Mo Ibrahim, Sudanese-British business mogul who founded the telecommunications company Celtel International in 1998, has accused of individuals and companies from outside the continent of promoting corruption in Africa.
The philanthropist and founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation spoke on the sidelines of the 2nd Africa Convergence summit held in the Moroccan city of Casablanca last weekend.
Ibrahim, who was a guest speaker at the event, while admitting that there is corruption in Africa as is the case the world over, criticised corrupt business practices which cause the continent to lose huge sums of money while many Africans continue to live in poverty.
Ibrahim referred to companies operating in African countries that evade taxes and underprice the value of minerals they take out of the continent, among other sharp practices.
“I think the corruption of Africa is taken totally out of context, Africa is no more corrupt than any other place around us. For every African leader who is corrupt, we have a 1,000 European, American, Chinese business people who are corrupt, where are those guys?
“What about companies not paying taxes in Africa? What about profit shifting, mispricing ? There is a whole lot of corruption around us. What about anonymous companies? Companies whose official ownership is not known, where people hide their stolen money.
“All that are issues of corruption, so all that need to be discussed and let’s get away from the scenario that only African leaders have a monopoly of corruption,” he said.
Ibrahim‘s foundation, whose stated aims are to “bring about meaningful change on the continent, by providing tools to support progress in leadership and governance”, awards the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.
The Foundation has, however, failed to find a winner for the last two years. According to the independent Prize Committee chairman, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, the failure to award the prize for the second year running was due to its high standards and criteria.