Corruption 'rising in West Africa'

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Crippling poverty and rising corruption are feeding growing public frustration with West Africa's political leadership, a United Nations envoy said.

Efforts by military rulers to hand power back to civilians in both Guinea and Niger offer the best chance of progress in the region, which is rich in minerals but notorious for coups and rebellions, added Said Djinnit.

"There are governments trying, struggling to improve governance and the wellbeing of the people, and this has been a source of hope for me," said Mr Djinnit, the UN special representative to West Africa.

"On the other hand, we see poverty is still with the region, the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger and the sense of frustration that governments are not up to the challenges ... is growing."