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Implementation of UN Convention Against Corruption in East Africa

  • 31/05/2024

Regional Conference on reviving the regional platform Africa

Nairobi, 20-23 May 2024

Outcome of the Civil Society Roundtable

Overall Commitment


Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have played a pivotal role in the East Africa Anti-Corruption Platform since its inception in February 2017 at the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAAACA) regional convening on Fast Tracking the Implementation of theUN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).


CSOs remain steadfast in their commitment to supporting the fast-tracking of the UNCAC in the region. Cognisant of the multifaceted nature of corruption, CSOs will continue to advocate for robust legal frameworks, effective enforcement, and inclusive anti-corruption policies that address the unique challenges faced by various groups, including marginalised communities. Through sustained advocacy, awareness-raising, monitoring, and research, CSOs commit to continue working collaboratively with governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to promote transparency, accountability, and integrity in the region.

We will continue with our sustained efforts in the key priority thematic areas of asset recovery, public procurement, whistleblower protection, gender and corruption, and private sector engagement, ensuring that anti-corruption measures are comprehensive, inclusive, and effectively implemented. We will leverage our grassroots presence and expertise to foster a culture of integrity and ensure that the benefits of anti-corruption initiatives are realised by all segments of society in Eastern Africa.


Recommendations per thematic area


Thematic area 1: Asset Recovery and Financial Investigations


Proposed action #1: Advocacy


✔ Governments should facilitate the creation of a network for Civil Society Organizations
(CSOs), which could function as a comprehensive umbrella network or be specifically
focused on asset recovery. This network would enable better coordination, information
sharing, and joint advocacy efforts.
✔ Legal reforms should explicitly include the participation of CSOs in asset recovery processes,
ensuring transparency, accountability, and community involvement in the recovery and
management of assets

Proposed action #2: Awareness Raising

✔ Develop and disseminate simplified documents, data, and information regarding asset
recovery is essential for bridging the communication gap between practitioners and the
general public
✔ Enhance public awareness and support for asset recovery initiatives throughLeveraging
appropriate communication channels, including social media, public forums, and educational
campaigns, is crucial for underscoring the importance of asset recovery and the vital role
that CSOs play in this process

Proposed action #3: Monitoring

✔ Relevant agencies should provide sufficient and timely data and information to facilitate
robust monitoring of asset recovery processes. Governments should ensure this includes
tracking the recovery, management, and utilisation of assets to maintain transparency and

Proposed action #4: Research

✔ Academic institutions should be actively involved in research related to asset recovery, and
governments should support this partnership to gain valuable insights, enhance the
evidence base, and develop innovative approaches.
✔ Research into the role and regulation of Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) in asset
recovery should be commissioned and supported by governments because understanding
this emerging area is crucial for adapting recovery strategies to the digital age.
✔ The impact of asset recovery on women and other disenfranchised communities should be a
research priority. Governments should use this research to inform policies that ensure
inclusive and equitable asset recovery processes.
✔ Governments should push for the adoption of research-based recommendations to inform
and drive policy reform. This will ensure that asset recovery strategies are effective, up-to-
date, and reflective of best practices and current challenges.




    1. Advocacy Toolkit: Ensuring Effective Reparation to Victims of the Harm caused by
      Corruption, UNCAC Coalition Working Groups on Asset Recovery; Gender, Inclusion and
      Corruption; Grand Corruption and State Capture; and Victims of Corruption, November

    1. Report on the Social Reuse of Recovered Assets in Kenya

    1. Alternative Dispute Resolution & Asset Recovery in Kenya

    1. Asset Recovery in Kenya

    1. Indirect Asset Return Through Third-Party Entities

    1. Common African Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR)

Thematic area 2: whistle-blower protection and the protection of other reporting persons


Proposed action #1: Advocacy

✔ Countries in the region should improve and review legislation to ensure it is effective,
including the adoption of comprehensive and unified legal frameworks for the protection of
whistleblowers and other reporting persons.
✔ Protection for investigative journalists, other reporting persons, and civil society actors
supporting whistleblowers should be ensured through robust legal and institutional
✔ Secure and anonymous reporting channels should be established and maintained for use by
reporting persons, ensuring their safety and confidentiality.
✔ Strong implementation of regional and international standards and frameworks should be
prioritised to increase accountability and address impunity.
✔ Advocacy should focus on protecting whistleblowers from civil and criminal liability, ensuring
they are not penalised for coming forward with information.
✔ State security and defence whistleblowers need the same protections as those in other
sectors to ensure comprehensive coverage and safety.
✔ Proper resourcing of government and state institutions is essential to effectively implement
and enforce whistleblower protections.
✔ Gender-sensitive reporting and considerations should be integrated into legislation and
practices to address specific retaliation risks faced by different genders.

Proposed action #2: Awareness Raising

✔ Governments should provide digital security toolkits and promote awareness about
whistleblowing mechanisms and reporting channels, particularly those managed by CSOs.
✔ Information on how whistleblowers will be protected should be widely disseminated by the
government to build trust and encourage reporting.
✔ Accessibility for youth to report incidents, especially in the context of online surveillance and
harassment, should be ensured, targeting youth through various channels, including social

Proposed action #3: Monitoring

✔ Governments should regularly report back on the implementation and effectiveness of
whistleblower protection measures, providing feedback and transparency.
✔ CSOs should monitor the implementation of whistleblower protection legislation and report
on its effectiveness.
✔ Regular meetings involving all stakeholders, including civil society, government, and the
private sector, should be held to discuss progress, challenges, and improvements.

Proposed action #4: Research

✔ Conduct a gap analysis of existing policies, legislation, and frameworks in the region to
identify areas needing improvement
✔ Perform legislative impact assessments of whistleblower and witness protection laws to
evaluate their effectiveness and areas for enhancement.
✔ Investigate best practices at a regional level, comparing and documenting effective
measures and identifying ideas for improvement, including a comparative analysis of
whistleblower definitions and protections.



    1. Second Regional Meeting for Sub-Saharan Africa discusses Whistleblower Protection
      across the region

    1. The Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) – country reports

    1. The Need for Whistleblower Protection Legislation in Kenya

    1. Whistleblower Protection In Kenya, Mauritius, South Sudan and Uganda

    1. Physical-protection-for-people-who-report-corruption

Thematic area 3: public procurement and integrity systems

Proposed action #1: Advocacy

✔ Governments need to make strong efforts to implement recommendations from this
meeting and also review previous recommendations, as they remain relevant.
✔ Disclosure of procurement information should be based on open contracting data or any
data standard that makes the information usable. This means not just putting documents on
the website, but structuring the data so it is accessible and actionable.
✔ Engaging media and investigative journalists in the advocacy of procurement is essential.
There may be start-ups with campaigns where the media can publicise projects and follow
up on their implementation.
✔ Presidential declarations should emphasise that procurement rules must be followed
regarding tendering and awarding contracts to minimise the risk of corruption and

✔ Advocating for the disclosure of beneficial ownership information and linking beneficial owners to public procurement registries via government portals is crucial.
✔ Countries should disclose procurement data in a gender-disaggregated manner to ensure transparency and inclusivity.
✔ Addressing procurement scandals is essential, as they often tie into broader issues like sovereign debt. For example, it is currently challenging for countries like Kenya to identify their total debt due to opaque practices designed to confuse and obfuscate, preventing CSOs from having specific data to base their arguments on.
✔ While constitutions are well laid out, countries often borrow using extra-budgetary spending and procurement, which needs to be addressed.
✔ Implementing a national price index at the national level annually is recommended.
✔ Disclosure of donor-funded projects should be mandatory at the national level. Development partners should publish the projects they fund to ensure transparency on both ends, linking this information to national procurement portals.
✔ Addressing late payments linked to corruption and sextortion is vital for transparency and ethical practices in procurement.


Proposed action #2: Awareness Raising

✔ Awareness-raising initiatives should be multilingual and accessible, involving civil society, government, and the private sector.
✔ Sensitising the public about procurement processes and the importance of openness and transparency in public procurement is crucial.
✔ Civil society should engage the community to create an enabling environment for whistleblowing and to improve accountability and transparency.

Proposed action #3: Monitoring

✔ Governments should ensure that data access is accurate, open, reusable, transferable, accessible, and gender-disaggregated.
✔ Government agencies should ensure disclosures are in open formats, allowing CSOs to monitor, reuse, and access this data to keep tabs on procurement processes.
✔ Facilitating CSOs and academia to use this data is important for robust monitoring and analysis.
✔ Enhancing integrated systems within government to ensure interconnected systems within working groups is essential. If such systems do not exist, they should be established.
✔ Empowering civil society and public actors to monitor procurement processes, including providing resources and tools, is crucial. Citizen monitoring is powerful and should be enabled.

Proposed action #4: Research

✔ Governments should address the implementation gap by collecting citizen feedback and involving CSOs to see the extent to which feedback is implemented, and have a conversation about why some recommendations are not being addressed.
✔ Investigating the role of MFIs and international banking systems in facilitating shady deals and dirty loans is essential.
✔ Governments should implement research recommendations to ensure continuous improvement and accountability in public procurement.




    1. The 3 revolutions of public procurement in Africa

    1. Country Procurement Assessment

    1. UN: Open letter urging public procurement transparency

    1. Connecting beneficial ownership data and public procurement in Kenya

    1. Lessons from Reformers: Kenya Makes Public Procurement Open and inclusive

    1. Africa Freedom of Information Centre-Public Procurement

Thematic area 4: Private sector and collective actions


Proposed action #1: Advocacy

✔ Governments should strengthen and review legislation to ensure effective regulation and oversight of the private sector, promoting transparency and accountability.
✔ Collective action initiatives within the private sector, such as industry-specific anti-corruption pacts and integrity pacts, should be encouraged and supported.
✔ Private sector stakeholders should be actively engaged in policy formulation and anti- corruption efforts to ensure their buy-in and cooperation.
✔ Public-private partnerships (PPPs) should be developed and promoted through frameworks that are transparent and accountable, ensuring mutual benefits and shared responsibility in combating corruption.
✔ Corporate transparency should be promoted by advocating for the disclosure of beneficial ownership information and the implementation of corporate transparency measures, linking this data to national procurement and regulatory portals.
✔ The adoption of ethical business practices and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that promote anti-corruption measures within companies should be encouraged.
✔ SMEs should receive support to implement anti-corruption measures, recognizing their unique challenges and resource constraints.
✔ Gender-sensitive policies and practices should be encouraged in the private sector, ensuring inclusivity and equality in all business operations and anti-corruption measures.

Proposed action #2: Awareness Raising


✔ Anti-corruption training programs for private sector employees at all levels should be promoted and facilitated, ensuring they are aware of the laws, regulations, and ethical
✔ Public awareness campaigns highlighting the importance of private sector integrity and the role of collective actions in combating corruption should be collaboratively run by governments and CSOs.
✔ Awareness-raising materials should be multilingual and accessible, targeting diverse audiences within the private sector.
✔ Youth should be engaged through targeted campaigns and initiatives that promote ethical business practices and the importance of integrity in the private sector.

Proposed action #3: Monitoring

✔ Compliance audits of private sector entities should be conducted regularly by governments to ensure adherence to anti-corruption laws and regulations.
✔ Third-party monitoring of private sector practices by CSOs and independent watchdogs should be encouraged to ensure transparency and accountability.
✔ Regular meetings with private sector stakeholders, including industry associations and
chambers of commerce, should be organized to discuss progress, challenges, and best
practices in combating corruption.
✔ Feedback mechanisms for private sector entities to report on the implementation of anti-
corruption measures and receive guidance on best practices should be established.

Proposed action #4: Research

✔ Studies on the impact of anti-corruption measures in the private sector should be conducted to identify what works and what needs improvement.
✔ Existing policies and legislation affecting the private sector should be analysed to identify
gaps and areas for enhancement.
✔ Best practices in anti-corruption measures within the private sector, including successful
collective action initiatives, should be documented and disseminated.
✔ Innovative technologies and approaches that can enhance transparency and accountability in the private sector should be researched.

Possible to highlight good practice of one country identified by the others / include offers of some countries to share good practices and experience to others in the context of the platform etc.


Overarching Theme: Gender and Corruption


Proposed action #1: Advocacy

✔ Governments should adopt a human-rights-based and inclusive approach to combating corruption, reminding States Parties of their existing human rights commitments and obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Maputo Protocol, and the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This approach
should recognize the disproportionate impact of corruption on groups that often face
discrimination, including women, sexual minorities, persons with disabilities, older people,
children and young people, minorities, refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons.
✔ To combat sexual corruption, States should urgently adopt targeted measures, expedite the
enactment of legislation criminalising the abuse of a position of authority to obtain sexual
benefits, and establish gender-sensitive reporting mechanisms to facilitate victims of sexual
corruption coming forward. Effective enforcement and awareness-raising campaigns are
essential to reduce stigma, and collaboration with relevant civil society organizations to
provide support services for victims and survivors of sexual corruption is crucial.

✔ Gender equality and inclusion should be mainstreamed in anti-corruption frameworks
through the use of inclusive language in policy documents. Governments should ensure the
meaningful participation of diverse groups during all stages of the development,
implementation, and evaluation of such frameworks.
✔ Affirmative action policies should be strengthened or adopted by States to redress historical imbalances of power, reduce corruption, and improve societal well-being. Research indicates that including women and diverse groups in decision-making, including through quotas and affirmative action, leads to improved policy outcomes and reduces corruption.
✔ Governments should prioritise the collection of gender-disaggregated data on experiences
and perceptions of corruption. Data collection should reflect the diversity within subgroups
and capture all aspects of their lives, such as age, ethnicity, education, disability, marital
status, citizenship status, and sexual orientation, to better understand and address the
injustices faced by different groups.

Proposed action #2: Awareness Raising

✔ Awareness campaigns should emphasise the importance of an inclusive approach to combating corruption and the disproportionate impact of corruption on marginalised groups. Governments, in collaboration with CSOs, should work to raise awareness of these issues.
✔ Efforts to combat sexual corruption should include comprehensive awareness-raising
campaigns to reduce stigma and encourage victims to come forward. These campaigns
should be multilingual and accessible, targeting various segments of the population,
including youth.
✔ Governments should promote the use of gender-sensitive reporting mechanisms and ensure
the public is well-informed about the protections and support available to victims of
corruption, including sexual corruption.

Proposed action #3: Monitoring

✔ Governments should report back on the implementation of gender-sensitive anti-corruption
measures and provide feedback on the effectiveness of these initiatives.
✔ CSOs should monitor the enforcement and impact of legislation aimed at protecting
marginalised groups from corruption, including sexual corruption, and report on their
✔ Regular meetings involving all stakeholders, including civil society, government, and private
sector representatives, should be held to discuss progress, challenges, and best practices in
incorporating gender and inclusivity in anti-corruption efforts.

Proposed action #4: Research

✔ Conduct a gap analysis of existing policies, legislation, and frameworks in the region to
identify areas where gender and inclusivity are not adequately addressed.
✔ Perform legislative impact assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-corruption laws
in protecting marginalised groups and reducing gender-based corruption.
✔ Document and disseminate best practices in gender-sensitive anti-corruption measures
within the region, including successful initiatives that promote the inclusion of women and
diverse groups.
✔ Research innovative approaches and technologies that can enhance the collection and
analysis of gender-disaggregated data on corruption, ensuring a comprehensive
understanding of the impact on various subgroups.


    1. Blog post: Gender and corruption resolution at UNCAC-CoSP: Progress underway, yet
      paths to inclusion remain, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre.

    1. Gender Toolkit: Promoting a Gender Sensitive and Inclusive Approach to Anti-Corruption,
      November 2023.

    1. Gender, Inclusion and Corruption Working Group Submission to the CoSP10: Promoting a
      gender-responsive and inclusive approach to anti-corruption, 20 October 2023

Call to Action: Advancing UNCAC Implementation in East Africa


    1. Foster greater collaboration and cooperation among anti-corruption agencies in the region,
      strengthening regional cooperation. This includes promoting information sharing, joint
      investigations, and peer learning to enhance the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures.

    1. Civil society organisations (CSOs) play a vital role in advocating for transparency,
      accountability, and integrity in governance. It is important to ensure the meaningful
      participation of CSOs in anti-corruption efforts and UNCAC monitoring processes including
      through providing them with the necessary support and resources, to amplify the voices of
      ordinary citizens and hold governments accountable for their actions.

    1. Enhance Private Sector Engagement through incentivizing and recognizing businesses that
      champion integrity and ethical practices, while also holding accountable those that engage
      in corrupt activities.

    1. Secure Political Commitment. High-level political will and commitment are essential for the
      effective implementation of UNCAC in East Africa. It is imperative that governments
      prioritise anti-corruption efforts and allocate sufficient resources to support UNCAC
      implementation initiatives.

    1. Be intentional about gender commitment in combating corruption by recognising the
      intersecting nature of corruption and gender inequality, it is crucial to be intentional about
      integrating gender considerations into anti-corruption efforts. This includes mainstreaming
      gender equality in policy frameworks, ensuring the meaningful participation of women in
      decision-making processes, and addressing the unique challenges faced by women and other
      marginalised groups in combating corruption.

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