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Civil society has a key role to play in fighting corruption – from monitoring public services, denouncing bribery and raising awareness, to contributing to the implementation of international anti-corruption instruments such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The African Development Bank’s Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department (IACD) acknowledges the important role of civil society in the fight against corruption.
In line with its engagement with civil society organizations (CSOs), the AfDB organized a two-day workshop in Dakar, Senegal, on September 14 and 15 on the theme “Technological innovations to identify and reduce corruption – Challenges and opportunities for civil society”. The target audience included representatives from civil society organizations working in the area of transparency and accountability. Twenty-five participants from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Nigeria were in attendance.
The workshop forms part of a series of outreach programmes organized by IACD in collaboration with the Bank’s Quality Assurance and Results Department (ORQR). The goal: to explore new technologies used by civil society to enhance transparency and accountability and to provide a platform for learning and sharing information on new methods.
The workshop addressed a variety of topics, including: partnerships, data, developing a platform for fighting corruption, technology as a facilitator for public procurement monitoring, the role of technological entrepreneurship in the improvement in good governance and the experience of Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in reducing corruption through information and communication technology (ICT) tools in West Africa.
Presentations were made by representatives from well-known CSOs, including Ushahidi; Transparency International-Kenya; Convention for Business Integrity, Nigeria; and others. The meeting provided networking opportunities and cooperation among CSOs on the use of new technologies in the fight against corruption. The CSOs were also provided with information about the Bank’s engagement with CSO and its work in the prevention of fraud and corruption. .
Florence Dennis, Division Manager of the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department, reiterated the commitment of the Bank to work with CSOs and other key stakeholders in the fight against corruption on the continent.
In his welcome remarks, AfDB Resident Representative in Senegal, Mamadou Lamine Ndongo, enumerated the immense benefits that civil society organizations could reap in leveraging technological innovations in the prevention and investigation of corruption. “Africa has to take advantage of the benefits of the boon of technology,” he said.
At the end of the workshop, participants agreed that the use of the new technology has so far been able to enhance transparency in governance. More work needs to be done to utilize the opportunity that these new technologies provide to improve accountability within society.