A better way to bribe African leaders

Mo Ibrahim's good idea is to reward African heads of state that govern well with a $5 million prize upon retirement, and $200K annually for the rest of their lives. I agree that the prize should be bigger, but it seems to me like giving the reward after retirement is a little too far away to really change a potential despot's behavior. Just as there have been a number of studies showing that the severity of a punishment doesn't really affect a criminal's behavior, but the chance of being caught does affect his behavior, the prospect of a far-away reward doesn't really seem likely to motivate an African leader's behavior. I propose the following changes. First, set up a bank account for every African leader, that they can't touch until they retire. Then credit the account when they do well for their countries and debit their account when their countries slide further into corruption. The Ibrahim Prize Foundation produces the Ibrahim Index, a comprehensive measure of every sub-Saharan African country's quality of governance. I say if a leader raises his country's score on the Ibrahim Index by 1 point, he should get $500K. This way the leaders know right away that they're earning positive money, even though they can't touch it until after they leave. I think the eventual amount of money given away will be about the same. After all, if Ibrahim is giving away money, that means leaders are earning the prize and that's a good thing. Is that such a tough idea? It's a huge improvement on the way the prize is currently set up. If you give everyone a bank account their incentive to do good rises dramatically. A large reward far in the future is just that, too far in the future. Between now and then a leader might die, get deposed or earn substantial amounts of money for screwing over his country. This form of bribery is also extraordinarily cheap compared to everything else we're doing, like aid. One problem is that a leader with $0 in his account could just let his country slide dramatically. But that isn't worse than the current situation, and we just start paying him for improvement once he gets the country back to where it was when he started.

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