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Group of Eight: Dam the stream of foreign bribes to Africa

Greater political accountability in Africa will make aid more effective

Increased aid to Africa will be ineffective unless good governance, driven by political accountability and courage, is a pillar of the entire process.

“Rules, regulations and requirements are not enough,” said David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of Transparency International. “Good governance starts with political will – the courage, in countries both wealthy and poor, to stand in defiance of entrenched networks of patronage and practices that perpetuate corruption.”

The Group of Eight has an important role to fulfil. It can structure aid and develop strategies to support institutions of justice and oversight in recipient countries so that assistance reaches the people who need it most. And it must dam the stream of bribe money, from companies based in wealthier nations, that feeds big-ticket corruption in the developing world.

“The most serious cases of grand corruption afflicting Africa - especially in the communications, energy and defence sectors - often happen with the participation of professionals and agents in the West,” said John Githongo, Kenya’s former anti-corruption tsar. “The focus of the G-8 leaders on Africa is both timely and welcome.”

If the United Nations Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved, the global community must come down hard on corruption. Without good governance, the resources allotted to the fight against poverty will simply seep into the sand.

Only when rules and regulations are enforced, will real change happen. Enforcement means that countries of the G-8 prosecute companies found to have bribed abroad, and that African countries build up institutions capable of carrying out investigations, prosecutions and voicing opinions critical of the government. Then the poor of Africa will have a fighting chance.

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