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AfDB, partners urge companies to actively tackle corruption
Côte d’Ivoire has joined the Partnership on Illicit Finance. The announcement was delivered by Fiacre Adopo, Adviser to the Minister of Budget, who represented the Ivorian Government during a workshop on tackling corruption, illegal trade and other forms of illicit financial flows (IFF), hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The AfDB has reiterated during the two-day workshop in Abidjan the critical importance of cutting the channels of IFFs, a key to unlocking the continent’s development potential.
The workshop brought together some 70 financial intelligence experts and representatives from government, civil society organizations, regional anti-corruption agencies and the private sector, to discuss the extent of illicit financial flows in Africa and innovative ways to combat them.
“For the African Development Bank, illicit financial flows are a matter of major concern, because they divert resources away from priority sectors such as energy and power, agriculture, infrastructure, health, and education,” said AfDB Vice-President Alberic Kacou.
The AfDB reviewed the Bank’s Group Strategic Framework and Action Plan on the Prevention of Illicit Financial Flows in Africa (2016–2020), to ensure it adequately addresses the priorities of the continent in the fight against IFFs.
The Bank also engaged participants on some of its findings on illicit finances contained in a forthcoming report of the Bank’s African Natural Resource Center, on Illicit Trade in the natural resources sector.
“The illicit trade in Africa’s natural resources costs the continent billions of dollars and deprives African economies of millions of jobs every year. It is particularly damaging as it steals from the people of Africa the benefits that are supposed to arise out of natural resources management, and in essence robs entire countries of their wealth,” said ARNC Director Sheila Khama.
Participants also discussed a study on IFFs in West Africa, conducted in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the World Bank.
Liberia, Senegal and the USA presented their national action plans for the fight against IFFs, developed through the Partnership on Illicit Finance that has as members AfDB, the USA and many African countries.
The flagship event of the workshop was the official launch by AfDB and OECD of their joint “Anti-Bribery Policy and Compliance Guidance for African Companies”. This guidebook for companies in Africa informs and supports their anti-corruption initiatives.
“Bribery increases the cost of doing business: This is unsustainable for companies operating in Africa’s increasingly competitive and globalised markets,” said Patrick Moulette, Head of the Anti-Corruption Division at the OECD.
Engaging the private sector in combatting corruption is critical, also affirmed Anna Bossman, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Director at the AfDB. “Businesses are on the supply side of the corrupt act and therefore have a key role to play in improving corporate integrity and accountability, while promoting growth through an environment conducive to attracting foreign investment,” she said.