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A Human Rights-based Approach to Combating Public Procurement Corruption in Africa

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Corruption is a threat to human rights as it erodes accountability and violates many international human rights conventions. It also undermines basic principles and values like equality, non-discrimination, human dignity, and social justice – especially in African countries where democratic systems and institutional arrangements are less developed than in most European, Asian and American countries. Corruption occurs in both the public and private sectors and affects human rights by deteriorating institutions and diminishing public trust in government. Corruption impairs the ability of governments to fulfil their obligations and ensure accountability in the implementation and protection of human rights – particularly socio-economic rights pertinent to the delivery of economic and social services. This is because corruption diverts funds into private pockets – impeding delivery of services, and thereby perpetuating inequality, injustice and unfairness. This considered, the focus of this paper is on public procurement corruption. It is argued that by applying a human rights-based approach to combating public procurement corruption, the violation of human rights – particularly socio-economic rights – can be significantly reduced. Through a human rights-based approach, ordinary people can be empowered to demand transparency, accountability and responsibility from elected representatives and public officials – particularly those involved in public procurement. In the paper, reference is made to selected aspects of the national legal frameworks of five African countries: South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Botswana.

Affiliations: 1: College of Law and Management Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal DurbanSouth Africa ; 2: Doctoral Graduate, School of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal DurbanSouth Africa


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