The appointment of President Muhammadu Buhari to champion the fight against corruption on the continent was not accidental, the African Union (AU) Chairperson, Mr. Mousa Faki, has explained.
Commending President Buhari for galvanising African countries against corruption, Faki said various countries had embarked on the battle earnestly.
The AU boss spoke in New York at the African Union High Level Dialogue on winning the war against corruption: leveraging International Cooperation to achieve Sustainable Development in Africa.
He said that African Union was committed to defeating corruption and illicit financial flow on the continent
Faki described corruption as a cancer that had eaten deep into the fabric of the continent and that must be dealt with mercilessly
He noted with concern that corruption and illicit financial flow had hindered investment and deterred the growth of the continent.
“Corruption in all dimension discourages investment flow, create inequality, escalate poverty and increase public expenditure,” he said.
The President of Rwanda. Mr Paul Kagame, praised the leadership of Buhari in the fight against corruption stressing that the fight against corruption must be all inclusive.
Kagame who noted that the illicit financial flow had become a great concern said that African leaders were committed to the fight against corruption and tackling the illicit financial flow and would win the war.
Buhari, who was unanimously endorsed by the AU leaders in January to champion the war against corruption also said that he was committed to fighting and winning the war against corruption in Africa.
The theme for the 2018 annual summit of the organisation is “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.
Buhari commended the Africa leaders for the honour bestowed on him to champion the course of fighting corruption in Africa in 2018 and beyond.
The president urged African leaders to also remain committed to the fight against corruption to ensure rapid development of the continent.
According to him, Africa leaders have declared 2018 as the Africa year of combating corruption with the overriding theme on winning the war against corruption
“This aptly come at a time that Nigeria with its change agenda to overhaul, revitalise as well as to institutionalise the mechanism and machinery to fight against corruption.
“This is with a particular focus on illicit financial flow because the negative effect of illicit financial flow are massive and continue to impede the development of Africa
“Africa loses about 50 billion dollars to illicit financial flow annually,” he said.
He expressed concern that the continent was bedeviled with corruption of highest level that have its safe haven in advanced countries that are willing to harbor stolen fund from Africa
“Illicit financial flow out of the continent has become a major concern because of the scale of its negative effect on economic development and governance agenda.
“Some of the effects of corruption include draining of foreign exchange reserves, reduction of tax revenue collection, poor investment inflow and escalation of poverty,” he said.
He said that efforts were being made by the African leaders to checkmate the illicit financial flow from the continent
Buhari said that one of the measures necessary if Africa was to make headways in the fight was to bring in laws and regulations and policies that encourage transparent financial transactions.
He said that another measure was to ensure implementation of measure that will mitigate the incentive that facilitate the illegal outflow of fund from the continent.
He called on the leaders to organise African youth conferences against corruption in order to sanitise the youth in the fight against corruption
He also called for mobilisation of African Union member states to implement African union convention in combating corruption.
The president advocated the strengthening of the criminal justice system against corruption and the exchange of information sharing best practices in the fight against corruption. (NAN)