Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CORRUPTION: A major obstacle to development in Africa.

Every year when Transparency International, (an International Organization which assesses the economy of various nations in corruption) publishes its report on the level of corruption in the nations worldwide, it is noticeable that some African countries are in the top list. This is really sad. While a huge amount of money is being stolen from the public account, the population is in an absolute poverty, with no food, no shelter, and no adequate health infrastructure. It seems African leaders are more concerned with personal issues than with the needs of their people.
This is a frustrating situation as we know that they are entrusted by their population to implement policies that would enhance the standard of living. Sadly, in regions where natural resources are exploited for export, the populace living around seem left to themselves. There is no real policy to help them cope with their daily difficulties. The Delta region in Nigeria is an example that can be given among many others. That region is rich in crude oil. Millions of barrels are being produced every day. But those living around are in a shocking state.
There is a need for Africa to produce new leaders who have real vision for the continent, leaders who are not concerned with personal matters but who really want to improve the standard of living of their population. It is obvious that the issue of good governance is about leadership. People should elect leaders who have had experience in that area.

Since ages, good governance which includes a transparent management of the public funds has been the key to the success of the economy in Europe and in North America. African nations should learn from these countries, how they have been able to fight against corruption and how they have implemented good policies to promote good governance. The western and North American nations succeeded through good will and endurance. The way to good governance is not an easy one. There are obstacles to deal with. Overcoming them need lots of sacrifice and commitment.
Corruption has weakened African nation’s economy for decades. In this 21st century, an era of progress in terms of technology and knowledge, it is unacceptable that people in Africa die from hunger, while some selfish leaders have billions of dollars in their foreign accounts. Tackling corruption must be a major goal for new leaders who are coming to power in Africa. The suffering of their people should move them to fight seriously against this lawless practice. Promoting “Zero Tolerance of Corruption” like in Ghana is a good idea that needs to be encouraged.
Corruption will not be completely erased, because selfish people will still be there. An old proverb says “when there is will, there is away”. They will to fight against corruption must be stronger than ever in order to achieve good governance. Africa is very rich both in natural and human resources. There is no reason why it should remain poor.