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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Overview of corruption

Focus on patronage systems, vulnerable groups and contributions of international actors in anti corruption

The power sharing system which was designed to guarantee fair ethnic representation in governance, often results in “severe partisan gridlock” amongst nationalist leaders from BiH’s Bosniak, Serb and Croat communities. What enables the governing parties to rule over a deeply entrenched patronage system is their grip over administrative resources, particularly employment in public administration and state-owned enterprises. There is widespread discrimination against certain vulnerable groups, which can increase their exposure to corruption risks. Efforts towards constitutional reform to address discrimination have failed. Corruption is systemic.

4 November 2021
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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Overview of corruption

Main points

  • Corruption remains systemic in the BiH context.
  • Patronage systems involve various forms of corruption including but not limited to petty, political and grand corruption.
  • Elite actors benefit from the status quo and have “little incentive to reform the system”.
  • The most vulnerable groups susceptible to social exclusion and poverty in BiH include returnees and internally displaced people (IDPs), persons living in distant rural areas, Roma, youth, women, victims of gender-based violence, elderly, those living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and people with disabilities.
  • International actors have myriad anti-corruption projects ongoing in BiH.

Cite this publication

Rahman, K.; (2021) Bosnia and Herzegovina: Overview of corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2021:20)

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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)