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“Africa loses $148 billion to corruption every year. Just think of how many continents you could light up with that amount,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, said Wednesday. He was speaking at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on December 9, 2015 in commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day under the theme Break the Corruption Chain.
Adesina noted that it would cost $55 billion a year to light up and power Africa, and that this money was available given the continent’s $82 trillion in undiscovered resources. But, because of corruption, the continent still lives in darkness. “The cost of corruption is massive; it turns the whole continent into darkness. Because of corruption, Africa is known more for its darkness than light. It is important to understand the negative impact of corruption on the continent,” Adesina said.
The Bank President pointed out that tens of millions of Africans still study without proper light, 700 million Africans are without access to clean cooking energy, and 600,000 people – 50 percent of them women – die every year due to a lack of access to clean cooking energy. “That is an indication of government failure,” he stated.
Adesina called for strengthening of institutions to address corruption and he warned that stern measures must be taken: “If there is no consequence for bad behaviour, bad behaviour will continue on and on.”
Whistle-blowing policies were cited as an important measure in combating corruption, while at the same time guaranteeing protection for whistle blowers. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, protection of whistle blowers from retaliation for reporting suspected corruption activities is integral to efforts to fight corruption, enhance accountability, safeguard integrity, and promote a clean business environment.
Taking action against corruption is believed to be crucial in achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end poverty.
“The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our plan to end poverty and ensure lives of dignity for all, recognizes the need to fight corruption in all its aspects and calls for significant reductions in illicit financial flows as well as for the recovery of stolen assets,” Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, said in his message for this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day.