Global cost of corruption exceeds $3.5 trillion dollars each year, says Commonwealth as leaders meet in Ghana

Leaders of anti-corruption agencies from 21 African member states of the Commonwealth convene for a crucial conference in Ghana. Photo: The Commonwealth

Wednesday, May 7, 2024 — Gathering in Accra, Ghana, from May 6th to May 11th, 2024, leaders of anti-corruption agencies from 21 African member states of the Commonwealth convene for a crucial conference to bolster regional anti-corruption efforts.

The 14th Annual Conference of Leaders of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa commences today, centering on the theme “Strengthening Institutions and Promoting Transparency: A Means of Combating Corruption in Commonwealth Africa.”

Organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, the conference will bring together members of the Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa, senior government officials, relevant international organisations, civil society, policymakers, and development partners.

The aim is to address key priorities for achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 16, share knowledge and good practices, discuss the impacts of corruption on sustainable development in Africa, and explore innovative approaches in the fight against corruption.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, said: “The global cost of corruption exceeds $3.5 trillion dollars each year.

“In developing countries, funds lost to corruption are around 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

“Africa loses more than $50 billion a year to illicit financial flows. Indeed, over the past 50 years, Africa’s loss to corruption has exceeded the total of all the official development assistance received during the same period.

“What we lose to corruption is more than enough to lift everybody out of poverty and deliver the SDGs.

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“Tackling corruption is a priority of the highest order for the Commonwealth Secretariat because we are serious about implementing the SDGs.”

Dr Roger Koranteng, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Head of Public Sector Governance, said: “This annual gathering of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa provides a vital opportunity for collaboration and mutual support within the Commonwealth.

“Tackling corruption reduces poverty, enhances economic stability and growth, and improves standards of living.

“This year’s theme ‘Strengthening Institutions and Promoting Transparency,’ is a timely and important topic. Transparency is crucial for accountability, which ultimately lays the foundation for corruption-free institutions and systems.

“By sharing successful practices, and understanding what hasn’t worked, we can collectively work towards practical and effective action.”

Since its inception in 2011, the Conference has been held annually.

It is an integral part of the Secretariat’s mission to assist governments, judges, the police, and other public institutions in combating systemic corruption.

This is achieved through the sharing of best practices, training, and policy research.

The Association of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa is composed of Anti-Corruption Agencies from the following 21 African countries: Botswana, Cameroon, Eswatini, Ghana, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.