Policymakers and experts who have gathered for a 4-day anti-graft training organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are urging East African countries to reinforce anti-corruption institutions and efforts.
Representatives of national anti-corruption institutions from the region gathered in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa from Nov. 13 to 16 to expedite the implementation of various regional and international normative instruments on democracy and good-governance as an imputes to attain sustainable peace and security in the region.
According to Legawork Assefa, IGAD’s Director of Peace and Security Division, strengthening the capacity of anti-corruption institutions is vital so as “to implement and carry out the responsibilities entrusted unto these institutions by the IGAD citizens.”
“We need strong anti-corruption institutions to act as watchdogs to contribute to the current efforts by IGAD and the African Union (AU) by implementing the regional and continental efforts for Africa not to lag behind in development and to be more transparent, effective and reliable,” Assefa said.
The gathering is part of a re-commitment to the Declaration of the year 2018 as “Africa’s Anti-Corruption Year” that was approved by African leaders during the 30th AU assembly of heads of state and government in Jan. 2018 in Addis Ababa, according to IGAD.
Salah Hammad, Head of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) Secretariat under the AU, also reiterated the need to fight corruption collectively and in an organized manner.
If the continent failed to fight corruption collectively, “Africa will not improve or develop for it affects economies and the social fabric,” Hammad said.
“The African Union supports and commends efforts by IGAD and other regional economic communities to fight corruption at regional level complimented with AU instruments for successful implementation,” he added.
Participants of the training are expected to discuss on background to corruption, and the familiarization of regional, continental and global conventions on anti-corruption, according to IGAD.
They are also expected to design campaign strategies for anti-corruption interventions, discuss on factors that contribute to the success and failure of anti-corruption initiatives in the region.
IGAD, through its Peace and Security Division, endeavors in the promotion of democracy, good-governance, election and human rights. The initiative, among other things, aspires to reinforce the capacity of member states’ democratic institutions.
The declaration of 2018 as an anti-corruption year by the AU calls AU organs, member states, regional economic communities, civil society organizations, together with African citizens to embark on a journey to address the urgent need to curb corruption as a major societal flaw causing setbacks in the socioeconomic and political development of the continent.
The joint call on Tuesday also came a day after the Ethiopian Attorney General’s revelation regarding the arrest of 27 senior military figures in connection with mass corruption.
Ethiopia’s Attorney General, Berhanu Tsegaye, said on Monday that the arrested senior military figures and their associates have been involved in corrupt activities worth over 2 billion U.S. dollars including an illicit purchase of a plane, ships and cranes during the span of six years period.
The arrest marked the biggest anti-corruption measure in the East African country’s modern history.