UN Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa Vera Songwe

UN Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa Vera Songwe has warned against the impact of corruption on Africa’s development.

According to an ECA’s report, “Measuring corruption in Africa, the international dimension matters”, there have been at least 1080 cases of trans-boundary corruption in Africa between 1995 and 2014, 99.5 per cent of which involved non-African companies and were mostly related to fiscal evasion issues.

Speaking in the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), Nouakchott, Mauritania Songwe said, experts fear that corruption could be having even higher costs at the less visible social level and on women.

“Corruption in public services also affects the quality of social services. In the poorest countries, half of the people pay bribes to access basic services such as education, health or water and affects more than 60 per cent of public procurement in Africa and increases the cost of contracts by 20 to 30 per cent.

She said, we need to be aware that Africa will not be able to seize the transformation opportunities highlighted by regional and global development frameworks if this problem persists.

In Africa, public expenses, women’s rights, the energy sector and intellectual property rights are among the areas suffering from the most worrying consequences, within countries, there is also a growing need to take into account corruption between countries and regions.

“As we work towards the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), we must ensure that there is less trans boundary corruption within Africa”, Ms Songwe added, hoping that “by the time we get to Agenda 2030 and certainly Agenda 2063, corruption will no longer be Africa ’s cancer”.