The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is looking to fight corruption in Africa with its Africa Integrity Fund (AIF).
The fund — proposed by the bank’s Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department (IACD) and approved by its board of directors late last year — looks to finance programs that contribute to the prevention, detection, and the investigation of corruption.
Speaking to Face2Face Africa, IACD Director Anna Bossman said the fund will strengthen anti-corruption institutions and law enforcement agencies by providing them with the necessary resources to investigate and prosecute offenders.
“The fund is set up to extend grants to eligible recipients in order to finance measures, which contribute to the prevention, the detection, the investigation of corrupt practices, and financing other worthy anti-corruption causes in our African countries,” Bossman said.
The fund will be exclusively financed through the collection of financial penalties derived from settlement agreements entered between the AfDB and entities that are found to have engaged in corrupt activities.
On the question of how sustainable the fund will be, Bossman said her department will invest and reinvest in the interest that will be made from the monies available in the account, including the accrued interest, and ensure due diligence is done to determine the sustainability of the programs, projects, and activities in operation.
Target beneficiaries of the AIF include law enforcement agencies, tax authorities, public audit entities, civil society organizations, research and educational bodies, and other governmental institutions.
Bossman added that the fund will target corruption in both the public and private sectors, provided it involves projects that are funded by the AfDB in its regional member countries.
Corruption & Human Rights Violation in Africa
Of the many challenges that Africa faces today, the biggest is corruption, with experts warning that corruption is the greatest threat to Africa’s growth and prosperity.
Bossman says corruption in Africa affects all sectors and spheres of life, “It [corruption] affects the everyday lives of citizens, where even basic necessities of life may not be accessed or accessible without some form of unlawful quid pro quo.”
Unfortunately, corruption has become an accepted way of life in Africa, with the political elite choosing to institutionalize it. This unfortunate reality has caused numerous mega-corruption scandals to emerge across the continent.
Impunity and the lack of proper legal action against corrupt officials are just some of the main reasons why corruption has continued to thrive on the continent. In fact, the increasing cases of human rights abuses in Africa are directly linked to corruption.
“Sexual exploitation and human trafficking are violations of human rights directly linked to corruption,” Bossman asserts.
With the irregular allocation of public resources, Africans who are poor cannot access quality and affordable health care and education.
Consequently, AfDB’s Africa Integrity Fund hopes to be able to increase capacity and adequate resources to fight corruption effectively, while strengthening law enforcement agencies and helping to bolster a stronger and more efficient Africa that its citizens can be fully proud of.