Leaders want to curb corruption in Africa

NO GOOD: Public Service Minister Geraldine Fraser Moleketi says corruption hurts the many and benefits the few. Pic. Trevor Samson. 15/11/06. © BDFM.
NO GOOD: Public Service Minister Geraldine Fraser Moleketi says corruption hurts the many and benefits the few. Pic. Trevor Samson. 15/11/06. © BDFM.

"Corruption is everywhere - in the villages, wherever," Zambia's lands minister, Gladys Nyirongo, acknowledged at a conference on graft in Africa last week, just hours before she was sacked.

"Corruption is everywhere - in the villages, wherever," Zambia's lands minister, Gladys Nyirongo, acknowledged at a conference on graft in Africa last week, just hours before she was sacked.

Africa has long had a reputation as the most corrupt continent, with only Botswana and Mauritius making it into the Top 50 of the latest yearly Transparency International index on clean government.

But the crippling affect of graft on what is also the world's poorest continent is being increasingly recognised and some leaders at least are doing more than paying lip service to the problem.

Nyirongo was axed by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa while ironically attending an anti-corruption conference held in Johannesburg.

Mwanawasa, whose war against corruption has even seen his one-time mentor and predecessor Frederick Chiluba put on trial, accused his one-time ally Nyirango of awarding her own family plots of land.

Other senior figures on the continent who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law include Nigeria's vice president Atiku Abubakar and ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, who lost his job as South Africa's deputy president in 2005 after his financial advisor was handed a jail sentence for corruption.

According to a survey by the World Bank, corruption costs Africa $148billion a year and increases the cost of goods by as much as 20 percent.

"Corruption is a direct impediment to Africa's development. Corruption hurts the many and benefits the few," Public Service Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi told delegates at the corruption conference. - Sapa-AFP

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