UNODC consolidates West African anti-corruption efforts in Niamey
On 26-27 February 2015, 13 national anti-corruption authorities from West African countries gathered in Niamey, Niger, for a Regional Conference on Anti-Corruption in West Africa. Organized by UNODC in partnership with the Nigerien High Authority for the Fight against Corruption and Assimilated Offences (HALCIA), this Conference brought together heads of anti-corruption authorities, as well as heads of investigation, from the region for the first time since 2012.
International cooperation among anti-corruption authorities in the region is critical to enhance the effectiveness of their activities in West Africa. The Conference, which was made possible thanks to the financial support of Germany, sought to strengthen international cooperation in the region among anti-corruption authorities, connect corruption investigators and develop a strategic plan for the region to support the newly established ECOWAS Network of Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa.
In his opening remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Fodé Ndiaye, reminded participants that "corruption harms poverty reduction, limits economic growth, leads to political instability and internal conflicts, and hampers efforts to fight terrorism". He also highlighted that "while some countries have made notable advances, most countries in the region have registered very few penal convictions, if any, following investigations undertaken by anti-corruption authorities, leading to a prevailing sense of impunity".
The Minister of Justice, Mr. Marou Amadou, delivering remarks on behalf of the Prime Minister of Niger, encouraged participants "to intensify their actions and to strengthen the position of national anti-corruption authorities in the institutional landscape of our States". The President of HALCIA, Mr. Issoufou Boureima, noted that "this Conference presents an opportunity to mobilise different actors from the region to discuss regional priorities in the fight against corruption". Experts from Interpol, the Tax Justice Network and OSIWA also took part in the proceedings.
The Conference examined the recent findings by the African Union High Level Panel report on illicit financial flows. Participants especially had the opportunity to share successful experiences of international cooperation among each other on corruption cases in the region. They also discussed regional priorities, including, among other issues, strengthening of anti-corruption training and university education.
The UNODC Anti-Corruption Advisor for West and Central Africa, Mr. Samuel De Jaegere, shared findings from the pre-conference survey, including statistics on human resource and budgetary strength of anti-corruption institutions, as well as success rates in investigating complaints, prosecuting cases and obtaining convictions. These findings will serve as a baseline to measure progress in the fight against corruption over time in the region.
Conference participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo adopted final conclusions at the end of the Conference, calling, among other things, for the speedy ratification of the ECOWAS Protocol on the fight against corruption, so it can enter into force, and to strengthen national legal frameworks against corruption in conformity with international conventions, notably the UN Convention against Corruption. This workshop was made possible thanks to the contribution of Norway.
The full statement of the final conclusions is available here.