Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
This was one of the recommendations of the Africa Forum on Governance and Fighting Corruption held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 28 February to 2 March 2007,that attracted a host of heads of governments, intergovernmental organisations and civil society organisations.
The forum – the first of its kind — was co-hosted by the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Regional Economic Communities, the African Development Bank and the NEPAD Secretariat. The aim was to foster good governance and create a common understanding of tackling corruption.
“The importance of strengthening the integrity and independence of the judiciary and oversight bodies including parliaments, inspectors general, public protectors, auditor generals and public service commissions cannot be overemphasised in enhancing good governance and fighting corruption,” the four-page recommendation read.
The forum appealed to the global community to prevail upon those African governments that still undermine and interfere with the independence of the judiciary and with anti-corruption agencies, and to consider putting sanctions on them.
The leaders said that bad governance and corruption in African countries undermines social cohesion and values, erodes the social fabric of African societies and impacts most profoundly on the poor and on governance globally.
Call on leaders to lead by example “Bad governance and corruption impedes development, undermines democratic gains and corporate governance by lowering the faith of the corporate sector in government.
“We call upon the African leaders at all levels and in all sectors of society to lead by example the campaign against corruption by prioritising prevention strategies and by mobilising all sectors of civil societies including the private sector.
“The professionals, youth, women, trade unions, intellectuals, cultural workers, sportsmen and women, and faith-based organsations should launch a comprehensive attack on bad governance and corruption in all its manifestations,” the declaration read.
Delegates to the forum said that African countries have the ability to control the bad practices that have come to be perceived by the West as institutionalised in African states.
They added that Africa is responsible for its destiny and that of her peoples, and called on the media to inform, educate and expose corruption.
They urged Regional Economic Communities to support member states in improving governance and fighting corruption through harmonisation of legal instruments, facilitation of mutual support, training and law enforcement.
The forum asked African countries to prioritise the ratification of the African Union convention on preventing and combating corruption.
Delegates emphasised the need for improvement in the capacity of national legislatures to provide oversight, ensure accountability and establish appropriate laws to fight bad governance and corruption.
AU may set-up monitoring structure The forum ended with delegates adopting the Ekhuruleni declaration on fighting corruption to be presented at the next ordinary session of the African Union Heads of State and Government.
The adoption of the Ekhuruleni declaration will also be presented during the African Global Forum V which takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2 - 5 April 2007.
The African Union Ambassador Emile Ognimba told journalists that the African Union will consider forming a structure that will monitor corrupt practices at the continental level.
He said measures are in hand to ensure that a follow-up programme is put in place so that the fight against corruption in Africa becomes real and is achieved.
Answering a question on why the Western world has continued to accuse Africa of being the most corrupt continent, Ambassador Ognimba said corruption in Africa is the same as the global level.
’’Corruption does not belong to Africa but the whole world,’’ he added.
He said that the African Union’s role in the fight against corruption is to change the outside’s world perception of Africa.
German encouragement for Africa In an interview with journalists during the forum the German Government expressed satisfaction with Africa’s efforts in combating corruption.
Germany, which took over the G8 Presidency on 1 January, 2007, is keenly supporting African countries in tackling corruption.
Nele Meyer, governance advisor to the German Technical Cooperation Organisation (GTZ) cited the Southern Africa Development Community protocol, the African Union Convention and ECOWAS for some of the best practices adopted by African countries in addressing the dangers of corruption.
She commended the media as an important partner in fighting corruption in Africa.
GTZ in collaboration with NEPAD have organised workshops to assist African journalists in reporting effectively on matters affecting the continent. Source : NEPAD News, March 6, 2007