The fight against corruption in Africa has been slow and arduous. So, when the African Union marked the first African Anti-Corruption Day on 11 July 2017, declaring its commitment to fighting corruption, it is no surprise that not many were excited about the declaration. Linus Unah looks at the attempts by various countries to combat corruption to figure out if these governments are serious.
Africa, with its estimated population of about 1,263 billion, or 16,41% of the global population, is one of the most corrupt places in the world. Corruption has been identified as the continent’s greatest impediment to development. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, an institution that aims to promote good leadership and governance in Africa, has stated that corruption costs Africa more than USD148 billion per annum. This is equivalent to 50% of the continent’s tax revenue and 25% of its gross domestic product (GDP). Experts have argued that even though it might not be possible to completely eradicate corruption from society, it can be reduced to the barest minimum.
In 2015, the African Union’s high-level panel on illicit financial flows (IFFs) estimated that over the last 50 years, Africa has lost in excess of USD1 trillion in IFFs. Annually, the continent loses USD50 billion through IFFs – this is roughly double the official development assistance (ODA) that Africa receives every year.
“If Africa fails to stop corruption, corruption is most likely going to stop Africa,” wrote Professor Akin Oyebode, a professor of International Law and Jurisprudence at the University of Lagos in an article for the Journal of Political Reform and Economic Recovery in Nigeria in 2001.
However, efforts to combat corruption globally have been on the rise in recent times. According to experts, this could be tied to the fact that corruption has drastically slowed world economic development, especially in poorer countries. In order to achieve its own sustainable development, the continent has finally joined the fight.