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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.

United Nations Public Service Forum 2018 : Declaration of the Side Event on: “Transparency, Integrity and Anti-Corruption a Key Requirement for the Realization of Sustainable Development”

We,
Participants at the Side Event on “Transparency, Integrity and the Fight Against Corruption: A Key Requirement for Achieving Sustainable Development”, held on Friday 22 June 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco, as part of the Celebration of the International Day of the Public Service, Under the High Patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, in partnership and cooperation with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA); the African Union Specialized Technical Committee No. 8 on Public Service, Local Authorities, Urban Development and Decentralization;, Islamic Educational, Scientific and

Cultural Organization (ISESCO); the Ministry in charge of the Reform of the Administration and Public Service of the Kingdom of Morocco; United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and its African Academy Territorial Communities (ALGA);

Stressing the importance of the commitment of the Heads of State and Government of Africa on the occasion of the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting in favor of the Rule of Law, an essential condition for the prevention and repression of corruption;

Inspired by the noble collective ideals expressed by the African Union Agenda 2063 for an Africa free of corruption, where good democratic and participative governance reigns, as well as respect for human rights;

Conscious of the negative impact of corruption and its harmful effects on both human development; economic growth; competitiveness; the functioning, image and reputation of the democratic institutions; , which are essential for the stability of national and local institutions and the establishment of social justice;

Knowing that the Member States of the African Union proclaimed July 11th of each year, “African day of fight against corruption” and dedicated 2018 African Year for the fight against corruption with as theme “Overcoming corruption: a sustainable path for the development of Africa “;

Adhering to the standards of good governance provided for by African and international instruments concerning the fight against corruption, the promotion of transparency and integrity, in particular, through the various protocols and charters of the African Union concerning the fight against corruption, public service promotion and decentralization; the United Nations Convention against Corruption; and the strategies developed by African Union member states to ensure that corrupt practices do not undermine the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals;

Welcoming the efforts of the Member States of the African Union in the implementation of these instruments and the will of the Heads of State and Government to respect commitments concerning the prevention and the fight against corruption as well as the promotion of transparency and integrity in territorial governance;

Recalling that around 65% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) need to be implemented at the level of cities and territories, which requires a strong commitment by States and the international community to the application of the principle of subsidiarity and the recognition of the essential role of local and regional governments in effectively ensuring the achievement of the SDGs on the ground;

Convinced of the need to act now, first and foremost at the level of cities and territories, to promote the advent of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, ensure access to justice for all and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels;

Request:

1- Local and regional governments to:

i) Commit resolutely to promote transparency and integrity in the governance of cities and territories by adopting, among other things, a charter of commitment to service delivery to the citizens to which the different departments of the territorial administration must subscribe, and that shall define clearly the steps, costs and deadlines for providing the various services to the population; this charter of commitment must be widely publicized;

ii) Work towards the consolidation of participatory democracy through the implementation of innovative approaches to involving the population in the definition and implementation of local public action priorities, such as the participatory budget;

iii) Establish strict compliance with the rules of transparency in local public procurement and the application of contractual clauses, and implement exemplary sanctions in the event of lack and incentives for compliance;

iv) To submit the administrative and financial management of cities and territories to regular audits, the results of which are made public in order to develop the culture of accountability;

v) Promote and develop a system of observation and watch on the monitoring and evaluation of local public policies and corrupt practices, mobilizing the university and research community and civil society organizations;

vi) Launch public campaigns to promote transparency and integrity in the governance of cities and territories with the support of the media highlighting the dangers of corruption and mismanagement of public affairs and its negative impact on the promotion of values of effort and equity especially with young people.

2- National governments to:

i) Promote and establish an institutional and legal enabling environment for effective decentralization that recognizes the administrative and financial autonomy and decision-making of the governance and administrative bodies of cities and territories; and which ensures a balance between the competences that cities and territories must assume and the human and financial resources needed for their implementation;

ii) Develop attendance measures and support systems for local and regional governments to instill a culture of performance in the management of local public institutions and the provision of basic services to citizens;

iii) Define a strategy for the deployment and recruitment of quality human resources in the administrations of cities and territories, and for strengthening their capacities, relying in particular on the African Academy of Local Authorities (ALGA) established by United Cities and Local Governments of Africa;

iv) Monitor the quality of governance in local institutions, crack down on identified corruption and establish accountability practices;

v) Protect whistleblowers on corruption issues through legislation and relentlessly prosecute alleged bribery offenders;

vi) Ensure the integrity and transparency of local elections;

vii) Respect the commitments defining the rules relating to the practice of freedom of press and information and the freedom of publication and printing, including in the audiovisual and electronic media, and in the matter of freedom of expression of research and investigation as well as detection of corruption and embezzlement of public funds;

viii) Support the media to help spread the culture of good governance;

ix) Stimulate education to the culture of citizenship, equality, justice and good governance.

3. To the United Nations and the International Community as a whole:

i) Support the efforts of States and local governments in promoting transparency and integrity in governance of public affairs;

ii) Promote the exchange of anti-corruption experiences and set up an international platform identifying methods and tools to fight against corruption and promote transparency and integrity in the management of public affairs, accessible to all national, regional and local governments;

iii) Propose an international award for the most transparent cities and territories to foster a culture of exemplarity and identify role models that can inspire more responsible behavior towards the people in the management of public affairs.

Thank

– The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco through its Ministry of the Reform of the Administration and the Public Service for having given its agreement and for all the facilities contributed to the organization of this side event;

– The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA); the Specialized Technical Committee No. 8 of the African Union on Civil

Service, Local Communities, Urban Development and Decentralization; Islamic Organization for the Education, Science and Culture (ISESCO); United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and its African Academy of Territorial Communities (ALGA) for their cooperation and cooperation in the organization and animation of this side event.

Express

Our deep and infinite gratitude to His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, for his high patronage and his constant commitment to fight against corruption and to support all institutions that promote transparency and integrity in the management of public affairs not only in Morocco, but also in Africa and around the world.

Done in Marrakesh 22 June 2018

The Participants

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INTERVIEW: Professor Alioune Sall, President of the Foresight Group of Africities 7

“Local authorities can influence the future if they develop strategies to enhance the value of their resources”

Professor Alioune Sall, President of the foresight group that was established for the preparation of the Africities 7 summit, talks in this interview about the vision of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU) and the role of local authorities for achieving this Agenda. The Professor Sall is also Executive Director of the African Future Institute (Institute specialized in Foresight).

 

Vision 2063 Agenda of the African Union

“Agenda 2063 belongs to a stance towards the future.It offers a courageous analysis of the situation in Africa.This is not a simple thing because Africa is a contradictory set in which there are positive elements of trends that are changing under the influence of change germs, but a set in which we also see the persistence of a negative trend.Agenda 2063 is clear on both these negative trends and on these seeds of change that have a positive potential.Agenda 2063 is also a certain stance that is well assumed;this attitude towards the future consists in working to make what is desirable come true and in adopting a proactive attitude instead of after-the-fact attitudes that were simply aimed at helping Africa adjust to an external reality.Here we are dealing with a winning attitude of a possible future.The third positive element in Agenda 2063 is that beyond an analysis of what Africa is, the Agenda is characterized by concerns of an operational nature.

This document is an instrument to improve the planning and management of development in Africa and this is why the long-term vision with the 2063 horizon as a time horizon is going to be broken down into shorter horizons.The first section covering 10 years, this is where the commission of the African Union is standing in terms of operationalization of this vision.

There are three other elements that I deem important to consider when you want to understand the ambition of Agenda 2063.

First of all, this agenda was first developed by Africans and this feature, in my opinion, is part of a desire to reconquer intellectual sovereignty that had been somewhat lost for almost two decades.Economic policies for example have been dominated by a paradigm that was an outside one, the Structural adjustments one.

Another major feature is that there has been an effort to listen to Africans.An effort to listen both to those on the continent and those in the diaspora to understand what are their aspirations, what are their fears, and what could their contribution be.Thus the Agenda is built around seven major aspirations, the participatory nature being one of the conditions for it to have real ownership.

The 3rd feature is that this Agenda is built largely around the citizens.It is therefore an Afro-centric agenda. ”

 

Role of local authorities

“Local authorities may participate in the implementation of Agenda 2063 in many ways.First reflecting on their own evolution and evolutionary scenarios possible in the future.2063 is tomorrow, 2063 of the seeds are already in the current reality.Among those who will be there in 2063, some are already born.We must ask the question of how they can evolve in life.Embedding foresight in local government management approach is an important way to participate in building the future.The authorities should not simply wait until tomorrow comes.They could now make diagnoses that are more accurate and much richer than those established previously.The second contribution could be to make this diagnosis with the citizens themselves.Instead of having technocratic exercises made by the departments or decentralized local authorities or by consulting firms, one could imagine diagnoses made by the citizens themselves.This could be done in the languages spoken in the country, so that the information could be disseminated and better reach groups that are not reached so far by information.Many people do not speak foreign languages such as French and English.You should know that there is no good foresight without a good stock-taking exercise.The prospective analysis is conducted sometimes by some local communities but it is made on ad hoc basis.This foresight should become institutional so that it becomes something that is part of culture.This is a large-scale project that is open to local governments.Local authorities can influence the future if they develop strategies to enhance the value of their resources.”

 

African Future Institute

“We work in four directions.  First of all, we do a lot of advocacy for Africans to explain that foresight is not a luxury reserved for researchers who would get rid from the contingencies of everyday management.But it is a decision support tool. It is an instrument of power to the extent that it allows people to look the bigger picture.It is a means to ensure that decision-makers should not be victims of the tyranny of emergencies to be solved all the time.

Secondly, many African countries have launched studies on long-term prospects. All countries that have engaged in these studies are not equipped in the same way to conduct such an exercise.We help countries that wish so to develop their capacities to master the tools, methods, processes and philosophy of prospective studies.The third direction in which we are present are the publications.We have published a number of books on the future competitiveness of African economies.We published a book on alternative scenarios for Africa in 2025;we published a methodological guide on building the capacity of African professionals in the field of foresight.The fourth direction concerns the research on issues of strategic interest such as money problems and the issues of peace and security.Obviously there will be no development if instability reigns and if some parts of our territories are inaccessible.”