The “African Anti-Corruption Day” was celebrated this week throughout the 55 African Union Member States. Initiated in 2017, it is now marked annually on 11 July.
The purpose of the day is to commemorate the adoption of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. AU Member States that have ratified the Convention are expected to implement national legislative and policy instruments aimed at combatting corruption. This week is therefore an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in the fight against corruption, and the significant work still left to do.
Corruption continues to have devastating effects throughout the African continent, greatly challenging democracy, development and attempts to support people out of poverty. $50bn is claimed to be lost through illicit financial flows out of Africa every year, undermining the rule of law and hurting everyday citizens, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. This is money that could be used to invest in jobs and social services including healthcare, education and infrastructure, where resources are needed the most.
While there is indeed a notable show of commitment to fighting the problem - 2018 is also declared the “Year for Combating Corruption” by AU Members - much more remains to be done. African Anti-Corruption Day is an important call to action to recognise the realities and responsibilities with regards to corruption.
The events that took place in Ghana to mark the day were based on the AU’s theme for 2018, “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”. The day focussed on engaging and informing as many citizens, especially youth, as possible. There was real emphasis on the Ghanaian values of integrity, discipline, honesty, patriotism and responsibility, in order to instill what is key in the fight against corruption.
Corruption remains one of Ghana’s biggest developmental challenges. Citizens, civil society, the media, private sector and the government must be united and continue to work together to build on the important steps already taken by the country’s leaders in the fight against corruption.