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Zambia: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

With a focus on the justice sector, grievance mechanisms in the public sector, and gender and corruption

Zambia faces significant corruption challenges; public procurement and the justice sector are especially affected. A progressively authoritarian regime has resulted in increasing political violence against the opposition and government critics. With the onset of COVID-19, there are fears that, in a bid for survival, the ruling party may find ways of personal enrichment at the expense of public welfare. Women face significant barriers to political participation, and their experiences with corruption are notably different in some/ a number of cases. The Office of the Public Protector has emerged as an ombudsman authority in recent years.

11 November 2020
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Zambia: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Main points

  • Corruption remains a problem in the Zambian context, with government officials frequently engaging in corrupt acts with impunity.
  • Political corruption and undue influence stand out as major forms of corruption.
  • The judiciary is influenced by the executive, and its reputation is marred by allegations of corruption.
  • Applying a gender dimension to experiences of bribery show that, while women are less frequently asked than men to pay bribes, they are more likely to raise their voices against it. Women are also more affected than men when it comes to the growing phenomenon of "sextortion" where sex is used as an informal currency in exchange for favours and economic opportunities.
  • The Office of the Public Protector acts as a centralised grievance mechanism for all citizens.

Cite this publication

Rahman, K.; (2020) Zambia: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2020:26)

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About the author

Kaunain Rahman

Kaunain received her Master's in Corruption and Governance from The Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex in the UK where her focus area of research was corruption in international business. She works as Research Coordinator at Transparency International (TI), and her main responsibilities lie with the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)