How to win the fight against corruption in Africa

How to win the fight against corruption in Africa

Translations: FR  

Today marks African Anti-Corruption Day – an important opportunity to recognise both the progress made in the fight against corruption in Africa and the significant work still left to do. To highlight this point, the African Union (AU) designated 2018 as the year for “winning the fight against corruption”. The AU 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. 

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 impact of corruption

The impact of corruption cannot be underestimated. Roughly 43 per cent of Africans are living in poverty while over US$50 billion worth of stolen assets flow out of Africa every year. That’s money that could be used to invest in jobs and social services, where additional resources are needed most.

Widespread lack of development - from Zimbabwe to Libya - is reinforced by extensive corruption schemes, which scare off investors and discourage further development. Misappropriated funds account for a 25 per cent loss of development resources in Africa.

Individuals and families are also affected. In Sub-Saharan Africa one in two citizens reported paying a bribe for land services, like registering property and stopping their family homes from being taken away.

From slogans to actions

Transparency International welcomes the AU's commitments, but a great deal of action is still required to free Africa from corruption. Transparency International and our 28 African chapters wrote an open letter to the AU, which highlights seven key areas where the AU should focus its efforts:

  • 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.
  • Procurement. The AU should develop minimum standards and guidelines for ethical procurement and build strong procurement practice throughout the continent with training, monitoring and research.
  • Open contracting. Open contracting practices, which make data and documentation clearer and easier to analyse, should be adopted by all African countries.
  • Stolen assets. Governments should create and enforce laws that address the proceeds of corruption, crime and money laundering.
  • Shell companies. Private companies sometimes keep their owners’ names secret, allowing for criminal activities and dirty money to go untraced. AU countries should establish public registers that name these individuals and thoroughly vet bidders for public contracts.

Download the letter for a full list of recommendations.

Download the letter in French.

Image: U.S. Department of State

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Three priorities at the Open Government Partnership summit

This week, the Open Government Partnership is holding its 5th global summit in Tbilisi, Georgia. Transparency International is there in force, pushing for action in three key areas.

Civil society’s crucial role in sustainable development

Key players in the development community are meeting in New York for the main United Nations conference on sustainable development, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Transparency International is there to highlight how corruption obstructs development and report on how effectively countries are tackling this issue.

Comment gagner la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique

Aujourd’hui est la Journée africaine de lutte contre la corruption – une occasion opportunité pour reconnaitre le progrès dans la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique et le travail significatif qui reste encore à accomplir.

Increasing accountability and safeguarding billions in climate finance

In December 2015, governments from around the world came together to sign the Paris Agreement, agreeing to tackle climate change and keep global warming under two degrees centigrade. They committed to spend US$100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect themselves against the potentially devastating effects of climate change.

After Gürtel, what next for Spain’s struggle with political corruption?

At the start of June, the Spanish parliament voted to oust Prime Minister Rajoy after his political party was embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal in Spain’s democratic history. At this critical juncture in Spain’s struggle with political corruption, Transparency International urges all parties to join forces against impunity and support anti-corruption efforts in public life.

Risk of impunity increases with outcome of Portuguese-Angolan corruption trial

A verdict last week by the Lisbon Court of Appeals in the trial of former Angolan vice president Manuel Vicente has disappointed hopes for a triumph of legal due process over politics and impunity. It also has worrying implications for the independence of Portugal’s judiciary.

The UK just made it harder for the corrupt to hide their wealth offshore

If counted together, the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies would rank worst in the world for financial secrecy. Fortunately, this could soon change.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media