Lusaka, Tuesday, February 26, 2019: COMESA will soon develop a Regional Model Code on Anti-Corruption Compliance to help enterprises in the region improve their business environment. The initiative is part of the activities under the COMESA Business Council (CBC) Integrity Project which is being implemented in partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).
The objective of this initiative is to build the capacity of the private sector to stem corruption and enhance their participation in transparency and reform initiatives thereby achieve a good and enabling business environment.
The regional code will provide a guide for anticorruption compliance amongst enterprises with the COMESA region and will be available for use and adoption by enterprises in the whole region.
The World Economic Forum estimates that corruption increases the cost of doing business by up to 10% on average. Countries that score badly on the World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators also score poorly on the Corruption Perceptions Index. This suggests that highly corrupt countries also have difficulty attracting business.
Research by the International Monetary Fund has further shown that investment in corrupt countries is almost 5% less than in those that are relatively corruption-free. The African Union also estimates that Africa loses up to US$ 15 Billion dollars a year due to corruption.
Cognizant of the high cost of corruption on the regional economies and its adverse effect on the growth of enterprises, CBC has rolled out an anti-corruption training programme across COMESA Member States under the business integrity project. So far, trainings have been conducted in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mauritius with Zambia next in line on 27 – 28 February 2019.
The trainings are specifically targeted at compliance professionals including management, procurement, finance and sales personnel. The aim is to equip them with knowledge to set up anti-corruption compliance systems within their enterprises.
The skills will also enable them to investigate and articulate the need for corruption prevention measures within their business, appreciate and understand the methods for mapping and developing an effective compliance program that meets international standards and operationalize components of the anti-corruption ethics and compliance program.
In Zambia, the training in Zambia is initially targeted at 60 businesses. It is jointly organized by the CBC, CIPE, Bankers Association of Zambia, the Zambia Association of Manufacturers and the Zambia Bureau of Standards under the theme: Towards strengthening business integrity for SMEs in COMESA.
CIPE is one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy and a non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.