London, 21 February 2013 -- The Commonwealth is to launch the first continent-wide anti-corruption centre in Gaborone, Botswana. It will provide accessible and practical guidance to national agencies in 19 countries across Africa.
The Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre will be a visible and tangible demonstration of the Commonwealth commitment to support its members’ anti-corruption efforts, with the potential for replication in Commonwealth countries across the world.
The Centre will support member countries’ fight against ‘graft’ which undermines hard-fought democratic and economic gains as well as trust in governments’ ability to deliver basic services.
Botswana Vice-President Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe will officially open the Centre on 25 February. Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, Mmaskegoa Masire-Mwamba will represent the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Secretariat and the Government of Botswana are joint funders of the project.
Ms Masire-Mwamba said: “For every percentage of GDP lost to corrupt practice, the economic and social development of a nation suffers. This means fewer schools, poorer healthcare provisions, less housing and depleted access to fundamental services such as electricity, water and sanitation.”
All 19 African Commonwealth countries have pledged support to the Centre, which will provide a south-south exchange of ideas, technical skills and best practice to combat corruption.
The Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa will play a vital role in developing programmes for the Centre, including the sharing of technical expertise and policy advice, the provision of a helpdesk based at the Botswana Anti-Corruption Agency and specialist training in forensic investigation and asset tracing.
Botswana is a fitting location for the Commonwealth’s first network of this kind. For the 15th year in a row it has received the accolade of Africa’s least corrupt nation in Transparency International’s 2012 corruption perceptions index.