There is the urgent need for Africans to embrace the call for synergy to develop Africa through strategic partnerships and collaborations.
The President of the Institute of Directors, Ghana, Mr Rockson Dogbegah who made the call at the third corporate governance conference of the Kenyan Institute of Directors said public private partnerships were also very critical in the continent’s developmental agenda as each player had its own strength.
Mr Dogbegah indicated that “the greatest challenge we face on our dear African continent is ethical culture and effective leadership. I strongly believe that it is our collective wisdom, desire and hard work that will deal with our inability to get the appropriate solutions to our corporate governance challenges in Africa”.
He said Africa was traditionally viewed as a high-risk continent by international investors, due to the misconception that African economies were characterised by macro-economic instability, trade restrictions, and weak institutional environment regarding property rights and the judicial system, and high state regulation of economic activities.
In effect, Mr Dogbegah, mentioned that countries that fail to establish acceptable standards of transparency and governance, within the bounds of good laws and an efficient criminal justice system, would lose the trust and support of their citizens and the international community.
According to him such countries would find it increasingly difficult to attract trade and foreign investment, saying, “Foreign investors would assess political risk, business risk, market risk and currency risk and shy away from the risks of lawlessness and the corruption that too often resulted from poor governance.”
“It is rather sad that most countries in Africa cannot boast of or observing a governance system, be it public or private, which is accountable, transparent, fair and honest. Any continent which is able to uphold the tenets of corporate governance is likely to build a sustainable corporate governance system,” he added.
He explained that the challenges that hugely undermined an effective corporate governance system in most African countries included poor composition of boards, weak judicial systems, conflict of interest, fraud, corruption, and political interference.
He further expressed worry about how African leaders were not putting many efforts to resolving the continent’s challenges adding that “from our national leaders to our various regulators, private and public boards, down to the ordinary man on the street, there is no sustained drive for transparency, integrity, fairness and accountability”.
He cited Ghana and Rwanda as some countries who were in recent times, rising above the pettiness of mediocre development.
According to Mr Dogegah, Africa does not lack a plan towards achieving sustainable corporate governance system.
What was lacking, he said, was effective and efficient monitoring and culture, coupled with an effective enforcement in the form of sanctions and rewards system at all fronts.
“We are not able to place national interest before personal interest. Our problem lies in our mindset. We as Africans need to change our mindset in order to uphold the values of transparency, accountability, fairness and integrity,” he advised.
A change in mindset with resultant upholding in the tenets of good corporate governance, he said, would bring fortunes of growth and development on the continent.