of achieving every single Millennium Development Goal since they all have an essential impact on the achievability of MDG 7.

Figure 1: Key links between environmental sustainability and other Goals

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Source: DFID et al (2002); UNDP (2002)

2.2.1 Environmental Sustainability Index

The Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) is a benchmark to define the ability of specific nations with a view to the protection of the environment over the next several decades. (UNDP (2005)) A total of 76 data sets among which are for instance tracking natural resource endowments, past and present pollution levels, environmental management efforts, and the capacity of a society to improve its environmental performance, is divided into 21 indicators of environmental sustainability. (UNDP (2005)) The following five broad categories are covered with the indicators:

- Environmental Systems
- Reducing Environmental Stresses
- Reducing Human Vulnerability to Environmental Stresses
- Societal and Institutional Capacity to respond to Environmental Challenges
- Global Stewardship

The “Pressure-State-Response” environmental policy model provides the basis for the categories on which the indicators and variables are built. In addition, policy makers, scientists and indicator experts have been consulted before and during the elaboration of the ESI.

Even if the indicators cannot provide a definite vision of sustainability, they are “ (1) a powerful tool for putting environmental decision making on firmer analytical footing and (2) they are an alternative to GDP and the Human Development Index for gauging country progress; and (3) a useful mechanism for benchmarking environmental performance.” (Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy et al (2005), p. 1) The following figure shows the ESI scores of the five West African Anglophone countries.

Figure 2: Environmental Sustainability Index, selected West African countries

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Source: Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy et al (2005)

Regarding the interpretation of the ESI, in general the score indicates the country’s position and capability of maintaining favourable environmental conditions in the future.

The most beneficial aspect of the ESI refers to the provided foundation for a more data-driven environmental analysis and decision making.

Furthermore, the ESI shows the strong linkages between environmental sustainability and economic development in addition to the income being a strong contributing factor regarding the potential for environmental stewardship.

Moreover, some of the critical determinants of environmental performance are revealed by ESI-based analysis: quality of governance, low population density and economic viability. The long suggested theoretical importance of latter factors has now been underlined and supported in this empirical approach used by ESI.

Not covered in the ESI are the quality of waste management, wetlands destruction and exposure to heavy metals since available data is either not collected or cannot be compared due to great differences in reporting. Regarding the MDGs, some goals dispose of well-established metrics allowing for the tracking of progress of the respective goals. MDG 7, as focus of this work is missing the breadth of indicators needed to sufficiently measure advances in this respect. In this case, the ESI could be used when initializing the development of a set of appropriate metrics.

2.2.2 Human Development Index

Deeper interconnections between countries are enhanced by global integration. The space between people and countries is shrinking rapidly in economic terms as a result of the linkages created between countries by trade, technology and investment. However, from the human development perspective, the space between countries is marked by deep and in various cases, widening inequalities. (UNDP (2005)) The Human Development Report reveals the challenges the world is facing in a view of the countdown to the year 2015 and it entails the Human Development Index (HDI) which will be examined in correspondence to the work’s objective.

Figure 3: Selection of countries in the human development aggregates

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Source: UNDP (2005), p. 363

The HDI could not be computed for Liberia. While Gambia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone reveal a low human development, Ghana’s human development is of medium quality.

Figure 4: Human development improving in most regions

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Source: UNDP (2005), p. 21

The figure above draws the attention to the exponential growth or amelioration of human development in most of the world’s regions with the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa, where improvement of the HDI has been constant almost since 1985 and has even slightly declined in 2003. Furthermore, the low human development in this region might be observed as well, with an average HDI of 0.490.

2.3 Historic evolution of sustainable development

At the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in the year 1972, general perception by developing country governments was that environmental concern is a luxury for the rich. There were exceptions, for instance, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, remarked that the worst pollution is poverty. The Stockholm conference, for the first time, placed environmental problems on the international agenda and it consequently led to the establishment of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Governing Council, the UNEP Secretariat, which is headquartered in Nairobi to provide a base for environmental action and coordination within the UN system, and finally, a voluntary Environment Fund.

2.3.1 United Nations Environmental Programme

For the comprehensive overview, the author will provide here a short note on UNEP. The Programme’s mission statement is “to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.” (UNEP (2006), p. 2) The five priority areas of UNEP comprise environment assessment and early warning, development of policy instruments, enhanced coordination with environmental conventions, technology transfer and support to Africa. It has a fist-hand understanding of environmental issues which developing countries face due to its base in Africa as one of the only two UN programmes which are headquartered in the developing world. The second one is UNEP’s sister agency, UN-HABITAT, which is also located in Nairobi, Kenya. (ibid.)

In 1974, the concept of “sustainable society” emerged at an ecumenical study conference on Science and Technology for Human Development convened by the World Council of Churches.

“The ‘sustainable society’ concept is notable because it starts with the principle of equitable distribution, which was to be a cornerstone of the Brundtland Report’s approach. Still more remarkably, it involves the concept of democratic participation, which became important at the Earth Summit nearly 20 years later. The second and third conditions of the definition are similar to the definitions of physical sustainability used today. What is most interesting is that the original definition started, not with environmental conditions, but with social conditions for sustainability: the need for equity and for democracy. The debate about sustainability could be defined as the ideas that emerge when concern for the global environment and concern for global social justice meet.” (Dresner (2002), pp. 29-30)

The term “sustainable development” was introduced in the World Conservation Strategy in the year 1980 which was published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The term “sustainable development” was defined as “the integration of conservation and development to ensure that modifications to the planet do indeed secure the survival and well-being of all people.” (Dresner (2002), p. 30) It was suggested that development should be combined with conservation which is according to Gifford Pinchot’s definition “the greatest good for the greatest number over the longest time”. (ibid, pp. 30-31)

The World Conservation Strategy did not mention political and economic changes that would be necessary to bring about the goal of sustainable development and additionally it was written by Northern environmentalists using a moral framework that was not universal. It needed therefore the Brundtland Commission to make the idea of sustainable development politically acceptable.

In 1983, the UN General Assembly set up the World Commission on the Environment and Development (WCED), whose Chairperson was Gro Harlem Brundtland and the outcome is widely known as “Our Common Future”, published in 1987. As already mentioned earlier, the probably most quoted phrase of this report is defining “sustainable development” as the “development which implies meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987), p. 24, section 3, para. 27) The report explains it further:

“The concept of sustainable development does imply limits – not absolute limits but limitations imposed by the present state of technology and social organization on environmental resources and by the ability of the biosphere to absorb the effects of human activities. But technology and social organization can be both managed and improved to make way for a new era of economic growth. The Commission believes that widespread poverty is no longer inevitable. Poverty is not only an evil in itself, but sustainable development requires meeting the basic needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to fulfil their aspirations for a better life. A world in which poverty is endemic will always be prone to ecological and other catastrophes.” (ibid.)

In order to still increase the definition’s comprehension, another quotation of the report will be provided:

“…sustainable development is not a fixed state of harmony, but rather a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are made consistent with future as well as present needs. We do not pretend that the process is easy or straightforward. Painful choices have to be made. Thus, in the final analysis, sustainable development must rest on political will.” here (Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987), p. 25, section 3, para. 30)

The Brundtland Commission stressed the importance of integrating environmental decisions into central economic decision making. Moreover it recognised that extreme poverty obliges people to practice environmentally destructive activities while seeking in desperation for short term survival.

“Meeting essential needs requires not only a new era of economic growth for nations in which the majority are poor, but an assurance that those poor get their fair share of the resources required to sustain that growth. Such equity would be aided by political systems that secure effective citizen participation in decision making and by greater democracy in international decision making.” (ibid., para. 28)

Even though the Brundtland report supported economic growth, it also clearly outlined that physical growth is limited. Furthermore the report is critical to several factors among which are income and energy efficiency. It says that income, in the way it is currently measured, fails to take account of the depletion of natural capital but in the report itself GNP growth is taken as a measure of increasing income. The report notes the need for increased energy efficiency in order to achieve improved living standards in the South, but mentions at the same time that earlier stages of industrialization that Southern developing countries pass in their development of industries is particularly energy intensive.

As a direct consequence of the Brundtland Commission the world community convened the Earth Summit (UNCED) in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. The scheduled topics to be achieved were centred around the conventions on climate, biodiversity and forests, the Earth Charter, Agenda 21, a global action plan outlining the sustainable development priorities for the 21st century, an agreement on new financial resources for Agenda 21 and the strengthening of UN institutions.

Most topics of the schedule have been successfully addressed except for the forest conventions. One paragraph of the preamble from the statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests draws attention to the importance of this part of the ecological system:

“All types of forests embody complex and unique ecological processes which are the basis for their present and potential capacity to provide resources to satisfy human needs as well as environmental values, and as such their sound management and conservation is of concern to the Governments of the countries to which they belong and are of value to local communities and the environment as a whole.” (Report of the UNCED, Annex III, (1992), (f))

The UNCED has been a failure for Southern countries since funds and technology transfer did not happen as expected. The South Centre, as representative of the Group of 77 made their points clear in a document stating:

“Two strategic considerations should guide the South’s negotiating position […](a) ensuring that the South has adequate ‘environmental space’ for its future development, and (b) restructuring global economic relations in such a way that the South obtains the required resources, technology, and access to markets[…]” (Grubb et al (1993) quoted in Dresner (2002), p. 43)

The three conventions negotiated at UNCED were all of more concern for Northern countries than for the South. African countries suggested and favoured a convention on desertification, but since the North had little interest, their convention only emerged in 1994.

At the UNCED the Business Council for Sustainable Development was established and the theory of Total Quality Management was introduced, arguing that pollution, equal to low quality, is a sign of inefficiency and waste.

During the 1980s debt had accrued in almost all Southern countries since interest rates on cheap loans, which they had taken in the 1970’s, rose dramatically. They called on the IMF for assistance and had to adhere to structural adjustment conditions involving cutting public expenditure, privatisation of industries, opening markets to imports and increasing exports. Since most Southern countries’ exports were dependent on a reduced number of commodities and their exports were to be increased, commodity prices on the world markets fell and did not improve the countries’ situation. A severe impact had the high oil/ energy prices on developing nations’ economies. (Macfarlane (2007) In fact, debt repayments of several countries were larger than the receipt of aid and loan. The 1980s were from there on known as the “lost decade” for development as Southern countries’ spending on education and health was cut due to the before mentioned reasons.

In 1990, the report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was published followed by the successful closure of the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1995. This convention emerged after the collapse of the forest convention, since developing countries considered forests as a natural resource which they had the sovereign right to exploit. They did not appreciate being lectured on the matter by industrialized countries which had followed similar policies regarding their own forests.

While the Rio Declaration’s focus was on development and national sovereignty, the Stockholm Declaration paid attention to environmental protection and international cooperation.

The Agenda 21 was a framework of action aimed at achieving sustainable development, based on a bottom-up approach, including an emphasis on the important role of civil society. It dealt mainly with participation and open government and highlighted the role of the market, trade and business. Critics with regards to Agenda 21 named the topics which were left out, namely consumption patterns, population, international debt and militarism. Its failure was due to high expenses, even though the suggested necessary sum of USD 600 billion is just about half the amount which is, according to estimates, annually spent by the world on subsidies. The latter damage not only the environment but also the bases for comparative advantages which could be derived from free trade.

In 1994, an agreement with regards to the lowering of barriers of Western countries to Southern imports was reached under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). As part of the agreement, Southern countries had to lower their barriers to imported goods and introduce strict standards for the protection of intellectual property. One consequence of this measure was to restrict Southern countries’ access to cheap generic drugs. This development was critical for African countries since they were granted protected access to Northern markets under the Lomé Convention. For Asian and Latin American countries it was considered to be good news.

The negotiations led to the establishment of the World Trade Organisation, successor to the GATT, opening the era of freer trade. Adam Smith justified free trade on the basis of absolute advantage, stating that countries will benefit from specializing in what they are best at. His theory, though, is based on the assumption that capital is not internationally mobile since under condition of free trade mobility in capital leads to a capital accumulation in the countries that are most competitive in each industry while countries that are not globally competitive in any field won’t experience any gains.

In 1995, the Conference on Social Development, called Social Summit, was held in Copenhagen; here the South had some influence on the agenda. The follow up of the Earth Summit took place in 1997, five years after the first one, and it was recognised that little had happened. Agenda 21 had not been implemented as a result of insufficient funds.

According to historic evidence, the WTO succeeds which is regarded as biased since the regulations it puts in place often oversee the environment, public health and social welfare in favour of maximising trade. The WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999, collapsed without agreement after the US and the EU attempted to introduce worldwide minimum environmental and labour standards, which was resisted by Southern countries who perceived these standards as disguised trade barriers. The US and the EU were reluctant to open their markets to imports from the South and end agricultural subsidies. Two years later, the talks were continued in Doha; agreements on the launching of new negotiations on liberalizing services, the phasing out of agricultural subsidies and reduction of fishing subsidies, the production of cheap generic drugs in case of public health emergency in Southern countries and the possibility of favourable treatment by the EU of imports from certain African and Caribbean countries under the Lomé Convention were made. In 2006, the Doha round finally collapsed since no agreement could be reached as to agricultural subsidies. While ministers were granted reflection time, it is unclear if and when talks will be continued.

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), even if it does not stand in direct relation with the Doha Round, will be mentioned here since it precedes its collapse. This new agreement was signed in October 2001 by the presidents of Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, who simultaneously assume their role of heads of the State Implementation Committee. NEPAD provides a strategic framework for the socioeconomic development of Africa. On the one hand it draws attention to the current problems while on the other hand it delivers a programme of action and thereby provides a vision for Africa. The main objective resides in the halt of Africa’s marginal position in the globalization era.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development which was called in Johannesburg in 2002 follows. From a general point of view there was little favourable revealed in the Conference, except for the agreement to halve the amount of people in the world without access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015, the restated commitment as regards the MDGs and the establishment of a solidarity fund for the eradication of poverty. Due to the perception of being singled out for criticism increasingly over issues not related to the conference’s agenda, the US reactions at the Summit were in general less favourable. (Macfarlane (2007)) This conference revealed that politicians can lose interest in sustainable development even if the environment is still deteriorating.

2.3.2 Note on the Kyoto Protocol

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) addresses the challenge of global warming and increases in temperature, however it is the supplementary document, the Kyoto Protocol, which introduces legally binding commitments to be followed by the parties who either ratify, accept, approve or accede this Annex I of the UNFCCC. The industrialized countries are supposed to reduce their emissions by 5.2 per cent in the period 2008-12 compared with 1990 levels. The targets that could be agreed upon in the Convention were extremely modest with regards to the definite need to limit global warming; this was the reason for adding the agreement. While the Convention was ratified in 1994, the text of the Kyoto protocol was adopted in 1997. In March 2001, the Bush administration withdrew from the agreement followed by Australia and Japan arguing that they would not be able to support it without the US, meaning that the protocol could not be ratified.[1] The Bonn agreement followed and in Marrakech the final rules for the Protocol as to how to ‘operate’ the instructions were agreed in November 2001. The Kyoto Protocol finally entered into force in February 2005. It is obvious that certain challenges slowed down the ratification process, in particular since the Protocol is dealing with a worldwide issue and it needs to be politically acceptable. The commitments under the protocol with a view to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions vary among the nations which signed it; however flexibility is granted regarding how these objectives are going to be met. This means that countries might opt for the compensation for their emissions with several measures such as e.g. by augmenting so-called ‘sinks’, forests, which reduce some of the carbon dioxide.

Figure 5: Carbon dioxide emissions, 1970 – 2015; per capita (metric tons of CO2)

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Source: EIA (2004), fig. 19

The reason why the Kyoto Protocol is mentioned in this document is that global warming as a result of climate change constitutes an outstanding example of a topic that involves both questions of intergenerational and international equity and therefore sustainability.

2.3.3 Introducing sustainability to economics

Figure 6: Recommendations for structural changes

Strengthen institutions and governance

- Train, recruit and retain environment experts.
- Secure sufficient funding for environmental institutions.
- Reform government institutions and improve interagency coordination.
- Improve governance and gender equality.

Correct market failures and distortions

- Account for the cost of environmental degradation in national accounts.
- Introduce payments for ecosystem services.
- Reform tax structures to promote environmentally beneficial actions.
- Phase out environmentally harmful subsidies.
- Develop trade regulations to promote legal, sustainable harvesting of natural resource products such as timber.
- Strengthen property and land tenure rights, including community management regimes.
- Improve national and international regulatory frameworks.

Promote science and technology for environmental sustainability

- Mobilize science and technology for sustainable development.
- Establish mechanisms for science and technology advice.
- Train decision-makers in environmental management.
- Improve extension training and services.
- Expand education in science, mathematics, and environmental studies.
- Provide public access to environmental information.
- Strengthen global scientific assessments.

Build environmental sustainability into all development strategies across sectors

- Adopt quantified and time-bound environmental objectives.
- Incorporate environmental sustainability into poverty reduction strategies.
- Increase funding for national environmental programs.
- Increase funding to countries to support implementation of existing multilateral environmental agreements.

Source: UN Millennium Project 2005. Environment and human well-being: A practical strategy.

Box 7, p. 19

From a common point of view, an economists’ approach to environmental issues is mainly to choose the risk of extinction rather than abandon the possibility of higher income. Therefore, GNP figures have often been subject to critics since the consumption of the Earth’s capital was treated as if it were income.

For example, environmental decisions are usually based on cost-benefit analysis, determining what a set of environmental goods is worth to people in monetary terms. The resulting figure is set against the monetary value of economic exploitation. A cost-benefit analysis is not negative in itself; however, attention needs to be paid with a view to the inclusion of all relevant key factors. (Macfarlane (2007))

An alternative indicator has been proposed under the name “Herman Daly’s Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare”. (Dresner (2002), p. 101) The calculations for this index take into account the adjustments for the depletion of natural capital, the costs of pollution and social issues, i.e. increasing unemployment and inequality.

The theory of marginal utility, saying that an additional unit consumed is worth less in terms of welfare to a rich person than to a poor, advances the debate on the link between ethics and sustainability by highlighting the vital objective which should not primarily be to reach the greatest total welfare but the most just distribution of wealth.

One of the crucial questions is: “Will the extra accumulation of human created capital be sufficient to offset the extra loss of natural capital?” (ibid., p. 82)

Herman Daly outlines four principles of sustainability, namely:

“Limit the human scale to that which is within the Earth’s carrying capacity. Second, ensuring an efficiency-increasing technological progress rather than throughput-increasing, third, renewable resources harvesting rates should not exceed regeneration rates (sustained yield); waste emissions should not exceed the assimilative capacities of the receiving environment. Fourth, non-renewable resources should be exploited no faster than the rate of creation of renewable substitution.” (Daly (1991), pp. 44-45 quoted in Dresner (2002), p. 83)

Another concept aimed at making sustainability more concrete taking into account the physical components separately, deals with “environmental space”.

“The idea is to look at each component and consider what would be a level of activity that could be supported by ecosystems without irreversible damage. The total amount of activity that could be supported in such a way is referred to as the ‘environmental space’.” (Dresner (2002), p. 75)

One of the various recommendations for the implementation of the environmental space concept has been ecological tax reform. This idea would redirect taxes from labour to energy, making energy consumption more expensive and labour cheaper. The positive effect ought to be both in the reduction of pollution and unemployment. Nevertheless opponents warn that it could fail as a result of its special victory. If governments are dependant on revenues from taxes on energy and materials they might be considering encouraging their use in different ways. Therefore it is essential to prevent ecological taxes from becoming a primary source of governmental income.

Another controversy is revealed by so-called “shadow prices” which should reflect the value of environmental goods. The difficulty remains with the definition of ‘value’ since opinions diverge as to the existence of indefinite values.[2]

The consideration of consumption patterns in the debate on sustainability is biased as well, for two reasons: it is argued that they are unsustainable, meaning consumption patterns are too high. However, a sudden decrease in the overall consumption would result in a vicious cycle for both developing and industrialized countries, since less consumption in the countries of the northern hemisphere would also result in less production and on a wider perspective, a slow down in the consumption in countries of the southern hemisphere.

A capitalist system is dependent on the creation of new desires and new markets for its dynamics. Nor can a socialist system be assumed either to be immune to the desire for growth. Therefore the challenge might be in promoting changes in the educational system to create greater awareness among future generations for their fellow men, and start a move towards the rethinking of current values that are driven by greed and self-interest which are substantially destructive.

It is evident that our society is in desperate need for a re-shaping and the move towards more environmental awareness.

“If we made a clipping of the history of Earth into a movie lasting exactly 1 year (by running 146 years per second of movie-clip), life would not appear until March, multicellular organisms not until November, dinosaurs not until December 13 (lasting until the 26th only), mammals not until December 15. Homo Sapiens would come 11 minutes to midnight of the last day, and civilization just one minute ago. Yet in a very short time, less than 200 years (a mare 0,000002% of Earth’s life), humans have become capable of seriously altering the entire biosphere – more profoundly than it has changed in the past billion years.” (Bajrektarevic (2006))

This statement might enhance our set of conceptions on rights and wrongs in respect of our environment and our sustainable use thereof.

2.4 Defining corruption

In this part, several definitions on corruption will be provided with the aim to generate a clear picture of social endemic disease. The categorization of corruption suggests ‘high-level’, ‘grand’ or ‘political’ corruption as well as ‘petty’, ‘administrative’ or ‘bureaucratic’ corruption. (AfDB (2005)) This variety of categories will be described in the following.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 7: Corruption defined by various international organisations

Source: Neelankavil (2002) in Bösenhofer, M. (2005), p. 10

2.4.1 Grand corruption

While grand corruption refers in general to corrupt acts with the involvement of senior

government officials, senior judges, legislators, the police, cabinet ministers, the military and even heads of governments and states. (Moody-Stuart (1997) and Tanzi (1998) in AfDB (2005)) Furthermore, grand corruption is also brought into relation with international business transactions involving both bureaucrats and politicians.

2.4.2 Petty corruption

In contrast to grand corruption, petty, administrative or bureaucratic corruption is rather exercised by individuals and lower-level officials, for instance policemen, immigration officials and agency bureaucrats to mention but a few. Bureaucratic corruption mainly occurs in the execution phase. A regular experience of corruption by firms and individuals when seeking a governmental service is perceived as pervasive. From a general point of view, the higher a government’s involvement in economic management, the higher the probability of corrupt acts due to the state apparatus being perceived as the main contributor to economic advancement and capital accumulation for the ones in power. (AfDB (2005)) The denomination petty corruption entails grease money or speed payments and bribing, to mention a few ways of how it occurs.

2.4.3 Isolated and systemic corruption

Isolated corruption happens if normal behaviour in a given society is not determined by corrupt acts. Systemic corruption, on the contrary, occurs if bribery is the conventional and accepted way of interacting with the public. In the latter example it is widespread and institutionalized. (ibid.)

Figure 8: Simplified Typology of Corruption

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Source: Kpundeh (1997) in AfDB (2005), p. 209

2.4.4 Forms of corruption

Corruption takes shape in various forms, embracing generally several of the following components. Bribery

“Bribery involves the promise, offer or giving of any benefit that improperly affects the actions or decisions of a public official. It can also include those who may not be public officials per se, but may also include members of the public who serve on government committees.” (UNODC (2001), p. 10)

Company shares, money, inside information, sexual or other favours, entertainment, gifts, a job, promises and so forth are to be considered bribes. The derived advantages might be direct or indirect; the latter is the case if the benefits sweep over to associates, family, campaign funds, political parties, etc.

Bribery might occur in the following circumstances (UNODC (2001)):

- Officials in revenue collecting agencies bill for lower amounts and share the difference with the citizens. In addition, tax officials may extort money for not imposing additional taxes on particular taxpayers. They might also illegally transfer funds and earn interests from the established accounts. Customs officials might be subject to bribes for ignoring legal or illegal imports or exports that have occurred. This appears to be a method for the transport of dangerous or prohibited goods across national borders.
- Payroll abuses, such as personnel lists with are inflated with the names of ‘ghost workers’
- To become involved in state-funded projects, enterprises and local governments use bribery
- Competition for scarce bank loans
- Extraction of privileged information about competitors Embezzlement, fraud and theft

Persons who are entrusted with authority and control over government property commit theft of these resources or convert the government property and personnel for private use.

Examples for this form of corruption include (ibid.):

- Government workers responsible for distributing food to the local villages steal portions of it and sell it to other parties
- Medical supplies are being stolen on the transport to a local hospital and sold to a local pharmacy
- A government official submits false invoices for official travel Extortion

“The act of extortion involves coercing a person to pay money or to provide other valuables or personal favour in exchange for acting or failing to act. This coercion can be under the threat of physical harm, violence or restraint.” (ibid., p. 12)

Relevant examples in this context (UNODC (2001)):

- A person is sick and needs an appointment with a doctor, however, the nurse tells the relatives that an extra payment is necessary to get into the doctor’s office
- Sometimes the police extorts money under the threat of arrest on false grounds

‘Speed money’ (ibid.) shall be mentioned here as well since it is paid to increase the rapidity of services and process applications done by government agencies. In fact, these government officials are paid speed money in order to do their job and to make the system work as it is supposed to. Preferential treatment for those who have paid is the desired result. Exploitation of a conflict of interest, influence peddling and insider trading

This refers to “engaging in transactions, ‘selling’ influence or acquiring a position or commercial interest that is incompatible with one’s official role and duties for the purpose of illegal enrichment.” (UNODC (2001), p. 12)

The public good might be also threatened in a conflict in which government officials find themselves in a cooperative, symbiotic relationship with the private sector. (ibid.)

Example (ibid.): A public official buys land, with the intentional to profit from secret information, where a construction is planned in the course of a project. In consequence, when voting regarding the permission for the real estate developer, the public official votes in favour regardless of whether this project is in the public interest. Offer or receipt of an unlawful gratuity, favour or illegal commission

Under this scenario public officials receive some kind of value as additional compensation for the performance under official duties. In particular, when public servants are underpaid, ‘tipping’ or ‘gratuity money’ is widespread. It can lead, however, to extortion if the recipient is not willing to pay or not in the position to pay. Favouritism, nepotism and clientelism

Services, resources and appointments are assigned according to party affiliation, family ties, religion, tribe and other preferential groupings. Established power balances are upheld as are inequalities and the vicious cycle will continue under these conditions at the expense of the poor population which is mostly affected by corrupt practices. Illegal Political Contributions

Non-interference and good-will towards the contributing interest group or entity is expected from political parties or governments in exchange for the receipt of illegal political contributions. This might materialize in less regulation of the industry in which the corporation, which has generously submitted contributions, is active. Protection and courtesies might be extended by politicians to legitimate or even illegitimate enterprises as incentive for contributions to their political campaigns. (UNCTAD (2001) Money Laundering

Any comprehensive anti-corruption strategy needs to entail measures aimed at preventing and controlling the laundering of revenue gained from corruption. Money laundering does not only involve a corruptive effect but also detrimental consequences on both national and international financial systems. The increased flow of illegal assets into a countries’ financial system is enhanced by the deregulation of the financial sector in combination with enhanced bank and corporate secrecy.

In the next sub-chapter, the earlier elaborated types and forms of corruption will be observed and applied to the African continent.

2.5 Corruption and sustainable development in Africa

After independence, a majority of African countries slipped from bureaucratic administration emphasizing good governance to one which emphasize was on political sovereignty. “This might be obvious since their independence was just of recent nature. Furthermore, many if not most of the countries were unprepared for independence by the colonial powers. In addition, the success of colonial administration by independent political entities inevitably led to corruption since strong indigenous political and administrative institutions were for the most part not in place when independence arrived. The distinction between administration and government is here of high importance.” (Macfarlane (2007))

The term “corruption” is derived from the Latin verb “to break”, “rumpere”, which implies that something is badly broken. Something could refer to a moral or ethic code, or, probably more frequently, to an administrative rule or a law. In the previous section, various definitions applied by international organizations and institutions have been listed.

Corruption might be defined as the “clandestine trade off between influence and (material or ‘in-kind’) gain that is seemingly victimless”[3]. Furthermore corrupt behaviour is considered to be “a social phenomenon which represents a deviant relationship within or between the governments, the citizenry and businesses that seriously departs from generally accepted legal and moral societal conduct.” (Bajrektarevic (2004))

Frequently occurring corruption is viewed as a poor functioning of a state. It entails both a default in ethical leadership and governance. Public accountability is rare, meaning that public officials are seldom held responsible for their actions. The obstacle of corrupt behaviour is to be found at the crossing of the public with the private sector.

The prevalence of corruption in Africa varies from country to country and could range from rare over widespread to systematic. The question of how systematic it is defines the facilitation of its detection. “It would be inappropriate to assume that corruption is predominantly an African phenomenon since it is a social disease which flourishes where the preconditions are met, such as for instance weak institutional structures.” (Bajrektarevic (2007)) However, corrupt acts are regarded as the major drawback for the African economy as a whole as are budgetary and governance deficiencies in the light of effectively managed aid resources.

Corruption results in capital flight, price increases at wholesale and retail levels; bribes in the trade sector might become necessary in the clearance of goods through customs, for obtaining licenses, for the shipping of goods and for the exclusions from taxes and fees to mention but a few.

Regardless of whether corrupt acts take place in the public or private sphere they have as consequence the abuse and misuse of scarce resources affecting the whole economy through multiplier effects. Therefore even a country rich in natural resources might fail to develop under a regime of systemic corruption.

Corruption hampers investment and economic growth, political development, social cohesion, ethic values, stability, administrative capacity and perceived legitimacy of the government. A substantial part of corrupt activities is rent-seeking, the endeavour to get access to, or control over, possibilities for earning rents, called monopoly profits. The major part of rent-seeking is exercised by private individuals and public officials who search for private gain. In particular if respect is lacking towards the state and its institutions, corruption is most likely to occur and vice versa.

Systematic corruption prevails; where a country’s leaders and its government are not restricted by countervailing forces or national legitimate institutions. History has shown that upon taking power, African governments associate the state with their ruling parties, national resources get monopolized and the system affects all facets of economic life. This situation promotes corruption since the private sector is obliged to engage in rent-seeking activities instead of competitive activities to make and maximise profits. This is the basis for neopatrimonialism, a system that grants economic and political gains to politicians and their advocates. The negative effects of this type of corruption are in the allocative inefficiency. As a result, private interests find their way through illegal means to take advantage of opportunities for corruption and rent-seeking.

“By violating the public trust and corroding social capital, corruption has far-reaching externalities including the slow erosion of political legitimacy to the point where even honest officials and members of the public see little point in playing by the rules, with the greatest victims being the poor.” (World Bank (1997), n.p.a.)

2.5.1 Primary causes for prevailing corruption

One of the major reasons for the spread of corruption is the ruling elite which exercises and is in total power leading in consequence to the supremacy of the state over civil society. A lack in the distinction between public and private interests contributes to a metamorphosis in which kleptocratic states, also called ‘vampire states’ (Rose-Ackermann (1997) and Andreski (1968) quoted in Hope and Chikulo (2000)) evolve. A characteristic of these states is that rulers and their supporters rob their country’s wealth, being very often encouraged and supported by external corporate centres and governments.

Public bureaucracy in combination with centralised decision-making may result in unreasonably high levels of state intervention in the economy. This combination can be considered another factor in the prevalence of corruption, since public officials control the regulating institutions for narrow socio-economic benefits. The resulting economic slow-down and little development would have a less favourable influence on public officials’ salaries which in turn would close the circle since they found themselves with no other remedy than to commit corrupt practices in order to sustain themselves and their families.

The absence of administrative predictability, ethical leadership and the lack of rule of law as well as socio-cultural norms and patterns, such as personalism, further foster corruption. It has been revealed that in countries with a population consisting of various ethnic groups, such as it is the case in Africa, more detrimental forms of corruption occur. (Shleifer, A. et al (1993) and Mauro, P. (1995) in Dresner (2002))

Patronage, patron-client relationships, unequal access to public resources, abuse and misuse of office and political position and administrative difficulty, economic bases such as poverty, the desire to be wealthy and social bases, as well as the lack of distinction between personal and private property are harmful to good governance and development. Moral accountability – a feasible option to curb corruption

Public officials are, according to the principles of moral accountability, expected to be honest, fair and just while respecting simultaneously their obligations and the law. At this point, the reader might ask why this expectation fails so often. Among the various possible reasons are the more compelling operative principles which are of particular importance in Africa, they explain how people actually behave. Pre-eminent royalty to the nation in itself remains frequently a fiction, which might be invoked but rarely observed. One example is the primacy of one’s loyalty to the family or ethnicity which takes precedence over loyalty to the national population. The absence of a sense of primary loyalty to the “general good” is a major source of corruption, which will persist until necessary conditions are met such as strong national institutions which are backed up by a genuine national moral ethic which surpass more narrow commitments. (Macfarlane (2007))

Corruption and sustainability have both one thing in common, in either case morality, even though the application in each is different. Corrupt acts, or paraphrased dishonesty forms the counterpart to equity. Since equity constitutes a main column in sustainability and the opposite of corruption, it is fair to assume that the achievement of sustainable development could have a positive impact on the reduction of corrupt acts and vice versa.

While corruption does not take into consideration the needs of future generations, sustainability does. If education systems adopted sustainability as a principle guiding line in their teaching programmes and future generations were brought up and educated to value their social and natural environment different than our society does nowadays, would they still drift towards corrupt behaviour upon assuming a leadership role? Would the fact that a human being is granted power to exercise a certain function change the basis of its moral principles and imply the gradual drawback to the social disease corruption?

For David Hume morality is “the mutual cooperation for common benefit”, while Immanuel Kant calls it “equal consideration of interests”. Religion as weighty instrument teaches human society about morality and serves in several cases also political purposes.

Several political and economic decisions might be considered in the light of morality, for example the deforestation of extensive areas of rainforests in developing countries for the cultivation of export crops for industrialized countries leaving in many cases the local population without significant benefits from this trade. Another example could be found in the justification for the ignorance of warnings as to the possible disastrous effects of hurricanes. “Should our assessment of the cost of climate change – the prevention of natural disasters [marked by the author] – be based on morality or current economic reality?” (Dresner (2002), p. 112)

The realists and utopians have diverging views as to whether international morality exists. What is certain, however, is that people do, even if they expect the state to act according to moral rules, not anticipate the same morality as they do for themselves or their close fellow-men. (Carr (2001))

“If there is broad agreement on the definition of “moral” in a nation-state and if it is enforced, which implies the presence of national institutions and supporting values, it could certainly solve the corruption obstacle. However, in its absence, it will be, on a national level, only of as much worth as the word is in itself.” (Macfarlane (2007)) Role of external factors in combating corruption

By external factors, international bodies, individual nations in particular seen from the aid donor perspective, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are meant, which play an ever increasing important role in nowadays world. In particular as regards the African continent, “an increasing openness to what used to be called external interference in dysfunctional societies” might be observed. (ibid.)

Conditionality gets better accepted than in earlier times, even if it is considered as qualifying or limiting the sovereignty of African states in certain ways. (ibid.) One of the most obvious examples is presented by the African Union, which, at least from a marginally point of view, is increasingly willing to have a look at internal African affairs. Liberia, appears as another example for a country which is inviting external audits to comply with measures seemingly interfering however, a condition for assistance.

From a general perspective, the decrease in regional tolerance with a view to human rights violations and the increase in the willingness to adopt and behave in line with pre-defined rules and regulations established by external bodies which grant assistance, is a favourable trend in current Africa.

2.5.2 Additional options for the fight against corruption

Several factors such as political stability, the rule of law, transparency, accountability and participatory political structures create a favourable environment for aid effectiveness and support the reduction in institutionalized abuse, mismanagement, theft or the diversion of aid resources.

The media needs to be independent of corrupt governments; this is followed by the removal of the display of state controls and the expulsion of controls on prices, exchange rates, imports, exports, rents is needed as well as the reform of the judicial system.

In several African countries watchdog institutions have been put into place such as for instance the Public Complaints Commission in Nigeria or the Serious Fraud Office in Ghana. The aim of these institutions is to increase transparency and accountability, introduce changes in the attitudes and behaviour of public officials, with the long term objective to achieve honesty and integrity in the public service.

National awareness campaigns could inform the public about the negative short and long term side effects of corruption and the penalties that accompany those who commit these acts of corruption. A notable example for a campaign is Nigeria’s ‘War Against Indiscipline and Corruption’ (WAIC).

Apart from the negative relationship between relative wages and corruption, several options exist which could contribute to the amelioration of corruption’s influence in an African country’s economy and politics. Among these options are the change in the tax structure, the simplification of grading structures and the scaling down of the civil service. Training to both harness skills and promote proper ethical attitude is a further factor in achieving a civil service reform.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 9: Multi-Pronged Strategies for Combating Corruption and Improving Governance

Source: AfDB (2005), p. 219


In this section, a regional socio-economic outlook will be provided starting with a broad overview of Sub-Saharan Africa and getting into greater detail as regards the West African sub region in the following chapter. Even if this might be obvious to the reader, the author wishes to draw attention to the fact that any document of this nature will need regular up-dating and this paper intends to embrace all relevant information and changes up to end of March 2007.

There are various ways of dividing Sub-Saharan Africa’s 51 countries into regions. The Economist Intelligence Unit for instance applies the following division into four sub regions, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Franc Zone, East Africa, Central and West Africa. (The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited (2006), p. 41) In this chapter the author chose to apply the division according to the United Nations classification, which divides Africa into North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The latter is again divided into three sub-regions: West Africa, Central Africa and East and Southern Africa. (UNCTAD (2004))

At the beginning, an initial classification of developing countries as used by the United Nations will be provided.

Since the focus of this work is on the five Western Anglophone African countries, the classification of small island developing states (SIDS) and landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) does not apply and will therefore be mentioned only at this point.

3.1 Developing countries

The United Nations Statistical Office (UNSO) uses the following country grouping to distinguish between various economies (UNCTAD (2006b)):

- Developed or industrial(ized) countries: the countries members of the OECD (other than Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Turkey) plus the new EU member countries which are not OECD members (Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia) and Israel.
- The category South-East Europe and CIS replaces what was formerly referred to as “transition economies”
- Developing countries: all countries, territories, or areas not specified above

3.2 Least developed countries

The United Nations introduced the definition “least developed country” in 1971, with originally 24 countries. (UNCTAD (2004)) Currently 50 countries are entitled “least developed countries” (LDCs) by the United Nations, namely: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia. (UNCTAD (2006))

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) renews this list every three years taking into considerations the recommendations of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) and with a view to the criteria (UNCTAD (2006), n.p.a.):

- “A “low-income” criterion, based on the gross national income (GNI) per capita (a 3-year average, 2002-2004), with thresholds of USD 750 for cases of addition to the list, and USD 900 for cases of graduation from LDC status;
- A “human assets” criterion, involving a composite index (the Human Assets Index) based on indicators of (i) nutrition (percentage of population undernourished); (ii) health (child mortality rate); (iii) school enrolment (gross secondary school enrolment rate); and (iv) adult literacy rate); and
- An “economic vulnerability” criterion, involving a composite index (the Economic Vulnerability Index) based on indicators of (i) natural shocks (index of instability of agricultural production; share of population displaced by natural disasters); (ii) trade shocks (index of stability of exports of goods and services; (iii) exposure to shocks (share of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in GDP; merchandise export concentration index); (iv) economic smallness (population in logarithm); and (v) economic remoteness (index of remoteness).

Different thresholds are used for each of the three criteria in order to add or graduate countries to/ from the list of LDCs. An addition takes place if a country meets the three criteria and if its population does not exceed 75 million. For a graduation from the list, a country needs to meet graduation thresholds under two of the three criteria in two consecutive reviews of the list at minimum. A grace period of three years comes into being following a recommendation from the CDP for a country to graduate and endorsement by ECOSOC and the General Assembly. This period is necessary to avoid disturbances in the socioeconomic progress of the respective country as a result of the loss of LDC-specific concessions. (UNCTAD (2006))

Regarding the focus of this work, three of the five countries, which will be examined in more detail in the following paragraphs, qualify for the LDC status, namely Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Figure 10: Real GDP and real GDP per capita growth rates of LDCs, by country, 2000-2002, 2003 and 2004

(annual average, percentage)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: UNCTAD (2006), p. 5

The figure above classifies the LDCs in three different groups. While Group 1 countries’ 2004 real growth rate was of 6% or above, countries of Group 2 would need in 2004 a real GDP growth rate of above 3% but below 6%. To be classified in Group 3, 2004 real GDP growth rate needed to be below 3%.

As a marginal player in the world economy, Sub-Saharan Africa lacks economic competitiveness and diversification, 34 of the 50 least-developed countries are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region heavily relies on agriculture and commodity exports, so periodic drought and fluctuating world market prices, as well as other factors, challenge economic management.

Most economic and social indicators have deteriorated since the 1970s. Economic growth remained modest in the 1990s, as a result of a greater commitment to economic reform and high global commodity prices. Growth has increased spread since 2000 (estimated at 5.1 percent in 2004) and living standards experienced slight improvement. (The Economic Intelligence Unit Ltd (2006), p. 2)

3.3 Economic outline

The economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa remains difficult to predict in particular since high variations exist comparing the economies of these 51 countries. Growth is expected to fall back marginally in 2006 to 5.4 percent as compared to the 2005 growth rate amounting to 5.6 percent. This slight decrease reflects the tensions regarding oil production in the Niger Delta. (ibid.), p. 36) The overall picture might however be misleading since a few countries with abundant oil resources could have led to the presented impressive economic figures even though they might not have followed sound economic policies and good governance combined with transparency.

While overall inflation rate for Sub-Saharan Africa was 9.7 percent in 2005, it is foreseen to increase to 13.6 percent in 2006 due to Zimbabwean inflation having averaged more than a 1,000 percent in the year 2006.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 11: Gross domestic investment and real GDP growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1983 - 2002

Source: World Bank (2004); World Development Indicators

The figure above demonstrates the decline in gross domestic investment in percentages of GDP from 1963 to 2002 and a slight increase in GDP growth from 1963 to 1992 followed by a significant rise in the period 1993 to 1997 and a slight decline to 2.6 percent for the period 1996 to 2002.

With a view to FDI, in 2005, the main recipients in Sub-Saharan Africa were Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and South Africa, which might be reasoned with their large oil resources however might not be a result of sound economic policies and good governance. The prospects for FDI inflows to Africa were positive in 2005 as a result of investments in non-renewable natural resource exploitation, a flowing global commodities market in combination with improved investor perceptions about Africa and international initiatives such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Everything but Arms, the Cotonou Agreement with the European Union and the NEPAD. (UNECA (2005b))

Figure 12: Real GDP growth, by African sub-region, 2002-04 (per cent)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: ECA (2005b), p. 54

Real GDP growth in West Africa averaged 4.3 per cent in 2004, which represents a sharp fall from 6.7 per cent in 2003. Nonetheless, a growth of more than 5 per cent was stated by 6 of the 15 countries in the sub-region. Namely, Liberia, which emerged from conflict and through donor support reached 15 per cent in the growth of GDP in 2004 compared to 4.5 per cent in 2003 and led the group followed by The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and Ghana. A growth rate of 4.6 per cent in 2004 compared to 10.2 per cent in 2003 was observed in Nigeria, the county, which accounts for almost half of the sub-regional output. Both the boost in the cocoa production and the increasing prices and production of gold were beneficial to Ghana.

Sub Saharan Africa’s trade has been dominated by the European Union, the United States and Asia. Inter-African trade has experienced a boost due to the raise in South African’s trade with other African nations. The region’s exports amounted to USD 197.8 billion in 2005 compared to USD 155.7 billions in imports. Among the region’s main exporters are Nigeria, Angola, South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire, main importers constitute South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire. Estimates point out a trade surplus of USD 41.8 billion in 2005 for Sub-Saharan Africa, which is expected to rise to USD 71.5 billion in 2006 resulting out of high world commodity prices. (The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited (2006), p.2)

For example, the prices of cocoa, which ranks second under the most exported commodities from Ghana, were highly fluctuating considering their weekly average price from 2003 to 2005; average annual prices, though, are on rise again since 2004. (, 11.09.2006)

Figure 13: Cocoa prices; annual averages

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 14: Cocoa; daily price average of week; June 2003 to May 2005

Source: FAO (2001)

Nevertheless in the field of trade, to put it nicely, little progress has been made and it is questionable whether any progress with the world trade talks can be expected, particularly following the failure of the Doha round in July 2006, after a long period of negotiations which started in November 2001. Disagreements with regards to the agricultural subsidies have led to the suspension.

3.3.1 Note on the Kimberley Process

Debates arise also out of the revenues gained from diamond mining. The conditions, under which the diamonds are mined, and the diluted positive effect for the indigent population out of the revenues in combination with the financing of conflicts led to turmoil in some African diamond producing countries in the 1990s. In order to keep concerns about possible disturbances under control, the Kimberley Process (KP) was established in May 2000 as a result of discussions in Kimberley, South Africa involving governments, civil society and the international diamond industry. The UN General Assembly passed a resolution for the creation of an international certification scheme of rough diamonds, which was reinforced in December 2006. The process’ purpose is to set up procedures allowing for the certification of diamonds according to their origin and to verify whether the diamonds are so-called “blood-diamonds”. Weak government structures and inadequate border controls, however, slow down and partially impede the proper verification process.

In 2006, a UN/KP mission attempted to verify in Ghana whether conflict diamonds were passing through the country from Côte d’Ivoire. Based on certain evidence, the KP Gaborone Plenary requested Ghana to implement an action plan for strengthening controls over its diamond industry. Technical assistance for the action plan was provided by KP technical experts followed by the Ghanaian request for an inspection visit to proof the country’s commitment for compliance to the KP and the related control systems. In the current year 2007, the European Community is chairing the KP and it considers sending a review mission to Ghana for the assessment of success with a view to the fight against conflict diamonds. A positive outcome is Ghana’s full commitment to co-operation with the mission. The mission’s emphasis will be on the amelioration of Ghana’s internal controls to reach further stabilization in West Africa.


[1] When discussing the Kyoto protocol and the US position, concerns of pollution by major industrializing countries, notably China and India should not be left aside. (Macfarlane (2007))

[2] Most goods and services do have a defined value in our society; however would we be willing to pay an infinite sum for saving the life of a human being? (Dresner (2002)) Would we be willing to change our lifestyles to sustain our current state of environment?

[3] „seemingly victimless“refers to the fact that negative consequences might not be obvious from the point in time when corruption occurs and in many cases, it does not directly affect the person or entity engaging in corrupt behaviour, since in general, the actor first checks whether the benefits (gain from corrupt act) outweigh the costs (such as the risk of being detected and punished for this crime, etc.). Corruption, of course, is not victimless.

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Sustainable Development in Western Anglophone Africa
Analysis of Millennium Development Goal 7's viability 'Ensuring environmental sustainability in forest management' under corruption aspects in Ghana and Liberia
University of applied sciences  (IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems)
International Law
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ISBN (Book)
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Many economies in Sub-Saharan Africa are dominated by extractive industries. With this background, the United Nations MDG 7 is of particular relevance in this region. West Africa, for instance, has extensive natural tropical forest resources which need to be managed sustainable not only to avoid the extinction of biodiversity and species, but also for their value with a view to all stakeholders.
United Nations, sustainability, Africa, Ghana, Liberia, forest, MDG, corruption, public private partnership, land tenure, biodiversity, stakeholder, global partnerships, trade, timber, poverty, crime, certification, sustainable forest management, SFM
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Erika Machacek (Author), 2007, Sustainable Development in Western Anglophone Africa, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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