AU Watch Anti-Corruption Centre

“Corruption is something that we talk about. It’s something that we complaint about.It’s something whose negative impact we recognize.It’s something that even the corrupt acknowledge. But the irony and the tragedy at once is that those who engage in corruption love it. The tragedy at once is that those of us who do not engage in it directly, accommodate it. Our levels of tolerance of corruption in Africa is amazing. … we live in a continent where we celebrate thieves, and vilify good men and women, that is the tragedy of Africa. “

Professor PLO Lumumba, Orator and Anti-corruption Campaigner

Corruption in Africa has many forms, but always involves the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It is a canker worm, a cancer that eats into the fabric of society. Stolen loot just doesn’t disappear into nowhere. Corrupt leaders, dictators, gangs, warlords and other criminals need ways to hide their identity and move stolen booty around the world. Then they probably need a nice, warm and safe place to spend their dirty cash at your expense. Well … don’t you think it’s time we say ‘Enough Is Enough?’ It’s about time we take back our Africa from these thieves who’ve ransacked and pillaged Africa and kept us in penury and at war with each other. Many of them can’t even govern well – they are too busy thinking and plotting how to plunder and rob from our children. Let us use our collective righteous indignation to keep the fire burning under their feet – raging hot if we can stoke the firewood of discontent. If they have the brazen neck to steal food from our children’s plates or ‘divert’ resources meant for their school fees then they should have no peace! Together we can hunt them down, even beyond this earthly world!

Let us be practical. Did you know that over 30,000,000 children of primary age school do not attend school in Sub-Saharan Africa? That is more than the combined population of Senegal, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cape Verde. Three fourths of those who do go to school are being taught by unqualified teachers. AU Watch’s own figures reveal that 83 percent of the schools in West Africa are poorly equipped with sub-standard buildings or outright dangerous and 98 percent have little or no recreational facilities for children. As if matters could not get any worse, AU Watch research shows that in many schools in West Africa, it is not uncommon for children to be taught under the shade of a mango or baobab tree. Please do not confuse this humiliating experience with some exotic natural learning experience. There are simply no buildings; and when it rains everyone goes home. In those schools children actually bring their own desks and tables to schools. Is it any surprise to learn that figures released by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Education for All Global Education Monitoring Report (EFA GMR), show that globally Sub-Sahara Africa account for more than half of the out-of-school children, with adolescents (12-15 years) twice as likely to be out of school? Do we really have to look for conspiracy theories of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism to understand why we are lagging so far behind other regions? For good measure add state kleptocracy, mismanagement and other forms of corruption and picture of hopelessness becomes a bit clearer.

At AU Watch we recognize that corruption in Africa is an exceptionally complex menace, especially given the fact that it arises from deep structural factors which will take great energy and courage to change. The AU and AU Member States have declared the fight against corruption a high priority. Questions: Are our state managers really serious about eradicating corruption? Are they really serious about vision 2063 – a prosperous Africa, where corruption will be spoken of as a relic? The truth is corruption remains widespread in the region and mainly responsible for the sorry state we are in. There are too many instances of political and bureaucratic corruption, public funds embezzlement, fraudulent procurement practices, and judicial corruption. The AU and its Member States have put in place well-developed legal and institutional frameworks, including the AU Advisory Board on Corruption. Some AU Member States have enacted the ‘Right to Information Act’, which grants their citizens access to government information and a mechanism to control public spending. In spite of some progress, however, law enforcement in Member States remains weak and reforms have a long way to go. At AU Watch we are of the view that the AU and its Member State will have to address the underlying issues, as well as the symptomatic cases, which are only occasionally brought to court. Heroes such as Nuhu Ribadu and John Githongo have shown the way forward, but have also demonstrated the depth of resistance to rolling it back – both were forced into exile


Understanding Corruption in Africa?

Reporting Corruption

Corruption and the AU Board of Corruption

Corruption and Intergovernmental bodies

Business and Corruption


Whistle blowing

International and Regional corruption conventions

AU Watch Integrity Awards

AU Watch Corruption Perceptions Index

AU Watch Regional Corruption Barometer

AU Watch Bribe Payers Index

AU Watch Regional Corruption Report

AU Watch AU Watch Country reports

Policy Positions

Working papers

Anti-corruption Research Network

Anti-Corruption Helpdesk

Understanding Anti-corruption glossary

Research and Publications


AU Watch’s anti-corruption Centreis part of the Policy, Programs and Administrative Directorate that provides technical, operational and logistical support for the entire organization.

We work in partnership with the African media and CSOs, national institutions, regional and international organizations and with concerned individuals from around the world to expose corruption in Africa. We work with various African governments and institutions to address corruption in all its forms, and to end safe havens for corrupt funds from Africa. Working in collaboration with AU Watch’s legal and human rights units the Centre facilitates the expeditious return of stolen assets back to the African peoples.

AU Watch is one of the leading CSOs in Africa that is taking a radical approach to eradicate corruption. For example, we have initiated the Regional Corruption Barometer – the only regional public opinion survey on views and experiences of corruption in Africa. We are also developing anti-corruption curricula for primary and secondary schools and collaborating with various ministries of education in Africa for the teaching of AU Watch’s anti-Corruptioncourses to be taught in schools and colleges.

Much of Africa’s poverty, underdevelopment, environmental and human rights abuses are driven by the exploitation of the nation state, natural resources and corruption in the region’s political and economic system.  AU Watch is campaigning to end this. We carry out hard-hitting investigations, expose these abuses, and campaign for change. Our goals are to assist the AU and AUMS stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society in the region.


If the 2063 vision as outlined by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is to be realized then we have no choice but to go after the system and individuals who systematically destroy the lives of our youths. Our anti-corruption work is,therefore, groundbreaking in what we do. Working with other CSOs around the region and around the world, we are developing innovative and creative approaches in assisting the AU and AUMS tackle corruption in Africa.

 There are a number of ways in which we do this.

  • As a research-based organization, we conduct research into on corruption, financial crimes and illegal financial flows in and from Africa. Our anti-corruption Research Network made of CSOs and other institutions collaborate in researching the cancer of corruption on the continent;
  • We advise African governments on initiatives and strategies to combat corruption;
  • We operate on the principle of national, regional and international co-operation. One of the key issues in battling corruption is that it is difficult to operate against the corrupt because they are often the most powerful. By pooling resources, and through the power of synergy as CSOs around the region we expose corruption together.
  • We use the media to expose corruption. Our weekly TV program: ‘A Focus on the AU Anti-corruption Board’ explores the issues of corruption in Africa and what the AU and its Members re doing to address corruption. We produce anti-corruption films and documentaries. Our Online radio and monthly magazine regularly discuss issues on corruption.
  • AU Watch monitors the activities and programmes of the AU and AUMS. We monitor corruption across the region. We have therefore initiated the Regional Corruption Barometer – the only regional public opinion survey on views and experiences of corruption. We are also developing indices and parameters to measure corruption.
  • Addressing corruption calls for a major change in thinking and attitude toward corruption. We are developinganti-corruption curricula for schools and colleges across the region.
  • We track and monitor what the AU Anti-corruption Board is doing. We also track and monitor major corruption cases across the region.
  • We campaign and push for effective enforcement of national, regional and international anti-corruption laws.


  • Anti-corruption work is a massive collaborative exercise. We work collaboratively with the AU, AUMS, media organizations, national, regional and international organizations. If you think we can do something together, please email We are quite comfortable working in formal and informal partnerships and coalitions.
  • AU Watch team draws on a wide range of skills, from undercover investigations and painstaking financial research, to information gathering on the ground and close cooperation with partners and activists all over the world.
  • We use a variety of investigative techniques to gather evidence including interviews, monitoring, secret filming, photography, document research and often just dogged physical presence.
  • To achieve our goals, we use our hard-hitting reports and investigations to drive strategic advocacy by targeting decision-makers, campaigning to change laws, demanding accountability from political leaders and justice for perpetrators of crime and human rights violations.We intend to make headlines with our reports. So, when our reports are out, they should be known for their meticulous attention to detail. We are aware that we may have to spend months and sometimes years in getting to the bottom of the truth. Our undercover films should cause some tremors.
  • But exposing corruption is only part of the answer: our goal is to achieve system-wide changes that will starve corrupt leaders and their cohorts, corrupt organizations, warlords and gangs of ill-gotten funds, halt vile resource-driven conflicts, and protect the region’s assets for the benefit of all.

AU Watch is seeking partnership arrangements with regional research institutions to develop a corruption costs index to accurately measure the real cost of corruption to societies and economies around Africa. Please write to us if you are interested


  • Conduct cutting edge research on corruption, financial crimes and illegal financial flows in and from Africa.
  • Produce reliable analyses and data of corruption, financial crimes and illegal financial flows on Africa.
  • Advice and assist the AU and African governments and organizations on effective policy solutions how to combat corruption, financial crimes and illegal financial flows, including assisting African states develop legislation to strengthen legal frameworks to combat corruption.
  • Provide training and capacity building, and more advanced training courses on asset recovery to African governments and institutions on asset recovery. We also provide technical advice and assistance to African governments on recovery of stolen assets.
  • Provide policy analysis and knowledge-building, especially informing and educating the general African public about corruption and how to stop it. This includes publishing policy papers, expert guides and a database on corruption in Africa.

For more information on the AU Watch’s anti-corruption unit – fact sheets, briefings reports, position and research papers, articles, news reports, communiqués, press statements and releases, legislative briefs, current laws, soft laws and hard laws, cases and much more, and what you can do to help advocate for policy, please email policy@auwatchproject.


(a) We dream of an Africa where corruption and poverty are rejected and good governance, democracyand human rights are placed at the heart of AU’s internal and external policy agenda, which should be a people’s centred AU. This vision should manifest itself in an AU where our leaders honestly and truly uphold the letter and spirit of the Constitutive Act. We believe that this is an ethical, legal, and political imperative and the cornerstone of lasting peace, security and prosperity.

(b) We dream of an Africa were corruption is challenged and accountability prevails; an Africa where governments act in the public interest of the people and were African institutions and governments, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption.

(a) To be recognized as the leading African authority on corruption, financial crimes and illegal money by policymakers, academics, the media and the general African population.

(b) Driven by the senseless poverty, underdevelopment, inequality and insecurity in Africa, which are a direct result of corruption and poor governance, we are dedicated to face headlong, and address the issues of corruption in Africa, in all its forms and guises, by engaging in cutting edge research that produces reliable data on the enormity of this cankerworm.

(c) In collaboration with other partners and the African population, we are determined to use all legal and ethical means available to us, to expose corruption, and to assist our African governments and organisations to find a lasting antidote for this very curable menace.

⦁  Transparency

⦁  Accountability

⦁  Integrity

⦁  Solidarity

⦁  Courage

⦁  Justice

⦁  Democracy


  • We commit ourselves to addressing the issues of corruption and illicit financial flows from Africa, and mounting vigorous campaigns for changes. We are further committed to engaging with assisting African governments and institutions at the highest levels to come up with pragmatic solutions to the challenges of corruption and illicit financial flows through financial, legislative, and administrative measures.
  • We engage with African and their institutions at the highest levels to seek flows.
  • The positions we take will be based on sound, objective and professional analysis and high standards of research. We only employ thorough economic and financial analysis based on research conducted by AU Watch and by our local, national, regional and international partners.
  • As coalition-builders, we work cooperatively with all individuals and groups, with for-profit and not-for-profit corporations and organizations, and with governments and international bodies committed to the fight against corruption, subject only to the policies and priorities set by our governing bodies. We undertake to be open, honest and accountable in our relationships with everyone we work with, and with each other.
  • We are democratic, politically non-partisan and non-sectarian in our work, and will only accept funding that does not compromise our ability to address issues freely, thoroughly and objectively.
  • We will respect and encourage respect for fundamental human rights and freedom.
  • We are committed to building, working with and working through Chapters worldwide.
  • As a regional organization, we stand in solidarity with each other and we will not act in ways that may adversely affect other Chapters or AU Watch movement as a whole.
“Leaders in Africa are so corrupt that we are certain if we put dogs in uniforms and put guns on their shoulders, we’d be hard put to distinguish them. “

Stokely Carmichael, Civil Rights Activist

“The tragedy of Africa is that Africans are in the business of canonizing thieves and demonizing its saints.”

Professor PLO Lumumba, Orator and Anti-corruption Campaigner

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

Frederic Bastiat


We call on you to join hands with Africa and help end crushing poverty, inequality, injustice, insecurity, poor governance and human rights violations. With your assistance we will be able to expose the shadowy systems that give oxygen to corruption, endemic poverty and conflict. Join AU Watch in the struggle to help lift the resource curse that condemns millions of Africans to lives of poverty and violence.