“For as much as Africa is rich, the others seem to benefit more from its riches. In granting contracts to multinationals for the extraction of minerals, for example, there is a play of interests, in which ’compensations’ and ‘compromises,’ ‘agreements’ and ‘thanks’ have as a consequence the exploitation of the producing country, without a real improvement in raising the population’s living conditions.”
Raphael Takougang, a Cameroon lawyer of Communion and Law, harshly portrays a picture of the reality of life in Africa today: “Corruption in Africa is not only the work of single citizens, but is above all a consolidated method with which the economic powers “create” and support tyrants as long as these protect their interests, with the silent complicity of the international community.”
And it is always the poor who pay for this. Takougang does not limit himself to mere denunciations, but rather, despite everything, shows his optimism ‘because there is a new generation of political leaders in Africa rising up, and has realised that mainly the citizens will have to control the actions of those governing them… to ensure the defense of the African people’s fundamental rights to life, education, health, and spiritual and material wellbeing.”
Patience Lobé, an engineer – world head who together with the volunteers are the driving force of New Humanity – during her entire mandates as an officer of the Ministry of Public Works in Cameroon had been seriously threatened: «For the African concept of solidarity anyone who is in need has to be satisfied. For this reason people continually came to my office, to ask for work, or to request a subsidy. During my permanence as head of the office, not one day passed in which I was not subject to temptations or threats. Corruption is a widespread, contaminative virus, difficult to eliminate. Like all viruses, a vaccine is needed in order to eradicate it. The vaccine may be represented by a real change in mentality: education in a culture other than consumerism which considers the owning of goods and possession as the only road to happiness.”
In the same way, it isn’t easy to launch good procedures and practices in the field of the battle against illegal management of public funds. Françoise, French officer in the Ministry of Finance, recounts: “Due to the variety of situations, public services and issues which I have to deal with, it is not always easy to maintain one’s discernment, define the law, sustain good management practices or simply coherence with the principles of honesty (also intellectual), rectitude, cooperation and solidarity with colleagues. But the work experience over the years has confirmed that every time I was faithful to these values, I discovered new horizons, new ways of acting, the situations got solved and unity between institutions and people was possible.”
Paolo, director at the Municipality of a big Italian city added: “We mustn’t forget that as public administration employees our primary task is to dedicate ourselves to the good of the community under all aspects, taking on the weight of the related responsibility. Every action must conform to the principles and values without which we couldn’t live together, enhancing human wellbeing and progress of all the citizens.”
It is the battle against corruption, therefore, but not only that. The diffusion of good practices, respect for the rights of citizens and their needs, and also reception, and the capacity to create a link with other institutions: these are the great challenges for those working in the Public Administration. The participants of the congress are all convinced of this, and have made it their commitment to continue cultivating these principles daily. The seeds of a culture of lawfulness will silently bring about results in their countries.