Kenya on Wednesday called on the private sector to revitalize the fight against corruption that is to blame for growing income inequality and other social ills.
Olajobi Makinwa, the Chief of UN Global Compact African Region, said businesses are strategically positioned to boost the war against corruption by eschewing unethical practices and educating the public against the vice.
“Companies must join forces with the government and community based organizations to act collectively against corruption. There is an increasing appreciation that a resolute action by the private sector is key to reduce all manifestation of graft,” Makinwa said.
Kenyan policymakers, industry executives and campaigners attended the forum to review progress the country has made in tackling the scourge of corruption since the enactment of a sweeping bribery act of 2016.
Makinwa noted that Kenya is among African countries that have enacted progressive legislation to combat graft in the public sector though political goodwill was an imperative in order to eliminate the vice.
Kenya’s ethics and anti-corruption commission (EACC) in its 2016 report disclosed an estimated 60.8 billion dollars is lost annually in the country through embezzlement of funds and procurement malpractices in the public sector.
Makinwa regretted that corruption not only undermines growth of Kenya’s economy but has also worsened youth unemployment, poverty and crime.
She urged the public sector to join hands with industry and implement innovative programs to minimize pilfering of funds meant for development of physical infrastructure and social amenities like schools and hospitals.
“Businesses can show their commitment to fight graft by signing on to local code of ethics and adhere to them across the supply chain,” said Makinwa adding that the UN Global Compact has provided technical expertise to Kenyan businesses in order to strengthen their capacity to respond to corruption
The private sector supported the enactment of Bribery Act of 2016 as part of their commitment to the principles of good governance and zero tolerance to graft as outlined in the UN Global Compact.
Kenyan mobile phone operator, Safaricom and UN Global Compact Board Member, Bob Collymore said that businesses have an obligation to fight corruption since it undermines investments, economic growth and social cohesion. Enditem