Accra, June 14, GNA – The fight against corruption is a global struggle where all countries need to take part, Mr Jyrki Katainen, European Commission (EC), Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, has said.
“For this reason, Europe, like Ghana adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development where one of the goals is ‘to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’,” Mr Katainen stated on Thursday in his presentation at the Council on Foreign Relations – Ghana’s Distinguished Guest Public Lecture Series in Accra.
Speaking on the theme “Africa EU Alliance: a Relationship for the Future”, Mr Katainen said “One could wonder why the European Union is interested in anti-corruption in Ghana?”
He noted that it was public knowledge that corruption stifles growth as it prevented governments from investing in infrastructure, in needed social services and in productive sectors of the economy; it raises inequality in the society and fuels instability.
“Learning from experience in my continent Europe, but as well in Africa, in order to create a conducive environment for foreign investment, for private sector development, thus for generating growth and jobs, corruption must be at the lowest level possible,” he said.
Mr Katainen, who is on a two-day official visit to Ghana and Togo, said in the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda, which was being promoted by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, a vision which the EC supports, Europe wishes to become an even greater economic actor in this country.
“Corruption is one of the most important obstacles to a sound and fair economic competition and European interests could be affected,” he stated.
Mr Katainen quoted President Akufo-Addo as having declared last year at the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation that: “We must be efficient and effective not only in mobilising resources, but also in eliminating pervasive revenue leaks, and addressing misallocation and misuse of public funds.
“Crucially, if we are to succeed in enhancing domestic financing of the SDGs, we must address the unacceptable leakage of resources in the form of wanton corruption,” he added.
The EC Vice President noted that the SDGs Agenda was indeed, an investment for the future, not only for Ghana but for the whole world.
“Thus the EC supports national efforts promoting rule of law and accountability as we believe it reinforces countries like Ghana aiming at becoming safer, richer and reliable partner in the concert of nations,” he said.
“At the EC we follow with keen interest Ghana's efforts aimed at lighting corruption and raising accountability standards in the country.”
He mentioned some efforts in Ghana to combat corruption such as the past cleaning of the public payrolls, the enhanced accountability mechanisms on public procurement, the digitalisation of key public administrations notably the new national identification scheme, crucial for free and accountable access to public services, the new clearing procedures at ports, and other initiatives.
“We do believe that these reforms are critical; if they are sustained over time they will eventually save monies from the public purse, which could be further used to finance essential public goods, such as health, education and social protection.”
Mr Daniel K. Osei, the President, Council on Foreign Relations – Ghana, said the Council was concerned about the insufficient participation of the private sector in foreign policy.