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Collective Action: the Tool for Fighting Corruption in Africa

(Lagos, Nigeria, 18 March 2009) – Nearly 200 business, government and civil society representatives from 19 African countries participating in a pan-Africa business anti-corruption conference in Lagos this week 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.  

Speaking at the event, Uto Ukpana, Company Secretary of MTN Nigeria explained that “ corruption accounts for 25 percent of the price of procurement contracts in developing countries”, and Mr. Jose Cruz-Osario of the International  Finance Corporation's Global Corporate Governance Forum asserted that whilst “business has very often been accused of being part of the corruption problem around the world; increasingly business is fighting back and taking its rightful place as part of the solution”.

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.


Ms. Olajobi Makinwa, UN Global Compact, New York, +1 917 3672283, makinwa@un.org
Mr. Michael Jarvis, the World Bank Institute, Washington DC, +1 202 4735383 mjarvis@worldbank.org
Dr. Olumide Ajayi, Africa Leadership Forum, +234 802 3011543, ajayi@africaleadership.org
Mr. Innocent Azih, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, +234 802 3617615, innocent.azih@nesgroup.org
Dr. Chibuzo Nwoke, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, +234 803 8935478