According to Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), corruption is a global epidemic that affects countries all over the world, including Europe.
During an interview with the UK Guardian, Dr. Adesina stated that corruption is pervasive in Europe’s banking and economic sectors, whereas countries such as Eritrea in East Africa have successfully attained a corruption-free environment.
He emphasised the importance of the African continent improving accountability in the use of public resources.
“The global financial crisis that brought the world down in 2008 was not in Africa. We have no Wall Street. That collapse came from greed, from corruption, from fraud,” he said.
“You have people cooking the books that are in the financial industry in Europe, not in Africa. Corruption is not an African issue.
“The issue is, that is not to say that there’s none. What you have to do is to continue to improve transparency and accountability in the use of public resources.
“During my first visit to Eritrea, I was talking to UN Development Programme staff. You know what they told me? That, in Eritrea, corruption is zero per cent.
“Why do we not talk about that? That’s the kind of thing that we want to do. For us as a development bank, we take good governance very seriously,” Adesina said, admonishing governments to be accountable to their people in the acquisition and utilisation, stressing that “people’s resources do not belong in other people’s pockets”.
According to Adesina, the development bank under his supervision ensures that when nations receive financial aid, they also receive the required help to account for the money.
He blamed multinational firms for the issue of illegal financial flows in Africa, emphasising the urgency of further investigation.
The African Development Bank’s chief executive officer emphasised Africa’s role in the global value chain, emphasising that raw material exportation is the most efficient approach to reduce poverty.
He argued that for Africa to advance in the value chain, it must prioritise its raw materials, which include oil and gas, minerals, metals, and food.
“The issue is, we have to invest right; we have to make sure the governance environment is right; we have to make sure the incentives are right,” he said.
He added, “Africa must take a position that it is no longer going to be at the bottom but at the top.”
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