Corruption and International Trade: An Empirical Investigation of African Countries


  • We are grateful to two anonymous referees for valuable comments on the earlier draft of the article. The views expressed in this article are ours and we take responsibility for any errors.


This paper attempts to estimate the effect of corruption on the flows of exports and imports of African countries. Using the gravity model approach and annual data for the period 1998–2007, we obtain negative and statistically significant correlations between the values of exports and imports and the levels of corruption in Africa and trading partners. Thus the results support the view that corruption adversely affects international trade. Our estimates suggest that if a country with Africa’s average corruption perception index of 2.8 were to improve its corruption level to Botswana’s 5.9, its exports would improve by about 15 per cent and imports by about 27 per cent.