Corruption is a scourge that has to be beaten if Africa is to achieve its 2030 agenda for sustainable development, warned the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) deputy executive secretary, Giovani Biha.
Ms Biha said corruption is a vice that Africa can do without, suggesting African governments should do more to combat corruption, in particular ratify the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption and domesticate its provisions in national legislation, plans, programmes and policies. Only 37 member states have ratified the AU Convention.
Adequate organisational, human, technical and financial resources for anti-corruption institutions, she said, should be allocated to ensure that laws are effectively enforced.
“There’s also need to increase the participation of women in political and public life. As underscored by the Beijing Platform for Action, this is critical to place new items on the political agenda that reflect and address women’s gender-specific concerns,” Ms Biha added.
She was supported by the African Union Commission’s social affairs commissioner, Amira Eldadil, who told delegates there would be less corruption in the world if more women were allowed to participate in politics.
The African Union, she said, was doing all it could to help fight corruption on the continent and continues to advocate for gender sensitive policies in member states.
Ms Biha added: “In this fight we need to be cognisant of the differing impacts that corruption has on different population groups, including women and men, when formulating, implementing and monitoring anti-corruption initiatives.”
Sociocultural norms and institutional arrangements, said Ms Biha, are key factors that shape the roles that males and females are expected to play in society, as well as their ability to access productive resources, accumulate marketable skills and participate in political and public life. As a result, she added, corruption impacts men and women differently.