Report of the Regional Conference on Corruption and the Challenge of Economic Transformation in Southern Africa
The Subregional Office for Southern Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Southern Africa Regional Office, in collaboration with the Botswana Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, organized a regional conference on corruption and the challenge of economic transformation in Southern Africa, in Gaborone from 18 to 20 June 2018. The African Union had declared 2018 as the year of anti-corruption under the theme “Winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation”. The conference was centred on this declaration. The debates focused on the realization that the goal of economic transformation remains elusive, even though African leaders have crafted economic development blueprints, such as the Lagos Plan of Action and the Final Act of Lagos, the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programmes for Socio-Economic Recovery and Transformation, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Agenda 2063. These initiative are bolstered by national development plans in different African countries. Some of the issues that have stalled African efforts at radical economic transformation are policy inconsistency, governance challenges, leadership inertia and, more importantly, corruption. There is mounting evidence that corruption, labelled in its varied forms as state capture and grand and petty corruption, is the root of the resource haemorrhage from Africa, engendering rent-seeking and unproductive behaviour, capital flight, misallocation and misappropriation of scarce resources, missed investment opportunities, retarded growth, deteriorating social services, worsening inequalities and a poor governance culture in African economies. All of these undermine the goal of economic transformation in Southern Africa and in Africa, in general.