Transparency International [TI] has taken the fight against corruption to the doorstep of the African Union [AU] as the continent commemorates “African Anti-Corruption Day”.
The event, marked on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, was meant to be an important opportunity to recognise both the progress made in the fight against corruption in Africa and the significant work still left to do.
It was also a key moment in a year that the African Union is dedicating to fighting corruption.
The impact of corruption on Africa’s economic development cannot be underestimated.
According to TI, Roughly 43 per cent of Africans live in poverty while over US$50 billion worth of stolen assets flow out of the continent every year.
That’s money that could be invested in jobs, social services and infrastructure.
To strengthen the fight against corruption, the international anti-corruption organisation has written an open letter to the AU with a series of urgent recommendations.
It said that fighting corruption should extend beyond any single slogan, day or year, rather, should take long-term commitment and serious political will.
TI urged African leaders put its right foot down to root out corruption at every opportunity.
HOW TO WIN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN AFRICA
To marks African Anti-Corruption Day, AU designated 2018 as the year for “winning the fight against corruption”.
The Union said it is committed to fighting this problem; it signed several treaties aimed at ensuring democracy, rule of law and good governance. But much more needs to be done.
A communique, issued by Transparency International at the end of the event, reads in part:
“Corruption continues to harm Africa, hampering democracy, development and the ability to bring people out of poverty.
“The continent ranks lowest amongst global regions in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), our ranking of 180 countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption.
“Countries in Africa average 32 out of 100 in their CPI scores, and six out of the bottom ten countries are African.”
The report outlined key points in the fight against corruption viz:
- THE IMPACT OF CORRUPTION
It lamented that widespread lack of development – from Zimbabwe to Libya – is reinforced by extensive corruption schemes, which scare off investors and discourage further development.
It added that misappropriated funds account for a 25 per cent loss of development resources in Africa.
- FROM SLOGANS TO ACTIONS
Transparency International identified some encumbrances in the fight against corruption, saying:
- Financial support – Funding must match commitments to help strengthen existing anti-corruption systems and support civil society.
- Treaty ratification – The countries that haven’t done so must ratify the AU Convention to Prevent and Combat Corruption, a shared roadmap implementing governance and anti-corruption policies.
- Internal investigation – Recent allegations of corruption within the AU Advisory Board on Corruption and throughout various departments of the AU should be investigated and any wrongdoers should be punished.
- Open contracting
- Stolen assets
- Shell companies, etc.
Download the Letter to the African Union on African Anti-Corruption Day here.