AU must walk the talk!

African leaders have assembled in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, for the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union. In an attendance is our President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is leading Ghana’s delegation to the  session.

Among the agenda for the consideration at the meeting are migration, especially the rising intolerance of African migration, trade and investment, conflicts, notably the South Sudan protracted problem, and the challenge of corruption on the continent.

The aptly chosen theme of the session is “Wining the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s transformation”.

The theme of the session is very relevant under our circumstances, especially when the fight against corruption, which in endemic on the African continent, appears insurmountable.

Researchers have cited in the literature that some of the major causes of corruption are bad governance, greed, poor accountability, high quest for wealth, social exclusion, ethnocentrism and unemployment. As a consequence corruption brings about poor and lop-sided development, poverty, rising unemployment, poor education standards, social upheaval, among others.

The Transparency International Corruption Index 2010 report identified Africa as the most corrupt region in the world. The continent is also identified as one of the most under-developed regions on earth.

Clearly, this is not something African leaders would like to be associated with, and therefore, calls for more pragmatic steps to rid the continent of corruption, to save the citizens from squalour, starvation, and poverty which are the main push factor for irregular migration by Africans to seek for greener pasture elsewhere.

Africa is green, therefore, there is no reason why its citizens would like to migrate elsewhere to look for greener pastures, given the judicious use of the resources on the continent.

Although the Ghanaian Times is fascinated by the theme, we are encouraged by the admonition of the new leadership of the AU, presided over by President Paul Kagame, who has taken over from Guinea’s President Alpha Conde who told the delegates at the session that “Africa must act quickly, because we are running out of time”.

Indeed, we are inferring that Mr Kagame is telling his colleagues African leaders to act quickly by stepping up efforts to eradicate corruption from the continent. And to take measures to retrieve public funds that had been diverted to individual pockets, through corrupt practices.

African leaders can take a cue from Ghana’s Auditor General who has taken pragmatic measures to surcharge public officers who have embezzled or unable to account for public funds that had been entrusted under their care.

Additionally, we urge African leaders to strengthen their financial intelligence mechanism and collaborate with their development partners to retrieve stolen public funds lodged in foreign accounts.

We urge our development partners who are assisting us in the fight against corruption by exposing all political leaders who may attempt to deposit moneys in their banks under questionable circumstances.

While we commend African leaders for taking time to assemble annually to tackle issues affecting the lives of the people on the continent, we urge them to walk the talk!

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