African regional bloc to study Indian anti-graft measuresNovember 10th, 2011 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) With corruption being viewed as a major hurdle in the growth of the developing world, Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (REC) are working on strengthening anti-graft measures and looking at legislation from around the world, including India.
East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Richard Sezibera told IANS on the sidelines of an India-Africa meet at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) that his REC was working on anti-corruption legislation for the region, for which the forum has examined other such legislation from around the world.
He said the EAC had not yet studied the Indian anti-graft legislation, but would soon do so.
Sezibera, who has served in various capacities in the Rwandan government, also said that the five-nation EAC comprising Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi were now working towards harmonising the work of existing anti-graft agencies to ensure a regional effort in curbing corruption and counterfeiting.
“We are working towards having a regional anti-corruption legislation and the draft is at the working group level,” he said.
“We are looking at anti-graft legislation from all over the world. I don’t think we have yet studied the Indian anti-corruption legislation, but we shall certainly take a look at it,” he added.
India is working on a law to create an ombudsman, called the Lokpal. Legislation for this is now being examined by a parliamentary standing committee.
India already has laws to prevent corruption and money laundering.
Speaking at the India-Africa meeting, Sezibera said the EAC nations had changed for the better and are “more transparent economies” now than in the past.
“We take corruption seriously. Corruption is a problem for us and we are addressing it very seriously,” he said.
The ICWA meet also had participation from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and Inter-Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD), who were unanimous in their opinion that India “can never be a coloniser” and that the African communities do not look at the South Asian giant that way.
Sezibera and COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya were joined by IGAD executive secretary Mahboub Maalim to call for greater Indian participation, both from the government and private sectors, in building infrastructure for Africa, be it roads, railway lines, or ports, apart from building capacities of its people.
“Africa has everything that’s needed in the 21st Century…but our biggest challenge is infrastructure. We have bilateral cooperation with India, but we are looking at regional and sub-regional cooperation,” the heads of the RECs said.
At the May 24-25 second Africa-India Forum Summit in Addis Ababa, India had pledged $5.7 billion in lines of credits and grants for setting up over a host of developmental projects and over 80 training institutes across Africa to enhance capacity building in these countries. Out of these, the location of 42 institutes are to be decided by RECs by consensus.
Chairing the session, former Indian foreign secretary Shashank said India was new to regional and sub-regional cooperation, whereas African continent was “much ahead.”
“Therefore, we look forward to learning from you on how to grow together in such a framework,” he said, referring to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and East Asia Summit where too India can draw lessons.
ICWA Director General Sudhir T. Devare, in his opening remarks, said since the first India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008, there has been a substantial expansion in trade and business relations and it now stood at $55 billion, growing substantially in the last few years.
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Tags: african states, common market, corruption, developing world, eac, economic communities, economic community, ecowas, group level, hurdle, icwa, money laundering, parliamentary standing committee, regional bloc, regional effort, rwandan government, sidelines, southern africa, world affairs, world africa