Africa must fight hard against corruption which is a major drawback on its progress, the African Union was told.
To do this, the United Nations advises the continent to adopt global megatrends – artificial intelligence, technology, infrastructure development, and resilience/response to climate change.
“In every sphere of our lives, the question of corruption is holding us back; it is the elephant in the room and we must boldly talk about it,” said the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), Ms Vera Songwe.
She was speaking at the weekend in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during a forum of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa under the theme “United Nations System Support for the African Union in winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation.”
Recent findings by the African Union show that the continent loses $150 billion every year to corruption compared to $57 billion it receives in aid.
The vice was blamed on, among others, extremely low salaries of most workers in Africa's public sector.
“Let’s face it: many civil servants in Africa are not paid even a living wage – so we must consider this in our work to help the AU fight corruption,” said Mr Lamin Momodou Manneh, the Representative of the Africa Regional Chair of the UN Development Group (UNDG).
He said the UN would support the African Union in areas such as budgetary processes and tax administration, public sector management systems including addressing the sector’s low salaries, business sector issues, regulatory framework matters, and knowledge sharing in best practices and lessons learnt.
Thomas Kwesi Quartey, the AU Commission deputy chairman, said “the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the AU’s Agenda 2063 have 90 per cent of convergence” which calls for the institutional collaboration and synergy between the two parties.