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UN Conference Aims To Combat Corruption In Africa

Corruption In Africa In The Cross-Hairs Of UN-Sponsored Conference

New York, Oct 14 2008 1:10PM

Scholars, policy makers and civil society leaders from within and outside Africa are currently meeting in Addis Ababa in a three-day United Nations-sponsored conference aimed at giving momentum to the fight against corruption on the continent.

It is vital for Africans to “regain the discourse and agenda on anti-corruption in Africa” and “explore ways by which [they] can effectively tackle the problem,” UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Deputy Executive Secretary of ECA Lalla Ben Barka told the conference "Institutions, Culture and Corruption in Africa," which opened yesterday.

She stressed the need for Africans to “think outside the box” in tackling the problem and urged delegates to “come up with practical suggestions and policy options on how we can move the anti-corruption drive ahead in Africa.”

The conference, jointly organized by UNECA and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa is (CODESRIA), an independent pan-African research organization, is one of the key events marking the Commission’s 50th anniversary.

“The problem of corruption remains intractable in many African countries, and it is widely acknowledged that there is a need for more innovative, creative and strategic approaches to deal with it,” UNECA said in a news release.

The Commission is currently at the forefront of the regional anti-corruption agenda and has adopted a holistic approach that includes engaging major stakeholders, such as the judiciary, national anti-corruption institutions, parliament and the pan-African body of national anti-corruption institutions in Africa.

In 2006 and 2007 UNECA conducted a study on “Deepening Judiciary Effectiveness in Combating Corruption” and convened two ad hoc expert meetings on its findings. The report on the study and its related expert meetings will soon be published and widely disseminated.

The Commission is currently undertaking a study assessing the efficiency and impact of national anti-corruption institutions in Africa.” In February it will convene an ad hoc expert group meeting of heads of national anti-corruption institutions to present the findings of that study.

In addition, UNECA will shortly undertake training workshops for civil society organizations on monitoring and reporting corruption, the first of which will convene on 11-12 November in Kampala, Uganda.

ENDS

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