The Fight against Corruption in Africa: The Next Frontier

On May 25th, 2018, now known as Africa Day, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat warned that excessive corruption in Africa was undermining gains made by Africans; a statement, which reminds us that 2018 is the AU’s Anti-Corruption Year.

According to the latest Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, corruption is still thriving in Africa, with Sub-Saharan Africa identified as one of the worst performing regions in the world, with an average score of 32, coming just before Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

All will agree that corruption is a serious hindrance to development. Even with several African countries making important steps in terms of economic growth, this growth does not translate into concrete enhancements of living conditions for the population.

Knowing that illicit financial outflows account for an estimated $100 billion annually in Africa, it is clear that within a corruption rigged continent, development can never be fully attained.

Conscious of this situation, and convinced that the local level is the place where real change takes place, UCLG Africa has been steadily working to capacitate local authorities in terms of transparency and integrity.

“Leaders in Local Government for Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Africa”, is a project that focuses on the continued performance of local authorities with regards to accountability and transparency.

The “Kabarole Transparency and Integrity Initiative” is the pilot phase of the project, and looks at laws and practices at the local level that strengthens the integrity of the local authority.

The district of Kabarole in Uganda was selected thanks to its innovative approach in increasing citizens’ participation through leaders’ conferences and consultations. Mrs. Chantal Uwimana, former Transparency International-Africa Director, and currently working with UCLG Africa on this project, says, “we want to push for more transparency at the local level and we’ll start doing so by encouraging local governments to put out information proactively.”

Mrs. Uwimana believes that corruption occurs when things are hidden and/or cause confusion in the minds of citizens, who play a crucial role in the integrity and accountability process. “We want citizens to be in a position where they can ask why and proactively look for information despite the reluctance of the decision-makers.”

Watch the entire interview with Mrs. Chantal Uwimana

Fighting corruption is not solely about establishing transparency and integrity systems. It also requires a shift in the mindset of citizens and leaders alike, as paramount. Leaders need to understand that establishing transparent measures can only serve, rather than harm, them.