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UN, business and other leaders unite to fight corruption in Africa

Summary

18 March 2009, Lagos, Nigeria – Nearly 200 business, government and civil society representatives from 19 African countries participating in a pan-Africa business anti-corruption conference in Lagos have declared that business is taking a stand against corruption through collective action. The conference went on to debate key strategies needed to outline practical actions for companies to implement in the fight against corruption.

Discussing the global financial crisis and the impact on Africa, participants also looked at the role of financial institutions and debated the risks and challenges of corruption. The regulatory environment was examined and it was agreed that where monitoring, controls or sanctions for deviant behaviour are weak, the risk of corruption will continue to persist.

According to delegates, “piecemeal approaches will never work, only comprehensive approaches”. “The interrelationships between business and government, between business and civil society institutions, especially political groups in society spell out the way the political economy hinder efforts to reduce corruption", said Soji Apampa, Executive Director of The Convention on Business Integrity. "These relationships must exist in society however, so where self-regulation is weak and government regulatory efforts is insufficient, business on its own or civil society on its own or government on its own will continue to be ineffective in dealing with corruption. What we need to move forward is collective action”.

Speakers at the conference were drawn from a range of organizations including MTN Nigeria, The Coca-Cola Company, Dunlop, Cadbury, Oando, UNODC, World Bank, Bank PHB, NDIC, First Bank, AIICO, Oceanic Bank, EFCC, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, NBA, SON, NACCIMA, African Institute of Corporate Governance, The Convention on Business Integrity and the UN Global Compact Office.