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

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La trasparenza ai tempi del Coronavirus

La necessità di trasparenza e responsabilità va oltre gli stessi sistemi sanitari.

Em tempos como este, transparência é mais importante do que nunca

A necessidade de transparência e responsabilização vai muito além dos sistemas de saúde propriamente ditos.

Corrupción y coronavirus

Sin embargo, los brotes pandémicos como el que vivimos actualmente con el COVID-19, exponen las deficiencias de nuestros sistemas de salud, especialmente los potenciales riesgos y oportunidades de corrupción -la corrupción puede disminuir la capacidad de respuesta a la pandemia y privar de asistencia sanitaria a muchas comunidades.

En tiempos como este, la transparencia y la integridad importan más que nunca

Sin embargo, la necesidad de transparencia y rendición de cuentas va más allá de los propios sistemas de salud.

في أوقات كهذه نحتاج للشفافية أكثر مما مضى

لكن الحاجة إلى الشفافية والمساءلة تتجاوز فقط فرضها على الأنظمة الصحية.

In times like these, transparency matters more than ever

The need for transparency and accountability during the COVID-19 pandemic goes beyond health systems.

Corruption and the Coronavirus

As communities around the world face an unprecedented global health crisis with the rapid spread of the coronavirus or COVID19 pandemic, our governments’ first priority should be promoting our health and safety.

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