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Republic of Benin – chaos, corruption and development in telecommunications

Ewan Sutherland (Based at the LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.)


ISSN: 1463-6697

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of a country with severe problems in the telecommunications sector, including corruption and maladministration.


The paper presents a review of the legislation and regulatory decisions over the last decade, plus prosecutions in the USA for bribery in the country.


The paper reveals that, despite a decade of external efforts to encourage the use of information communication technology to boost development, very little progress has been made in terms of policy, legislation and regulation. No lessons appear to have been learned; the same mistakes could be repeated.

Research limitations/implications

Further case studies are required from West Africa to provide a more complete picture and to assess whether equally serious problems exist in the region.

Practical implications

There is a need for a review of the legislation both for telecommunications and for corruption, with considerable strengthening of institutions and proper democratic accountability.

Social implications

Citizens in this country have seen much greater access to mobile telephony, but in a haphazard way. There has been no regard for their interests (e.g. higher charges), nor consideration of how bribery, high licence fees and avoidance of customs duties affect them.


This is one of the few case studies of telecommunications in West Africa. It addresses issues of corruption, an issue seldom discussed.



Sutherland, E. (2011), "Republic of Benin – chaos, corruption and development in telecommunications", info, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 63-85.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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