EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: At the side-lines of the 31th summit of the African Union (AU) which commenced on Sunday in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, Gambia’s President Adama Barrow had a closed-door bilateral discussion with President Theodore Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea for the first time.
President Nguema is hosting Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh since he went into exile following his defeat in the 2016 presidential elections. Mr. Barrow also had discussions with President Omar El-Bashir of Sudan, and the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed.
During his address of African heads of state and government, President Adama Barrow has told that Africa’s development would be seriously impeded without stringent measures against corruption, stressing that there is a strong connection between tackling corruption and progress of the continent.
He told the African leaders their successes in the fight against corruption will ensure that resources are retained and used to support structural transformations and expansion of the continent’s economies. “Our desire for sustainable growth and development in the critical sectors of our economies can only be realized if there is a diligent focus on progressive policies and huge resource investments. Therefore, we cannot afford resource wastages through corruption thereby depriving our citizens the opportunities to improve their living standards.”
Twenty-two African leaders are currently gathered in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott for the 31th summit of the African Union (AU) which commenced on Sunday. The summit, which is hosted by Mauritania for the first time, is being held amid tight security measures.
President Barrow made the solid case against corruption as a contribution to the on-going debate on corruption at the African Union Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: a Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.
He described the theme as “a bold statement of intent”, given that corruption in both the public and private sectors negatively impact various national and continent’s development agendas.
He further told AU leaders that success in the fight against corruption will ensure that resources are retained and used to support structural transformations and expansion of our economies. “We can improve in most key human development indicators, such as access to quality health and education for the youth population of the continent, food security and meaningful employment. Corruption has negative effect on African nations and how we can judicious use of our resources,” Mr. Barrow said.
Security in the Sahel region and the Western Sahara conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front figure high on the agenda of the African meeting. Talks are also expected to focus on the deteriorating security situation in the Central African Republic, illegal immigration and coordination on fighting organized crime.
On the way forward for the Continent, President Barrow argued that Africa needs to reform its legal and regulatory regimes, tax administration and procurement systems in order to combat corruption in the public, economic and business environments. “It is imperative that we intensify our efforts to ensure that corrupt practices are systematically tackled and resources that are siphoned off recovered,” he told the Summit.
Urging African leaders to take cue from his zero tolerance approach towards corruption, the President informed the gathering that the exercise of good governance in all facets of public administration is the guiding principle of his government in addressing the consequences of two decades of poor governance and misuse of State’s meagre resources under the former regime. He also highlighted the great work of the on-going Commission of Inquiry instituted to investigate the corrupt financial dealings of the former President and his cronies as well as the plans afoot to establish an anti-corruption commission soonest
Mr. Barrow believes that Africa’s partnership with others should be reinforced to fully implement the Continental Strategic Plan on the Fight against Corruption.