The recent commemoration of the Africa Anti-Corruption day brings to light the gains made in the fight against corruption through regional cooperation and interventions led by the continental body, the African Union (AU).
According to former United Nations’ Secretary General, the late Kofi Annan, around 160billion dollars flow into Africa each year, yet over 200billion dollars get lost through corruption. At home, Kenya is said to lose about two (2) billion shillings daily through corruption.
With this scenario, the AU adopted the African Union Convention on Prevention and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) which came into force on 5th August 2006. This convention prioritised the fight against corruption and compelled members to take action against corruption, which has caused poverty and untold suffering of African citizens living in a rich resource endowed continent. It led to formation of regional bodies, and institutionalized the anti- corruption agenda in African.
According to a Governance Educationist, Anne Kiprotich, by embracing and implementing the convention, Kenya, as a state party to the AUCPCC, has greatly benefited in her efforts to prevent and combat corruption. It is courtesy of these efforts that Kenya boasts of, among other achievements; an independent anti-graft body, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), a robust legal and institutional anti-corruption framework, a National Ethics and Anti-Corruption Policy, Multi –Agency and stakeholder collaborations and frameworks for addressing corruption. Key to this anti-corruption approach are an independent Judiciary, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and oversight bodies including the legislature.
Among the regional bodies fighting corruption is the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAAACA) which was launched in 2007. It brings together the anti-corruption authorities of eight countries in the East African region, namely; Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. EAAACA’s vision is to promote zero tolerance of corruption and encourage regional cooperation in preventing and combating corruption. Its overall objective is to promote regional cooperation, mutual legal and technical assistance in prevention of corruption within the region, information sharing, training and research.
The gains that are attributed to EAAACA include developing public awareness strategies, harmonization of anti-corruption laws, regional training programs and the establishment of Asset Recovery Inter Agency Network for Eastern Africa (ARIN-EA).
ARIN-EA is an informal network which aims at cooperation and promotion of informal exchange of information on individuals, assets and companies, at the regional and international level, within and beyond the territorial boundaries of Eastern Africa, in collaboration with relevant partners. This facilitates the effective tracing and recovery of proceeds of crime and deprives criminals of their illicit gains. The recovery of Kshs. 26.65Billions worth of public assets in Kenya since 2013, when the body was formed, is a testament of the net-worth of adoption of these strategies.
Due to the strong link between growth and governance, stamping out corruption in all its forms and manifestation should be among the top priorities in any African country grappling with the vice. Therefore, the AU anti-corruption agenda for Africa is to be lauded.