Interview on the Theme of the Year 2018 Addressed to Hon Bégoto MIAROM Chairperson of the AU Advisory Board on Corruption, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”,

Dates: 
January 30, 2018

Interview on the Theme of the Year 2018 Addressed to Hon Bégoto MIAROM Chairperson of the AU Advisory Board on Corruption, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”,

INTERVIEW ON THE THEME OF THE YEAR 2018
Addressed to Hon Bégoto MIAROM
Chairperson of the AU Advisory Board on Corruption,
“Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”,

1. What are the major activities of AUABC?
The main mandate of the Board is to promote and encourage the adoption of measures and actions by State Parties to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption and related offences in Africa as well as to follow-up on the application of those measures and submit a report to the Executive Council on a regular basis on the progress made by each State Party in complying with the provisions of the Convention. The specific functions of the Board are to:
• Promote and encourage adoption and application of anti-corruption measures on the continent;
• Collect and document information on the nature and scope of corruption and related offences in Africa;
• Develop methodologies for analyzing the nature and extent of corruption in Africa, and disseminate information and sensitize the public on the negative effects of corruption and related offences;
• Advise governments on how to deal with the scourge of corruption and related offences in their domestic jurisdictions;
• Collect information and analyze the conduct and behavior of multi-national corporations operating in Africa and disseminate such information to national authorities
• Develop and promote the adoption of harmonized codes of conduct of public officials;
Build partnerships with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African civil Society, governmental, Intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to facilitate dialogue in the fight against corruption and related offences;
• Submit a report to Executive Council on a regular basis on the progress made by each State Party in complying with the provisions of this Convention;
• Perform any other task relating to corruption and related offences that may be assigned to it by the policy organs of the African Union.

2. Why has the African Heads of State and Government chosen the fight against corruption as theme for the year 2018?
Fifteen (15) years after the adoption of the African Union Convention, 2018 provides a good opportunity to take stock on progress made so far, assess what still needs to be done and devise new strategies that appropriately address new corruption challenges.

3. What explains the adoption of this theme only now when corruption has been a flaw in the society ever since with terrible effect on the lives of the African Citizens?
Corruption has many dimensions and effects. The AU has been addressing some of these dimensions in its previous themes. For example, corruption and bad governance affects young people of Africa the most. During the commemoration of 2017 as the Year of Harnessing the Demographic Dividend of the Youth, the AU addressed the challenges that young people face as a result of corruption and the lack of accountability. Also, corruption is a violation of human rights and in 2016, the AU dedicated the theme of the year to human rights during which we examined the relationship between corruption and human rights.

4. Corruption is one of the chronic problem of the continent Africa. How can the African Union reduce, prevent, and control such problem?
The AU’s primary role is to establish norms, coordinate united responses to challenges and to oversee the implementation of norms. In delivering its mandate, it works closely with regional economic communities while member states have the final responsibility for implementation.
With respect to norm setting, the AU has adopted a number of instruments on corruption and accountability most notably the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), the African Charter on the Values and Principles of the Public Service and Administration (2011) and the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization; local governance and local development (2014).
Through the Advisory Board on Corruption, the AU also works with Member States to ensure that the Convention is implemented. Finally, the level of enforcement, the AU also adopted the Malabo Protocol which will expand the jurisdiction of the African Court to be able to try international crimes including corruption. When this Protocol comes into force, the AU will be able to prosecute individuals who perpetrate corruption.

5. Many scholar agree that political commitment of the leaders is the prime solution to combat corruption. How can we boost and bring such commitment all over the continent?
The first level involves knowledge generation and transfer. The more we know about the effects of corruption, the more likely we are to understand its effects as well as to develop approaches to combat corruption.
The second level involves developing and strengthening accountability mechanisms and structures. Sometimes when political will is minimal, accountability mechanisms such as parliaments and civil society can push for the adoption of anti-corruption measures.

6. What role can the African Union play to eradicate the devastating effect of Corruption in Africa?
As we have said, the African Union will coordinate the efforts of States by providing them with an adequate legal framework, proposing mechanisms, strategies and involving all stakeholders in the fight (civil society, private sector, media) .

7. AU adopted a convention to curb corruption in the continent 15 years ago. Has there been any change since the adoption of this convention?
There has been significant progress noted especially with respect to adoption of legislative measures as many states have laws that provide for corruption and related offences. Many states have also established national anti-corruption agencies and have strengthened them to ensure that they are able to prevent corruption as well as combat corruption. We are also seeing greater attention being paid to issues such as the declaration of assets by public leaders as well as well as enhanced transparency in contracting.

8. Is there any integrated effort and results in the fight against corruption in Africa?
There have been several efforts to partner with parliamentarians, civil society and financial institutions in the fight against corruption. Parliamentarians can work with anti-corruption bodies and carry out their oversight role by ensuring that public finances are adequately utilized. Civil society can use their networks to amplify incidents of corruption or engage in educational campaigns to promote values of transparency and accountability across society. Financial institutions including banks and national audit agencies have a role to play in implementing anti-corruption measures such as ensuring they know their customer and tracking and reporting suspicious transactions. Corruption is a cross-cutting issue that requires integrated approaches in solving the challenge.

9. What decisions will African Citizens expect from the 30th session of the heads of the state with regard to the theme on Corruption?
At the political level we expect them to commit to universal ratification of the African Union Convention by the end of 2018 and that a common position be reached on illicit financial flows and repatriation of assets abroad.

10. What is your message to the world regarding the complexity and the need to combat Corruption?
Failing to address corruption inhibits sustainable long term growth and undermines human development. It is the poor who suffer the most from corruption. Unequal power and gender dynamics make women and girls more vulnerable to corruption’s impact. The Mbeki Panel Report on Illicit Financial Flows for example highlighted the fact that lack of transparency leads to losses of $ 50 billion annual for Africa. In light of the grave challenges that Africa faces, there is no better time to fight corruption than now.

For inquiries, contact:

Esther Azaa Tankou | Head of Information Division | Tel: (251) 911361185 | E-mail: yamboue@africa-union.org

For further information:
Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@african-union.org I Web Site: www.au.int I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia
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