Monday, January 25, 2010

Liberation and bribery

"A survey conducted by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime found that half of the 7,600 Afghans interviewed had paid a bribe in the previous year (see chart), handing over on average $160 each time, about a third of average annual GDP per head. This extrapolates to about $2.5 billion worth of baksheesh nationally every year: roughly as large as Afghanistan’s opium economy, and a quarter of licit economic output. For most Afghans, corruption outranks insecurity and unemployment as the country’s greatest challenge. Corruption corrodes Mr Karzai’s legitimacy; if he does not curb it, other problems may prove insoluble."