Kagame revealed this yesterday as he addressed the International Anti-Corruption Summit in Nigeria where he arrived yesterday for a two-day working visit.
President Kagame was invited to talk on Rwanda’s anti-corruption efforts that made it the third least corrupt African country over the past two years.
“Without transparency, it is impossible to earn and keep the trust of the people. And without trust we will not be able to effectively use national wealth to make measurable improvements to the well-being of our citizens,” he said.
Among others, President Kagame said people tend to focus on the petty corruption of everyday life while turning a blind eye to the more consequential forms that people only whisper about, because the rich and powerful are the main beneficiaries.
He highlighted that corruption needs to be tackled from the top down noting that it is not only the fairest approach, but also the most effective, because it empowers the public to join the fight and hold leaders accountable, through elections and other means.
“ In that way, corruption can definitely be reduced to the minimum possible and that makes a tremendous difference. However, it also takes careful organisation and messaging to make this practice widespread,” he said.
President Kagame explained that overcoming corruption is really about four key principles: Culture, responsibility, accountability, and effectiveness and stressed the need to discard the myth that corruption is endemic to particular cultures.
“Corruption is a universal weakness, not an African one, and it is not part of our destiny as a continent. Indeed, research has shown that some of the biggest sources and beneficiaries of corruption are outside of Africa, and this has always been the case,” he noted.
Kagame revealed that in the absence of a politics that values individual integrity, even well-established institutions are not enough to deter wrongdoing, as has been demonstrated by repeated scandals in advanced economies at the top of international transparency rankings.
He emphasized the latter is the reason why it is past time to redefine transparency as a global objective that requires us all to work together with mutual respect.
“ Corruption does not take decades to eradicate. Huge gains can be made relatively quickly, once we decide to break the habit. That brings me to responsibility. This principle is inherent to our respective cultures in Africa,” he said.
“We are in charge of our own future. The purpose of transparency is not to impress others, but rather to make our own societies better, because that is what our people expect. The third and fourth foundation stones are accountability and effectiveness,” added Kagame.
He called African countries to set their sights high.
“It is not enough to “fight corruption” just as merely “fighting poverty” is too small an ambition for Africa. We want to create value and wealth not merely fighting corruption,” he reiterated.
President Kagame who is in a two-day working visit in Nigeria will today attend the inauguration of President Buhari who was recently in February elected for the second tenure.