As Africans continuously brainstorm on how their respective countries can economically grow to have better infrastructures and reduce the high level of inequality, former Botswana President Festus Mogae has underscored that the growth and development of Africa cannot take place in the midst of corruption.
Raising the issue at the recently held African Development Bank’s 49th Annual Meeting in Kigali, Rwandat, he former Botswana President said, “It is difficult to discuss the problems militating against Africa’s development and its inability to lift the majority of its people out of poverty without mentioning corruption.”
Former President Mogae said he sees corruption as a universal problem and cautioned that Africa should not shy away from borrowing concepts from abroad to deal with its problems.
According to him, Africa should not unduly worry about the sources of solutions needed to deal with corruption, provided that what is copied is appropriate to a particular situation.
He noted that the form of corruption people deal with may have been borrowed from western nations.
Discussing “Transparency and Accountability” in one of the many panel discussions held during the Meeting, former President Mogae stressed, “Another way transparency could be brought to bear with the endemic corruption in the continent is for donor countries and agencies to conduct regular on-the-spot visits to project sites and to demand and obtain detail receipts on expense to ensure that it corresponds with the volume of work done to implement the project.”
He added, “Apart from being transparent and accountable to its citizens, all the arms of the government must be accountable and responsible to each other.”
The former President is of the view that parliamentary oversight and judicial examinations are the ways to minimizing the effect of corruption.
Former President Mogae’s comment is endorsed by many to be the main problem facing the African continent. Moreover, he has the credibility to comment on corruption because his country has the lowest corruption record in Africa. To this effect, in 2013, British Commonwealth countries selected Botswana to host the anti-corruption centre.
Recently the African Development Bank (AfDB) held its annual Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda to discuss issues creating impediments to economic growth in Africa and to strategize about what can be done to bring integration and development to the continent.
Under the theme, “In 50 Years: The Africa We Want,” African leaders, heads of banking institutions, members of the civil society and observers discussed infrastructure, the African economy, youth empowerment, the gender divide and education, amongst other topics as key to uplifting Africa; the issue about vices such as corruption and poor leadership, which many view as THE impediment to growth wa not given much attention.
Nevertheless, former President Mogae, along with Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba, vocally brought the issue to the attention of African leaders.
President Ondimba, who succeeded his late father Omar Bongo in Gabon, said integration in Africa and Africans seeing one another as Africans was a matter of political will on the part of each African leader.