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High incidence of bribery in Africa provides rationale for launch of African Corp Governance Network

30 June 2014   (0 Comments)
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Nearly 50 percent of companies feel they are highly exposed to bribery in Africa, and almost 20 percent have actually experienced it within the past 24 months. However, those with top-level commitment to anti-bribery compliance programmes and policies experienced fewer incidents of bribery than those without the same.

These are just some of the key findings of the ENSafrica Anti-Bribery and Corruption Survey 2014[1]

"In other words, corporate governance works if it’s done right,” says Jane Valls, chair of the African Corporate Governance Network (ACGN). "However, the survey findings also show that more than 50 percent of respondents are not confident that their anti-bribery compliance programmes identify and mitigate the risk of corruption adequately. Less than one-third feel they well prepared to respond to a regulatory probe.”

These survey results confirm the soundness of the thinking behind the formation of the ACGN in 2013. The organisation aims to help build capacity in corporate governance across the continent, so building better organisations and corporate citizens across Africa.

According to the International Monetary Fund, seven of the world’s fastest-growing economies will be African within the next few years. However, argues Valls, this economic growth will not be sustainable over the long term if African companies lack good corporate governance. Nor will the benefits of Africa’s wealth flow to all its citizens.

"Strong corporate governance is the key to ensuring that our companies are sound and thus competitive, and can profit from Africa’s growth,” she notes. "Otherwise, most of the benefits from Africa’s natural and human capital will flow to multinationals, and we will simply see a repeat of colonial era exploitation of the continent.”

Similarly, strong corporate governance is needed to ensure that Africa’s public institutions function as they are supposed to. Corruption ensures that the connected few reap the majority of the benefits of economic activity, keeping the majority in poverty.

"The ACGN is beginning a hugely exciting journey to help build the corporate governance capacity of its members in both the private and public sectors, and so in supporting the rise of Africa as an economic powerhouse and a continent of opportunity,” says Valls. "In due course, we would like to see surveys of this paint a very different picture.”

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