Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Gaborone, Botswana: On June 13-14, 2022, the IMF’s Africa Training Institute (ATI) and the Department of the Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry, and Minerals (ETTIM) of the African Union Commission (AUC) organized a high-level conference in Gaborone on the promotion of good governance and the fight against corruption within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple crises.

The conference helped to build consensus about good governance as a critical enabler for macroeconomic stability in Africa. Welcoming the delegates to the conference, the Minister of Finance Hon Peggry Serame, in a speech delivered on her behalf by the Secretary for Development and Budget, Mr Olesitse H. Masimega highlighted that weak governance and corruption impose a burden on the government budget due to continuous and elevated public expenditure on programmes that fail to deliver the expected outcomes.

Opening the conference, IMF Deputy Managing Director Antoinette M. Sayeh said: “Countries that have strong economic institutions respond more effectively to crises and are better prepared for a resilient recovery. And that is true across any level of development.” The importance of reforms in this regard has proven true during the pandemic where countries with stronger institutions have been able to mount more effective responses.

The message from H. E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission emphasized on the impact of weak public institutions on corruption. She said: “Corruption undermines the rule of law, respect for human rights, accountability, and transparency in the political arena and weakens public institutions.”

Participants discussed the reforms that many African countries have implemented to strengthen governance and the rule of law, and address corruption. They also discussed how reforms that have worked well to improve the use of COVID-19 emergency financing could build the foundation to address the global increase in food and fuel prices, mainly caused by the spillover effects of the war in Ukraine, in the short term and issues related to climate change in the long term.

A new book published by IMF and discussed at the conference highlights examples of good governance in Africa and offers lessons from the region including the importance of using innovative technology to improve the efficiency of public financial management, procurement, and monitoring of natural resource management.

Participants also looked at the situation of corruption in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States. They agreed that these countries have received insufficient benefit from the decades of economic growth on the continent; have made scant progress in addressing systemic governance challenges; and are proof that corruption is a driver of fragility that deserves greater attention from the international community. At the same time, reforms on good governance are possible even in these environments. For example, Rwanda adopted more advanced institutions to rebuild from a devastating conflict.

The African Union and the IMF are supporting capacity development on governance in Africa. The AUC is raising awareness among stakeholders and promoting peer-learning opportunities between Member States, including by disseminating examples of governance good practices. In addition to fiscal and financial sector governance, the IMF is dedicating resources to capacity building in anticorruption and rule of law. Training programs include anticorruption legal and organizational frameworks, establishing functional systems for asset declarations, and addressing conflict of interest, and enhancing judicial independence and the transparency of legal systems.

In concluding the conference, the Governor of Bank of Botswana, Mr Moses Pelaelo emphasized the need for the African continent to harness the benefits of digitalization to enhance transparency, good governance and fight corruption, underscoring the need to allocate resources towards digitization initiatives. .

The AUC and the IMF reaffirmed their commitment to work in partnership with all stakeholders, as sustaining improved governance requires a coalition of parties from governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations.

Source – IMF