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The African Anti-Corruption Dialogue has concluded with recommendations to Member States of the African Union and stakeholders on tightening the noose on corruption. The meeting convened by the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption is a major annual platform that formulates recommendations and strategies to strengthen the fight against corruption in Africa. The outcomes are submitted to policy organs of the African Union and relevant stakeholders for adoption and implementation.
With a rich participation drawn from representatives of African Union Member States, National Anti-Corruption Agencies, Judiciaries, Investigative and Prosecutorial bodies, Civil Society, Academia, development partners and other actors including the citizenry, the 2020 African Anti-Corruption Dialogue focused on “Fighting Corruption through Effective and Efficient Judicial Systems.” Cognisant that effective justice systems are crucial in the fight against corruption, and concerns on the gravity of corruption especially when it permeates justice and accountability mechanisms, the three-day meeting reflected deeply on the state of anti-corruption on the continent and identified the challenges and constraints that exist in the anti-corruption chain while learning from the best practices in order to recommend effective ways for stronger collaboration.
The Dialogue made proposals that judicial systems and governments should implement to effectively address the scourge of corruption at the national, regional and on the continental levels. The recommendations spell out the need to among others, institutionalise zero tolerance policies on corruption in the governance structures including recruitment of expert personnel; remove immunity from prosecution provisions to instil integrity, accountability and transparency within the public and private sectors; the protection of whistle-blowers; employing technology in expediting tracking of illicit financial flows, reporting of crimes, extradition of persons contravening the anti-corruption act and case management processes. The meeting also underlined the need for the AU Advisory Board on Corruption to popularize experience sharing, and multi-agency inclusive learning among the AU member countries in the strategies aimed at combating and eventually eliminating corruption from the African continent. The Board’s advocacy for the Universal ratification of the Convention and role to assist AU Member States that have ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption to develop strategies and instruments to support the full implementation of the Convention. As at November 2020, 44 African Union Member States have ratified the African Union Convention. Another 25 Member States have committed to implement domestic reforms to strengthen anti-corruption measures.
In deliberations with the National Anti-Corruption Agencies, the dialogue acknowledged Non-state actors as an essential link in the effective and efficient fight against corruption in Africa and rallied to enhance the framework for consultation, information exchange and the development of joint working strategies with civil society organizations. In this regard, the meeting identified the need to develop national anti-corruption networks to facilitate more active engagement with Non-state actors to work closely with the AU Advisory Board on Corruption in the fight against corruption in African countries. Watch the session on the Non-State Actors here.
The Dialogue also provided a platform for engagement and reflections on current challenges around transparency and accountability in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has enabled avenues for fraud and misuse of resources in blatant disregard of accountability measures in the management of funds allocated for the prevention and containment of the pandemic. Participants deliberated and made policy recommendations on practical actions that address existing and emerging challenges and the role of national justice systems in promoting the anti-corruption agenda. The meeting observed that Africa has an advantage in dealing with the COVID-19 given its experience in managing previous pandemics such as the Ebola outbreak. The meeting underscored the need for inter-agency collaboration and multi-stakeholder engagement in exposing and combating corruption. It also called for the creation of a strong procurement system by enforcing strict record taking and establishment of an e-procurement portal in times of health crisis/pandemics such as coronavirus. Watch the session here.
Also read the Annual Anti-Corruption Dialogue kicks off with focus on judicial systems.
The convening of the annual dialogue promotes the aspirations of the African Union's Agenda 2063, particularly Aspiration 3 which advocates for an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law”. Judicial institutions are a pillar of democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights. As such, they have an essential and fundamental role to play in the fight against corruption.
Learn more about the African Anti-Corruption Dialogue 2020.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union (AU).