“Corruption is and remains a significant threat to democracy and democratic institutions, and poses a significant hindrance to African states in realising Agenda 2063.”
Transparency International has urged African leaders to ramp up their efforts in tackling corruption on the continent in line with meeting its Agenda 2063 goals.
Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, is notorious for endemic corruption, especially in high places. Criticisms have continued to trail President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to tame corruption in the country.
In an open letter to the leaders of the African Union (AU) on Monday, the anti-graft body reminded them of their anti-corruption commitments.
It urged additional measures, noting “with great concern that corruption is and remains a significant threat to democracy and democratic institutions, and poses a significant hindrance to African states in realising Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Transparency International asked “African states to address corruption in the delivery of basic services especially housing, water, sanitation, education, health, humanitarian responses and judicial systems.”
“Corruption in basic service delivery tends to mostly affect the poorest of citizens who depend on these public services, and particularly disadvantages persons living with disabilities, women and children,” the letter said.
The letter also noted the billions of dollars that leave Africa annually in illicit funds, money that could be ploughed into essential public services for its people, citing the “Economic Development in Africa Report 2020” by the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development.
The report stated that improving governance through the better control of corruption and effective enforcement of existing laws could largely reduce inefficiencies and could help raise an additional $110 billion per year, as $88.6 billion per year had been recorded as a total capital flight between 2013 and 2015.
The anti-graft body also urged leaders to accelerate strategies to combat illicit financial flows and roll out reforms such as “know your customer” requirements and an end to secretive company structures.
“This is a critical moment for the African region and its people. If corruption is not addressed urgently, it will block efforts to rebuild after the devastating pandemic and the region’s hopes of charting a path to a stronger future,” Rueben Lifuka, vice-chair of Transparency International, said. “Fairly and transparently managing large-scale COVID-19 recovery funds and preventing billions of dollars from illegally exiting the region through illicit means should be top issues for all leaders.”