Editor’s Note: March 01, 2019

Graft is not just a government affair

Mozambique is suing banking giant Credit Suisse and shipbuilding group Privinvest over their involvement in a $2bn loan and corruption scandal that has plunged the country into a protracted debt crisis.

This comes as German technology giant SAP faces accusations of ‘improper conduct’ relating to state contracts in Kenya and Tanzania. It’s the second time in as many years that the company is facing corruption allegations in Africa, having also been linked to dodgy contracts in South Africa.

Both incidents are reminders that corruption – an important contributor to the $50bn plus in illicit financial flows that leave Africa each year – is not just a government affair. 

Other high profile names to be caught up in graft in the last year include oil majors Eni and Shell, French logistics group Bolloré, as well as professional services companies KPMG and McKinsey.

This is not to absolve governments of blame. The primary responsibility for rooting out the graft that has stunted development in many economies on the continent lies with them. 

The point is that while anti-corruption efforts are principally a governance challenge, governments don’t bribe themselves. 

Business is often cast as a victim or unwitting pawn in corruption on the continent. It’s not that simple.

From The Continent

Senegal’s president Macky Sall has won a second term in office, securing 58.27% of the vote in the country’s February 24 presidential election. Sall is credited with boosting growth and driving modernization of the economy since taking office in 2012. More: France 24

Tanzania is revoking licences from some exchange bureaus in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam ‘found to be operating illegally’. This is part part of a crackdown on black market currency trading and suspected money laundering launched in November 2018, and comes amid growing concerns about president John Magufuli’s perceived  anti-business leadership style. More: Xinhua

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The cost of a new Chinese-funded parliament complex under construction in Republic of Congo, due for completion in 2020. More: Africanews

The Global Perspective

The European Invest Bank has revived plans for a new arm focused entirely on non-EU projects, which is expected to start operating within two years, according to a report by Reuters. This comes after the lender announced in February that it a agreed a record $3.74bn of new financing for infrastructure and private sector development in Africa in 2018. More: Reuters

The UN has launched an appeal for $234m in emergency aid for Zimbabwe, following a drought that is expected to affect about a third of the population due to plummeting crop yields. This comes amid the country’s worst economic crisis in a decade. MoreUN

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