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Africa Ghana

Ten Insights into Ghanaian Culture: #7 – Bribery in Ghana

Ah, alas some sad news. Bribery is common in Ghana. A trademark characteristic of corruption, and a consequence of poorly paid and poorly audited professions, bribes are an unspoken business language in the service industry, in which some things will just never get done unless someone is “incentivized” to take action. Bribing bureaucrats, knowing the right people in the right places, works much like in Soviet-era Russia or Al Capone–era Chicago (…or certain modern-day North American countries that shall remain unnamed). Ghana is very much a society in which one sometimes feels the pressure to grease the wheels to make things happen. Some officials will simply refuse to do their jobs, or in fact deliberately give you a hard time (imagine having your car stopped for a random check, with the expectation that you might fold some bills into the pages of your license and registration), unless you––in the words of Jerry MacGuire––show them the money! Don’t be surprised to witness bribery or to feel pressured to produce a bribe during your stay. It is a practice so ingrained in everyday business that you don’t have a hope of changing it by yourself. It takes a nation and a cultural shift. And that’s all I’ll say about that.



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