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African student of music with the Balafon African student of music with the Balafon  (AFP or licensors)

Africa Day 2018: The AU commits to eradicating corruption

As Africa celebrates Africa Day on 25 May, the continent would do well to heed the message of Pope Francis: “Corruption is not countered with silence,”

Paul Samasumo – Vatican city.

Pope Francis says we must denounce corruption

In a widely distributed February 2018 video message, made with the participation of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Pope Francis addressed himself to the importance of fighting corruption. He said, the best way to fight corruption is not to remain silent, because that only strengthens criminal organisations.

 “Corruption is not countered with silence,” the Pope says in the video. “We must speak about it, denounce its evils, and try to understand it so as to show our resolve to make mercy reign over meanness, beauty over nothingness.”

This year’s Africa Day celebrations centre around the African Union (AU)’s theme of “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

The AU vows to fight corruption on the continent

In 2018, AU Member states decided to mark Africa Day, with a sober introspection on the corrosive effects of corruption on the continent.

According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, there is both bad news and some good news for Africa. The bad news is that though corruption is a global phenomenon, many fragile governments on the continent have serious challenges fighting the vice. The endemic conflicts on the continent do not help. Invariably the lowest-scoring countries on the Corruption Perception Index are often those where there is conflict or war. Such nations include Somalia and South Sudan. Nevertheless, Transparency International also observes that some countries, though not at war, have more serious challenges than others with corruption. Such countries include Liberia, Malawi and Guinea Bissau.

Corruption can be eradicated

The good news is that there are examples on the continent that show that corruption can be reduced drastically. This means there is hope for a cleaner continent. Transparency International, this year, listed several countries that consistently continued to push back against corruption, and with notable progress. These include Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal. The continent’s usual favourites for the Transparency International least corrupt countries are Botswana, Cabo Verde, Mauritius and in recent years, Rwanda. The secret? These countries have learned what works best in their communities and pursued these tactics with commitment.

The long and short of it all is that if corruption is not dealt with as a matter of priority in Africa, progress will elude Africa for a long time to come.

The continent celebrates cultural diversity

Apart from the AU driven theme, 25 May - Africa Day on the continent and for those in the diaspora, is also marked as a time to pray for the continent and highlight the diverse vibrancy of cultures, foods and traditions of the people of Africa.

25 May 2018, 12:57