COMESA to Develop a Regional Code on Anti-Corruption Compliance

Lusaka, Wednesday, February 27, 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.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the COMESA Business Council (CBC) Ms. Sandra Uwera, the regional code will provide a guide for anticorruption compliance amongst enterprises in the COMESA region and will be available for their use and adoption

Business Integrity Project

As part of this initiative, COMESA Business Council 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 targeting the private sector.

Today, February 27, 2019, it was Zambia’s turn with 60 businesses participating in a two days training in Lusaka. The training which was opened by the Secretary General of COMESA Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, was jointly organized by the CBC, CIPE, Bankers Association of Zambia, the Zambia Association of Manufacturers and the Zambia Bureau of Standards. It is themed: Towards strengthening business integrity for SMEs in COMESA.

Addressing the participants, the Secretary General observed that if corruption was not dealt with, it will continue to affect regional trade and integration as the cost of doing business will remain high thus deterring local and foreign direct investments.

“We must deal with political and economic effects of corruption to promote regional integration, individually as sovereign States and collectively at COMESA level and the rest of the Africa continent,” Ms Kapwepwe said.

The training specifically targets 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.

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.

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.

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