Addis Ababa — The 19th session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM) ended in Addis Ababa Sunday with African governments being urged to strengthen existing policies, laws, rules and regulations to prevent corruption.
The meeting was called to discuss how the United Nations can support the African Union to win the fight against corruption and illicit financial flows in an effort to promote development.
In closing remarks to the two-day meeting, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, said; "Corruption does not only lead to exclusion and inequalities, but these cause and exacerbate corruption, and therefore we need to address exclusion and inequalities collectively if we are to win the war against corruption".
"Unless we join forces at all levels - from citizens to political leaders - we will not win the fight," she said.
For his part, Economic Commission for Africa's Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr. Abdalla Hamdok said the UN will do all it can to support the AU in the fight against corruption.
He said the RCM was an important instrument for cooperation, adding ideas and outcomes of the meeting will enhance the strategic partnership between the UN and AU.
"The adoption of the annual African Union theme by the session of the RCM is one of the good practices coming from the RCM," said Mr. Hamdok.
In his closing remarks, AU Deputy Chairperson, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey, said the RCM had 'very fruitful discussions on the problem of corruption that is affecting every facet of our social and economic development'.
Mr. Quartey acknowledged the paralyzing effects of corruption being felt in the continent's systems such as education, public administration, financial institutions and governance.
He noted the important role of the RCM in ensuring the UN delivered as one to meet the AU's priorities.
"The AU-UN cooperation is important if Africa is to succeed in its integration efforts," said Mr. Quartey as he called for greater coordination, communication and strengthening of the partnership between the AU and the UN.
"I'm confident that with the combined efforts of the AU and the UN, both Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development can be achieved through the effective implementation of the various cooperation frameworks," he said.
African Governments were urged to put in place mechanisms for rewarding good civil servants, citizens and ethical people who abide by rules and regulations and do not engage in corruption practices.
They were also called on to strengthen existing procurement guidelines, codes of conduct and to encourage integrity. In this regard, countries need to establish stricter accountability and enforce rules and laws as well as involving civil society in the fight against corruption.
The UN was urged to support the AU in the area of transparency and financial disclosure rules for public officials to eradicate corrupt practices. The organization was also tasked to support African countries in putting in place transparency rules in the collection of taxes as enshrined in the 2015 Addis Tax Initiative.
Participants also urged the UN to collaborate with the AU in the implementation of conventions on corruption; carry out studies on the impact of corruption on livelihoods of women and girls; while countries were urged to pay civil servants competitive salaries to avoid graft.
The UN was also urged to support African countries in strengthening laws and mechanisms to support whistle-blowers.
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