By Jite Eriabie
As President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to make a presentation on corruption in Africa, report says the continent loses $148 billion a year to the scourge.
The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Vera Songwe, said on Thursday that the money was lost through various fraudulent activities,
Songwa addressed the 32nd ordinary session of the Executive Council of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa.
She said, “$148 billion are drained out of the continent through various corrupt activities, and the acts represent about 25 per cent of Africa’s average GDP.”
She said corruption is the major sources and elements of financial flows, which drains tremendous resources from the continent.
The continent loses between $50 billion and $80 billion a year due to illicit financial flows, said Songwe quoting a report of president Mbeki’s high-level panel on illicit financial flow (IFF)
For the continent that desperately requires substantial financial resources to meet its extensive development needs, including in filling its huge infrastructure gap, such a significant amount of financial resources leakage through IFF and various forms of corrupt practices is definitely something that needs to be fought with every energy that can be mustered, she added.
Songwe went on to say that Africa’s development has been in sharp decline over the past several years, and domestically generated resources are expected to play a more prominent role in Africa’s development, including in meeting the 2030 sustainable development goals and the aspirations embodied in Agenda 2063.
According to Songwe, Africa will register an average economic growth of 3.5 and 3.7 this year and next year amid high prevalence of poverty at about an average of 40 percent.
The ECA Executive Secretary also said the growth will be supported by more favourable domestic conditions, including the restoration of oil production in a number of countries and the expected recovery, in 2018 and 2019, of the economies of Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa, Africa’s three largest economies.
“However, adjusting for population growth, the projected economic growth remains inadequate for Africa to make significant progress towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs), in particular the eradication of poverty and hunger. Although the poverty level is reducing, it is still intolerably high at about an average of 40 percent for the continent,” she added.
Songwe spoke of the need to upscale efforts at structural reforms, for prudent economic management and promoting regional integration.
The foreign ministers are expected to deliberate on the different items, including the implementation of the Assembly Declaration including that on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM); the implementation Agenda 2063; the African Candidatures in the International System; the progress report on the International Criminal Court (ICC), among others.
High moments during the Executive Council meeting will feature the election and appointment of the 10 members of the Peace and Security Council; and that of one Member of the Advisory Board on Corruption; and the election of two members of the Pan-African University Council.
President Buhari will depart for Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on Friday to make presentation on anti-corruption.
The President, who was engaged by AU at the last session to present a road-map on anti-corruption in Africa, would speak on “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.
This is the first time in the 54-year history of the AU that anti-corruption will be made a theme of the gathering of the regional leaders.
On July 4, 2017 the 29th Session of the AU, African leaders unanimously endorsed Buhari to champion the fight against corruption on the continent.
The endorsement was in recognition of his personal commitment and widely acclaimed anti-graft drive at the domestic level.