U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


Can you please provide links to existing material on corruption at ports and border points in Southern Africa? We are particularly interested at looking at forms of port and border corruption, the impact of corruption within ports on shipping and other transit corridors, and tools available to address these forms of corruption, including examples of training that can be/have been used.


I am undertaking a terms of reference on the impact of corruption in Southern Africa’s ports and border hubs, and the impact on regional trade and SME businesses.


1. Forms and impact of corruption in ports and borders
2. Mitigating corruption risks in ports and borders
3. Examples of anti-corruption tools and initiatives


Corruption in ports and borders involves a number of different actors such as border guards, customs officials and port operators with different levels of discretionary powers and opportunities to extract bribes. While there is extensive literature on corruption and anti-corruption in customs, there is little research specifically focusing on ports and borders, especially in Southern Africa.

Corruption in ports and borders mostly manifests itself in terms of collusive forms of corruption to evade tariffs and taxes and coercive bribery where port or customs officials extract bribes from companies or individuals for performing routine processes. There is a broad consensus in the literature that port and border corruption has a detrimental impact on shipping  costs, trade, revenue collection as well as organised crime and security.

Measures to address corruption at ports and borders include systemic measures addressing the underlying causes of corruption as well as organisational and institutional development to address both the opportunities for corruption and incentive structures that create a supportive environment for corruption.


Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected]


Robin Hodess, Ph.D., Transparency International




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