President Muhammadu Buhari has told African leaders that winning the war against corruption in the continent would require a change of mindset.
He said this on Sunday while launching the African anti-corruption year at the ongoing AU summit in Addis Ababa.
In an address titled ‘Winning the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s transformation’, Buhari said such a change of mindset would require instilling more transparent values in the political class and the entire citizens.
“In Nigeria we have gone far into the implementation of our change agenda, which is primarily aimed at fighting corruption,” he said
While stating that corruption is one of the “greatest evils of our time”, Buhari said Africa has made significant strides in tackling the menace by “putting in place legal and policy frameworks, notably the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC)”.
He, however, added that public confidence has been eroded by a “focus on short-term priorities and payoffs, propelled by corruption, which too often leaves projects uncompleted and promises unfulfilled.
“As leaders, we must build synergy between the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government in order to entrench good governance, transparency and accountability.
“Strong institutions are a necessary condition in any society which aims to fight corruption. In building strong national and regional institutions, we must adequately empower our national anti-corruption agencies and insulate them from political influence.
“We have to encourage increased institutional collaboration between law enforcement agencies and anti-corruption agencies in order to win this fight.”
Identifying illicit financial flows as one of the implications of corruption in Africa, Buhari said the continent loses $50 billion annually, according to a report of the AU panel on illicit financial flows from Africa.
He added: “The African Union must do more to stop the continuous assault on our economic and financial resources by multinationals in collusion with some of our citizens.
“Tackling corrupt acts and greed require a reorientation of our attitudes and perceptions.
“To win the fight against corruption, we must have a change of mindset.
“ As we set off on this honorable path, let us also bear in mind that fighting corruption is not going to be a straightforward task and that corruption does fight back.
“While we may face some setbacks, we should remain resolute. Our common goal is to eradicate corruption in the best interest of our societies.”