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Reflections, slogans alone will not help Africa move forward: panel

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The problem of corruption in Africa is a local one, but external factors sometimes factor into the complicated issue.

On the first day of the AfDB’s Annual Meetings in Kigali on May 19, the Accountability and Transparency panel asked Africa to undertake independent reflection to reinforce those values.  

Some participants remarked that “we must take into account the obstacles that will be placed in our way by those who will be tempted to line their own pockets”.

Upon reflection, contributors said that transparency must be addressed in terms of democracy and the institutions that are capable of countering corruption.  From now on, having an electoral mandate must be an obligation to declare assets, property, etc.  This should logically be accompanied by a change in mentality.  This comes at the time when the AfDB is inviting Africans to reflect during its meetings on “The Next 50 Years: The Africa We Want”.

These issues are fraught with challenges, especially how transparency procedures do not always reflect the reality on the ground. The term “accountability” for many participants implies “that we ourselves are transparent,” which means it is necessary for institutions to evolve with civil society and communities.

There is still hope that Africa is becoming more and more transparent, as the former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, declared during the discussion.  

“Reflections and slogans alone will not help with development in Africa,” Mogae said. “Countries must take up their responsibility to fight corruption. This also relates to democracy.”

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