Whistleblowing and fighting corruption in Africa
Growing awareness about the crucial role of whistleblowing in fighting corruption and ensuring ethical business behavior across the African continent in both public and private sectors.
Different stakeholders in Africa are asking for stricter measures to combat corruption and to ensure good governance and sustainability – Civil society organizations, Donor agencies, Investors, Citizens, and Leaders (at least some of them). We are seeing mass demonstrations in Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana etc. where people are asking their governments to be accountable. We are seeing leaders such as Magufuli in Tanzania and Kagame in Rwanda act swiftly to stamp out this evil.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Business in Africa without corruption’ organized by Stockholm Innovation and growth this morning, Micheal Akampa, Head of WhistleB in Africa highlighted the crucial role of whistleblowing in fighting corruption and ensuring ethical business behavior. He revealed that:
“Not everyone in Africa is corrupt, many people want to do what is right, but in several cases they don’t have where to report or a trusted whistleblowing channel to use. For example, we receive a multitude of calls on our South Africa business line with people calling to report wrong doing in different South African organizations. When we ask them how they got the number, they say that they didn’t have a channel from the concerned organization that they could use to report so they searched the web and found that we provide whistleblowing services in South Africa, so they ask if they can report to us.”
On this backdrop, it is clear that there is willingness for people to report corrupt or unethical business behavior, which means that organizations with whistleblowing channels can receive very useful reports that they can act on very early and prevent these issues before they even become complex problems. Others speakers and panelists at the seminar concurred that having a good mechanism to report wrong doing is one of the best ways to counter corruption.
Eva Parry, Head of Compliance at SIDA whose department is responsible for SIDA’s anticorruption initiatives shared on how whistleblowing has been a big part of their fight against corruption. “SIDA was the first state authority that implemented a whistleblowing system in 2012, and since then it has received a lot of good reports through their whistleblowing channel.” However, she revealed that they are not able to receive reports from for example program partners in Africa as some of them are not even aware of SIDA’s whistleblowing system, as SIDA works through a long network of partners, some of them not directly linked to SIDA. “We receive only internal reports relating to SIDA’s own operations.” Eva’s department handles over 150 corruption cases per year.
Micheal Akampa, WhistleB Head of Africa, firstname.lastname@example.org