Doing Business in Africa: Addressing the Corruption Factor-A Brown Capital Management Africa Forum Event
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On December 1, 2015, the Wilson Center Africa Program hosted a panel discussion on “Doing Business in Africa: Addressing the Corruption Factor,” the second event in the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum series.* The event featured three panelists—Mr. Christiaan Poortman, Mr. Jan Dunin-Wasowicz, and H.E. Sooroojdev Phokeer—who discussed the nature, scale, and scope of corruption in Africa and its impact on companies wishing to do business on the continent.
Mr. Christiaan Poortman, Senior Advisor for Transparency International, discussed the organization’s trademark Corruption Perceptions Index, remarking that while the majority of African countries fall on the bottom half of the scale, several have made significant progress toward fighting corruption in recent years. Mr. Poortman’s three recommendations for combatting corruption in Africa included: (1) creating an environment where citizens can freely debate and scrutinize their public servants, (2) cutting red tape, excessive regulations, and extraneous bureaucratic procedures in order to limit direct contact between government officials and citizens, and (3) emphasizing legal frameworks that punish both bribe givers and bribe takers.
Mr. Jan Dunin-Wasowicz, Litigation Associate at the Anti-Corruption and Internal Investigations Practice of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, discussed the corruption risks that foreign companies face in Africa, remarking on ways that businesses can safely navigate potentially corrupt business environments. Mr. Dunin-Wasowicz’s key recommendations included encouraging companies seeking business in Africa to: (1) make corruption a central trade issue when beginning initial investment discussions, (2) perform thorough due diligence on the corruption landscape—particularly on third party in-country partners, and (3) take part in local initiatives to combat corruption, thus increasing prospects for future investment.
H.E. Sooroojdev Phokeer, Ambassador of the Republic of Mauritius to the United States, discussed the successes of Mauritius in combatting corruption, citing the government’s strong will and commitment to anti-corruption as key drivers of the country’s low level of graft. Ambassador Phokeer stressed the importance of domestic and international anti-corruption policies, recommending that: (1) states not only sign international anti-corruption agreements, but also ratify and domesticate the initiatives, and (2) states view corruption as dynamic, and work constantly to combat new forms of corruption as they evolve.
Mr. Eddie Brown, Wilson Center Cabinet Member and Chairman, CEO, and Founder of Brown Capital Management, offered remarks on the mission of the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum, the goal of which is to raise the profile of the abundant business opportunities in Africa. Mr. Brown views the series of events as a forum for discussion on doing business in Africa, unpacking perceived barriers, and exploring untapped potential.
See the full webcast of the event above, or read highlights on the @AfricaUpClose Twitter page.
*Launched in September 2015, the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum provides a premier platform for substantive and solutions-oriented dialogue on key trade, investment, and development issues in Africa, and in U.S.-Africa relations. Convening business leaders and policymakers, as well as subject matter experts from the United States and Africa, the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum sponsors a series of public events designed to support the development of economic engagement and policy options that advance mutually beneficial economic relations between Africa and the United States. The Brown Capital Management Africa Forum is made possible by the generous support of Brown Capital Management.
Ambassador Sooroojdev Phokeer
Mr. Jan K. Dunin-Wasowicz
Mr. Christiaan J. Poortman
The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations. Read more