King Mohammed VI of Morocco has called on his African peers to make of the fight against corruption a priority because this scourge is the biggest obstacle to the continent’s economic and social advancement and to the development of African youths.
“The fight against this scourge should be made a priority because corruption is the biggest obstacle to economic and social advancement and to the development of our young people,” said King Mohammed VI in a message to the African Union Summit, which opened Sunday in Nouakchott.
The Monarch conceded that too many obstacles and difficulties are still undermining the efforts targeting the emergence of Africa, yet, he said, one of the major hurdles is endemic corruption. “A scourge that is eating away at our societies”.
He explained that corruption is not just a moral or ethical issue, but it has also an economic cost, perverts the tenets of democracy, undermines the rule of law and promotes organized crime, insecurity and terrorism.
Corruption “has an economic cost as well. It puts a strain on the purchasing power of citizens, especially the poorest segments of society. In some sectors of activity, it represents 10% of the cost of production”.
The Monarch who underscored that African countries are making sustained efforts to curb the corruption scourge and that these efforts are bearing fruit noted that the institutional reforms undertaken within the African Union will also contribute to the emergence of an anti-corruption culture.
The King argued that in order to stay the course in this fight and to make sure the current institutional reforms are successful, regular consultation will be necessary. “This is the course of action to which everyone will subscribe and which will give our organization the authority it needs”.
This major project requires sincere political commitment: it is possible to tackle corruption through sustained efforts on the part of government authorities and through the necessary civic engagement, he said.
The fight against corruption also requires the coordination of experiences and the pooling of expertise, building on a common vision shared by all stakeholders, he said, insisting “the well-being of our peoples hinges on prevention and on fostering a sense of responsibility in all actors in our societies”.
In his address to the African Summit, King Mohammed VI also surveyed the efforts made by Morocco to fight corruption, including the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption in 2007, and the alignment of Morocco’s institutional and legal arsenal with international standards.
In 2015, he recalled, Morocco adopted a National Strategy against Corruption and set up the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which is tasked with implementing the strategy.
Spanning a 10-year period, the strategy aims to reverse the trend in a palpable, irreversible way by 2025, bolster citizens’ trust, promote integrity, improve the business environment and enhance the Kingdom’s international standing.