Corruption undermining Africa’s response to COVID-19, says Onyango-Obbo

Charles Onyango-Obbo was speaking ahead of the 3rd Kusi Ideas Festival slated for 11 to 12 December at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra

Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is being undermined by the menace of corruption, a consultant on the Kusi Ideas Festival, Charles Onyango-Obbo has said.

Onyango-Obbo believes a concerted effort is required in tackling corruption if Africa really want to change the negative narrative in terms of development.

Speaking to Nana Yaa Mensah on Thursday (9 December) ahead of the Kusi Ideas Festival Onyango-Obbo says leaders on the continent must institute pragmatic measures to tackle corruption.

“Even our own response to COVID-19 and everything, they are all held up by the logic of corruption or the dynamics which plays within national boundaries.”

“I have a friend who believes that if Africa across the board could reduce corruption by 10%, the continent will not be recognizable in five years and I honestly believe it …”

“Even the problems with second big crises, the are climate change-related, the root of how they manifest themselves is corruption, so I think if we deal with corruption, am telling you, manna will rain on us from heaven,” he said.

Kusi Ideas Festival

This year’s Kusi Ideas conference, which will be a hybrid event (in-person and virtual), is under the theme “How Africa Transforms After the Virus” and subtitled “Beyond the Return: African Diaspora and New Possibilities”.

It will take place in Ghana on 10 and 11 December 2021.

The festival will be opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, with other leaders taking part, including Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

Many prominent figures from business and politics across Africa are billed to grace the event.

Clifford Machoka, the head of external affairs and marketing at Nation Media Group, has described this year’s Kusi Ideas Festival as a way to drive conversations about the AfCFTA by connecting African businesses.

About Kusi

Nation Media Group (NMG) launched the Kusi Ideas Festival in 2019 during its 60th-anniversary celebrations. The festival aims to be an “ideas transaction market” for the challenges facing Africa, and for the various solutions and innovations the continent is undertaking to secure its future in the 21st century.

The kusi is the southerly trade wind that blows across the Indian Ocean between April and mid-September, and enabled trade up north along the East African coast and between Asia and Africa for millennia.

Beyond trade, over the centuries, the kusi and other trade winds made possible cultural, intellectual and technological exchanges, and considerably shaped the history of the nations on the east coast of Africa, the eastern hinterland, and the wider Indian Ocean rim.

In the 21st century, the spirits of the trade winds express themselves in new ways. The Indian Ocean is a rich bed for the fibre-optic cables that make the Information Age possible in a large part of Africa.

The first Kusi Ideas Festival was held in Kigali, Rwanda, and was co-hosted by President Paul Kagame.

Fred Dzakpata

To register to attend the Kusi Ideas Festival, visit: or dial *920*233# (AirtelTigo, MTN or Vodafone).

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