Corruption is both a cause and a consequence of many illicit activities. It is also a means used by organized crime groups to infiltrate government structures. Moreover, where public or private resources meant for the common good of people get diverted for the benefit of a limited few, this has a strong impact on development and facilitates destabilization. A number of governance indicators reveal that corruption remains a significant obstacle to development in several countries of the region and often prevents state authorities to address transnational organized crime effectively.

The organized crime, illicit trafficking and smuggling that affect West and Central Africa rely heavily on corruption to remove interference from law enforcement and justice officials. Corruption has not only allowed migrant smuggling to become a major industry, but it has significantly weakened local law enforcement and border control institutions and affected their legitimacy and public credibility. For that reason, mainstreaming of anti-corruption work in the UN's intervention is key to effectively addressing transnational organized crime and terrorism.

Effective anti-corruption efforts require both a government and society approach, including different sectors and branches of the government, civil society groups and the private sector. Public engagement often makes a real difference. Furthermore, ongoing support to developing national and regional capacities to prevent and effectively address corruption remains an important priority for UNODC.

The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is a powerful and comprehensive tool in the fight against corruption. It supports preventive measures, law enforcement, international cooperation and asset recovery. It also promotes principles like transparency and public participation in the fight against corruption.

To promote integrity in the region, UNODC seeks to:

  • Strengthen anti-corruption policies, legislation and strategies in line with UNCAC country review recommendations;
  • Strengthen the operational and investigative capacity of anti-corruption authorities;
  • Raise awareness about anti-corruption issues among the public;
  • Promote preventive measures against corruption, such as asset disclosure by public officials, investigative journalism and anti-corruption university education;
  • Integrate anti-corruption principles in national and regional law enforcement projects;
  • Strengthen regional anti-corruption networks, in particular of anti-corruption authorities in West Africa and across the continent.

Additional Information:

UNODC Handbook on police accountability, oversight and integrity

Dakar Declaration

Saly Declaration

Jakarta Statement on Principles for Anti-Corruption Authorities