He said among other things, that Sierra Leone epitomizes the full brunt of decades of corruption; but is now more determined than ever to fight corruption under the leadership of the newly-elected President, His Excellency Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio, whose roadmap to victory and economic development blueprint are predicated on the pillars of conscientious anti-corruption reform – and was bold enough to put a youth in charge of leading the realization of it.
He went on to say that according to the 2006 African Youth Charter, youth or young people refer to every person between the ages of 15 and 35 years.
Speaking on the topic ‘Leveraging Youth Capacities for the Fight against Corruption in Africa’ the ACC boss said the initiative is both timely and extremely relevant to the trajectory of Africa’s development.
He informed his audience that the forum is part of efforts to re-energize and synergize anti-corruption cooperation and coordination, with a view to repositioning the future of Africa to avert the looming crushing defeat by corruption.
He added that Africa is home to over 1.2 billion people; and that over 60% of its population fall under the age of 35. “Therefore, we have the greatest effect on all national issues of governance, especially corruption. We are the biggest factor; the engine of all successful states. Hence, we are duty-bound to do something to change the Status Quo,” he said.
He informed his audience that corruption violates the very foundation of democratic governance when individuals snatch collective goods for personal gain. He maintained that in real terms, it is when those in charge of building schools for our children pilfer those resources and fewer or no schools are built and as a result, he went on, our children remain uneducated and cannot employ their full potential towards national development.
He said that in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea and Liberia, corruption continues to negatively hamper efforts aimed at promoting democratic governance. He added that in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, and Malawi, corruption continues to undermine socio-economic transformation; and in Nigeria, Somalia, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Chad, Mali, and the DRC, corruption continues to undermine the peace and security of the people.
He maintained, however that he sees a bright light at the end of the proverbial tunnel with young people on the side of justice; on the side of the truth; on the side of human rights; and firmly on the side of integrity and accountability.
He called on all policy makers within the African Union, AU Heads of States, and regional and sub-regional leaders, to empower and allow youths to lead in the governance of Africa.