Private sector cited as key graft enabler, urged collaborate with other players for clean business environment in Kenya

The private sector has been singled out as one of the key enablers of corruption and has been challenged to work with the public and the civil society sectors to eliminate the vice in the country.

This was cited by stakeholders during the Business Integrity Conference convened by Global Compact Network Kenya which brought together the private sector and other players from the East Africa region to collectively identify strategies to combat corruption and ensure a clean business environment in the continent.

(TOP: Global Compact Network Kenya Executive Director Judy Njino addressing participants drawn from the Private Sector during the Business Integrity Conference in Nairobi). 

The conference highlighted that corruption is a universal issue affecting companies of all sizes globally, with businesses acting as both perpetrators and victims.

Speaking during the Conference, Director of Ethics and Leadership at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) John Lolkoloi highlighted the importance of collaboration and urged sector players to work together and craft anti-corruption legislation and codes of conduct in business to streamline business ethics.

He noted that to inculcate clean business practices, we must come up with strategies to reign in the ambitions of business to safe limits and ensure the pursuit of profit is conducted with due regard to business ethics.

“This calls for a strategic partnership between the public and private sector to collectively address unethical business practices for the benefit of all,” he said

As the leading coalition for the private sector committed to responsible business conduct, Global Compact Network Kenya Executive Director Judy Njino in her remarks noted that corruption remains one of the greatest obstacles to economic and social development. In recent times, we have witnessed the alarming rise of scandals and unethical practices, underlining the urgency for businesses to prioritize ethical conduct as a key pillar in their business operations.

She added that Global Compact Network Kenya is exploring working with other Networks across East Africa and in Africa at large on entrenching ethics in regional trade, especially in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which has 54 member countries and has the potential to boost the African economy with an income of approximately $450 billion.

“We will strengthen government engagements through policy advocacy around the Tenth Principle of the UN Global Compact on Anti-corruption, work with regional collaborators because Kenya is a champion of ethics and integrity in Africa through its code of ethics for business with over 900 signatories and we hope to transfer these learnings to other countries like Uganda where we have a mandate to support UN Global Compact signatories,” said Judy.

United Nations Global Compact Head of Anti-Corruption and Governance Cristina Ritter noted that there is an urgent need to tackle the vice and ensure a clean business environment and the private sector must take part in it.

She noted that a lot of money is lost through corruption, especially in the supply chain. “With $4.6 billion lost annually to corruption, the call to action is clear, companies must uphold integrity, promote responsible practices, and support sustainable development. Let’s champion these principles and work towards a corruption-free future by 2030,” she said.

In the National Ethics and Corruption Survey 2023 conducted by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, corruption was ranked the fourth most pressing problem facing the country after high cost of living, unemployment, and poverty.  According to the report, 34.4 percent of respondents who sought government services were asked to pay a bribe with 28.3 percent of the respondents paying.

Global Compact Network Kenya (GCNK) is the Country Network of the United Nations Global Compact working to accelerate and scale the collective impact of businesses in Kenya by upholding the Ten Principles on Human Rights, Labour, Environment and Anti-corruption and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change.

Established in 2005, GCNK is currently the largest of the UN Global Compact Local Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions and has over 300 signatories and 900 others signed up to the Code of Ethics for Business in Kenya- an initiative of the GCNK alongside Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).


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