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Transparency International urges African leaders to sign and ratify AU and UN Anti-Corruption Conventions

Effective implementation of the AU and UN conventions is a necessary step towards realising the goals of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), says TI

As African heads of state and government begin their two-day summit in Syrte, Libya on 27 February, Transparency International, the leading international non-governmental organisation dedicated to fighting corruption worldwide, calls on African leaders to sign, ratify and begin putting in place structures that would allow for effective implementation of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

"Key provisions of the AU and UN Conventions cover Access to Information, Political Party Financing, Asset Recovery and Money Laundering, elements that are essential in the fight against corruption," says Muzong Kodi, TI Director for Africa and the Middle East. "By adopting the AU Convention, African leaders clearly demonstrated their commitment to NEPAD. But without the instruments being ratified and implemented, this commitment will come to nothing. That is why we are urging African leaders to take advantage of the window of opportunity created by the Syrte Summit and live up to their commitments."

The AU Convention was adopted in July 2003 and the UN Convention in December 2003. The backing of these instruments by African leaders is a strong signal of their recognition of the harmful effects corruption has on national economies. This support is even more significant against the backdrop of the bold decision by African leaders to adopt and initiate the Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as part of the monitoring process of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

An overwhelming majority of AU member states have yet to sign or ratify the UN and AU Conventions, even though the implementation of these instruments at the national level is a key governance indicator reviewed in the APRM process.

As of the end of January 2004, only 21 countries (Algeria, Benin, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) had signed the AU Convention, and none had ratified it. The instrument requires 15 ratifications for its entry into force. Most African countries have indeed signed the UN convention but 30 ratifications are needed before it can come into force.

Note to editors: For more on the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the UN Convention against Corruption, see TI's Global Corruption Report 2004, to be published on 25 March 2004. See details at: www.transparency.org.


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